A characterization of the (natural) graph properties testable with one-sided error

Noga Alon, Asaf Shapira

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

101 Scopus citations


The problem of characterizing all the testable graph properties is considered by many to be the most important open problem in the area of property testing. Our main result in this paper is a solution of an important special case of this general problem: Call a property tester oblivious if its decisions are independent of the size of the input graph. We show that a graph property P has an oblivious one-sided error tester if arid only if P is semihereditary. We stress that any "natural" property that can be tested (either with one-sided or with two-sided error) can be tested by an oblivious tester. In particular, all the testers studied thus far in the literature were oblivious. Our main result can thus be considered as a precise characterization of the natural graph properties, which are testable with one-sided error. One of the main technical contributions of this paper is in showing that any hereditary graph property can be tested with one-sided error. This general result contains as a special case all the previous results about testing graph properties with one-sided error. More importantly, as a special case of our main result, we infer that some of the most well-studied graph properties, both in graph theory and computer science, are testable with one-sided error. Some of these properties are the well-known graph properties of being perfect, chordal, interval, comparability, permutation, and more. None of these properties was previously known to be testable.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1703-1727
Number of pages25
JournalSIAM Journal on Computing
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2007
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Computer Science
  • General Mathematics


  • Hereditary properties
  • One-sided error
  • Property testing
  • Regularity lemma


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