Graph Properties in Node-Query Setting: Effect of Breaking Symmetry

Authors Nikhil Balaji, Samir Datta, Raghav Kulkarni, Supartha Podder

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Nikhil Balaji
Samir Datta
Raghav Kulkarni
Supartha Podder

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Nikhil Balaji, Samir Datta, Raghav Kulkarni, and Supartha Podder. Graph Properties in Node-Query Setting: Effect of Breaking Symmetry. In 41st International Symposium on Mathematical Foundations of Computer Science (MFCS 2016). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 58, pp. 17:1-17:14, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2016)


The query complexity of graph properties is well-studied when queries are on the edges. We investigate the same when queries are on the nodes. In this setting a graph G = (V,E) on n vertices and a property P are given. A black-box access to an unknown subset S of V is provided via queries of the form "Does i belong to S?". We are interested in the minimum number of queries needed in the worst case in order to determine whether G[S] - the subgraph of G induced on S - satisfies P. Our primary motivation to study this model comes from the fact that it allows us to initiate a systematic study of breaking symmetry in the context of query complexity of graph properties. In particular, we focus on the hereditary graph properties - properties that are closed under deletion of vertices as well as edges. The famous Evasiveness Conjecture asserts that even with a minimal symmetry assumption on G, namely that of vertex-transitivity, the query complexity for any hereditary graph property in our setting is the worst possible, i.e., n. We show that in the absence of any symmetry on G it can fall as low as O(n^{1/(d + 1)}) where d denotes the minimum possible degree of a minimal forbidden sub-graph for P. In particular, every hereditary property benefits at least quadratically. The main question left open is: Can it go exponentially low for some hereditary property? We show that the answer is no for any hereditary property with finitely many forbidden subgraphs by exhibiting a bound of Omega(n^{1/k}) for a constant k depending only on the property. For general ones we rule out the possibility of the query complexity falling down to constant by showing Omega(log(n)*log(log(n))) bound. Interestingly, our lower bound proofs rely on the famous Sunflower Lemma due to Erdos and Rado.
  • query complexity
  • graph properties
  • symmetry and computation
  • forbidden subgraph


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