Approximations of Isomorphism and Logics with Linear-Algebraic Operators (Track B: Automata, Logic, Semantics, and Theory of Programming)

Authors Anuj Dawar, Erich Grädel, Wied Pakusa

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Anuj Dawar
  • University of Cambridge, UK
Erich Grädel
  • RWTH Aachen University, Germany
Wied Pakusa
  • RWTH Aachen University, Germany

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Anuj Dawar, Erich Grädel, and Wied Pakusa. Approximations of Isomorphism and Logics with Linear-Algebraic Operators (Track B: Automata, Logic, Semantics, and Theory of Programming). In 46th International Colloquium on Automata, Languages, and Programming (ICALP 2019). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 132, pp. 112:1-112:14, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2019)


Invertible map equivalences are approximations of graph isomorphism that refine the well-known Weisfeiler-Leman method. They are parameterized by a number k and a set Q of primes. The intuition is that two equivalent graphs G equiv^IM_{k, Q} H cannot be distinguished by means of partitioning the set of k-tuples in both graphs with respect to any linear-algebraic operator acting on vector spaces over fields of characteristic p, for any p in Q. These equivalences have first appeared in the study of rank logic, but in fact they can be used to delimit the expressive power of any extension of fixed-point logic with linear-algebraic operators. We define {LA^{k}}(Q), an infinitary logic with k variables and all linear-algebraic operators over finite vector spaces of characteristic p in Q and show that equiv^IM_{k, Q} is the natural notion of elementary equivalence for this logic. The logic LA^{omega}(Q) = Cup_{k in omega} LA^{k}(Q) is then a natural upper bound on the expressive power of any extension of fixed-point logics by means of Q-linear-algebraic operators. By means of a new and much deeper algebraic analysis of a generalized variant, for any prime p, of the CFI-structures due to Cai, Fürer, and Immerman, we prove that, as long as Q is not the set of all primes, there is no k such that equiv^IM_{k, Q} is the same as isomorphism. It follows that there are polynomial-time properties of graphs which are not definable in LA^{omega}(Q), which implies that no extension of fixed-point logic with linear-algebraic operators can capture PTIME, unless it includes such operators for all prime characteristics. Our analysis requires substantial algebraic machinery, including a homogeneity property of CFI-structures and Maschke’s Theorem, an important result from the representation theory of finite groups.

Subject Classification

ACM Subject Classification
  • Theory of computation → Finite Model Theory
  • Finite Model Theory
  • Graph Isomorphism
  • Descriptive Complexity
  • Algebra


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