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Reconfiguring Graph Homomorphisms on the Sphere

by   Jae-Baek Lee, et al.

Given a loop-free graph H, the reconfiguration problem for homomorphisms to H (also called H-colourings) asks: given two H-colourings f of g of a graph G, is it possible to transform f into g by a sequence of single-vertex colour changes such that every intermediate mapping is an H-colouring? This problem is known to be polynomial-time solvable for a wide variety of graphs (e.g. all C_4-free graphs) but only a handful of hard cases are known. We prove that this problem is PSPACE-complete whenever H is a K_2,3-free quadrangulation of the 2-sphere (equivalently, the plane) which is not a 4-cycle. If we instead consider graphs G and H with loops on every vertex (i.e. reflexive graphs), then the reconfiguration problem is defined in a similar way except that a vertex can only change its colour to a neighbour of its current colour. In this setting, we use similar ideas to show that the reconfiguration problem for H-colourings is PSPACE-complete whenever H is a reflexive K_4-free triangulation of the 2-sphere which is not a reflexive triangle. This proof applies more generally to reflexive graphs which, roughly speaking, resemble a triangulation locally around a particular vertex. This provides the first graphs for which H-Recolouring is known to be PSPACE-complete for reflexive instances.


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