Comparative Design-Choice Analysis of Color Refinement Algorithms Beyond the Worst Case

03/18/2021
by   Markus Anders, et al.
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Color refinement is a crucial subroutine in symmetry detection in theory as well as practice. It has further applications in machine learning and in computational problems from linear algebra. While tight lower bounds for the worst case complexity are known [Berkholz, Bonsma, Grohe, ESA2013] no comparative analysis of design choices for color refinement algorithms is available. We devise two models within which we can compare color refinement algorithms using formal methods, an online model and an approximation model. We use these to show that no online algorithm is competitive beyond a logarithmic factor and no algorithm can approximate the optimal color refinement splitting scheme beyond a logarithmic factor. We also directly compare strategies used in practice showing that, on some graphs, queue based strategies outperform stack based ones by a logarithmic factor and vice versa. Similar results hold for strategies based on priority queues.

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