Testing hereditary properties of nonexpanding bounded-degree graphs

Artur Czumaj*, Asaf Shapira, Christian Sohler

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We study graph properties that are testable for bounded-degree graphs in time independent of the input size. Our goal is to distinguish between graphs having a predetermined graph property and graphs that are far from every graph having that property. It is well known that in the bounded-degree graph model (where two graphs are considered "far" if they differ in en edges for a positive constant ε), many graph properties cannot be tested even with a constant or even with a polylogarithmic number of queries. Therefore in this paper we focus our attention on testing graph properties for special classes of graphs. Specifically, we show that every hereditary graph property is testable with a constant number of queries provided that every sufficiently large induced subgraph of the input graph has poor expansion. This result implies that, for example, any hereditary property (e.g., k-colorability, H-freeness, etc.) is testable in the bounded-degree graph model for planar graphs, graphs with bounded genus, interval graphs, etc. No such results have been known before, and prior to our work, very few graph properties have been known to be testable with a constant number of queries for general graph classes in the bounded-degree graph model.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2499-2510
Number of pages12
JournalSIAM Journal on Computing
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes


FundersFunder number
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research CouncilEP/D063191/1


    • Approximation algorithms
    • Bounded-degree graphs
    • Hereditary graph properties
    • Nonexpanding graphs
    • Planar graphs
    • Property testing
    • Randomized algorithms


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