Space-Efficient counting in graphs on surfaces

Mark Braverman, Raghav Kulkarni, Sambuddha Roy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


We consider the problem of counting the number of spanning trees in planar graphs. We prove tight bounds on the complexity of the problem, both in general and especially in the modular setting. We exhibit the problem to be complete for Logspace when the modulus is 2k, for constant k. On the other hand, we show that for any other modulus and in the non-modular case, our problem is as hard in the planar case as for the case of arbitrary graphs. The techniques used are algebraic topological that may be useful in many other problems involving planar or higher genus graphs - such as higher genus graph recognition in Logspace. In the spirit of counting problems modulo 2k, we also exhibit a highly parallel ⊕L algorithm for finding the value of a permanent modulo 2k. Previously, the best known result in this direction was Valiant's result that this problem lies in P. We also show that we can count the number of perfect matchings modulo 2k in an arbitrary graph in P. This extends Valiant's result for the permanent, since the Permanent may be modeled as counting the number of perfect matchings in bipartite graphs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)601-649
Number of pages49
JournalComputational Complexity
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • General Mathematics
  • Computational Theory and Mathematics
  • Computational Mathematics


  • Counting problems
  • Homology groups
  • Parity l
  • Permanent
  • Planar graphs


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