# First-Order Logic with Connectivity Operators

First-order logic (FO) can express many algorithmic problems on graphs, such as the independent set and dominating set problem, parameterized by solution size. On the other hand, FO cannot express the very simple algorithmic question of whether two vertices are connected. We enrich FO with connectivity predicates that are tailored to express algorithmic graph properties that are commonly studied in parameterized algorithmics. By adding the atomic predicates conn_k (x, y, z_1 ,…, z_k) that hold true in a graph if there exists a path between (the valuations of) x and y after (the valuations of) z_1,…,z_k have been deleted, we obtain separator logic FO + conn. We show that separator logic can express many interesting problems such as the feedback vertex set problem and elimination distance problems to first-order definable classes. We then study the limitations of separator logic and prove that it cannot express planarity, and, in particular, not the disjoint paths problem. We obtain the stronger disjoint-paths logic FO + DP by adding the atomic predicates disjoint-paths_k [(x_1, y_1 ),… , (x_k , y_k )] that evaluate to true if there are internally vertex disjoint paths between (the valuations of) x_i and y_i for all 1 ≤ i ≤ k. Disjoint-paths logic can express the disjoint paths problem, the problem of (topological) minor containment, the problem of hitting (topological) minors, and many more. Finally, we compare the expressive power of the new logics with that of transitive closure logics and monadic second-order logic.

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