Journal of the ACM (JACM)

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Plane Formation by Synchronous Mobile Robots in the Three-Dimensional Euclidean Space

Creating a swarm of mobile computing entities, frequently called robots, agents, or sensor nodes, with self-organization ability is a contemporary... (more)

Deciding First-Order Properties of Nowhere Dense Graphs

Nowhere dense graph classes, introduced by Nešetřil and Ossona de Mendez [2010, 2011], form a large variety of classes of “sparse... (more)

Tight Lower Bounds on Graph Embedding Problems

We prove that unless the Exponential Time Hypothesis (ETH) fails, deciding if there is a homomorphism from graph G to graph H cannot be done in time |V(H)|o(|V(G)|). We also show an exponential-time reduction from Graph Homomorphism to Subgraph Isomorphism. This rules out... (more)

Complexity of Counting CSP with Complex Weights

We give a complexity dichotomy theorem for the counting constraint satisfaction problem (#CSP in short) with algebraic complex weights. To this end, we give three conditions for its tractability. Let F be any finite set of algebraic complex-valued functions defined on an arbitrary finite domain. We show that #CSP(F) is solvable in... (more)

The Complexity of Non-Monotone Markets

We introduce the notion of non-monotone utilities, which covers a wide variety of utility functions in economic theory. We then prove that it is PPAD-hard to compute an approximate Arrow-Debreu market equilibrium in markets with linear and non-monotone utilities. Building on this result, we settle the long-standing open problem regarding the... (more)

On Learning and Testing Dynamic Environments

We initiate a study of learning and testing dynamic environments, focusing on environments that evolve according to a fixed local rule. The (proper) learning task consists of obtaining the initial configuration of the environment, whereas for nonproper learning it suffices to predict its future values. The testing task consists of checking whether... (more)


Important Note on P/NP: Some submissions purport to solve a long-standing open problem in complexity theory, such as the P/NP problem. Many of these turn out to be mistaken, and such submissions tax JACM volunteer editors and reviewers. JACM remains open to the possibility of eventual resolution of P/NP and related questions, and continues to welcome submissions on the subject. However, to mitigate the burden of repeated resubmissions due to incremental corrections of errors identified during editorial review, no author may submit more than one such paper to JACM, ACM Trans. on Algorithms, or ACM Trans. on Computation in any 24-month period, except by invitation of the Editor-in-Chief. This applies to resubmissions of previously rejected manuscripts. Please consider this policy before submitting a such a paper.

About JACM

The Journal of the ACM (JACM) provides coverage of the most significant work on principles of computer science, broadly construed. The scope of research we cover encompasses contributions of lasting value to any area of computer science. To be accepted, a paper must be judged to be truly outstanding in its field.  JACM is interested  in work in core computer science and at the boundaries, both the boundaries of subdisciplines of computer science and the boundaries between computer science and other fields.

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Forthcoming Articles
Separations in Query Complexity Based on Pointer Functions

In 1986, Saks and Wigderson conjectured that the largest separation between deterministic and zero-error randomized query complexity for a total boolean function is given by the function $f$ on $n=2^k$ bits defined by a complete binary tree of NAND gates of depth $k$, which achieves $R_0(f) = O(D(f)^{0.7537\ldots})$. We show this is false by giving an example of a total boolean function $f$ on $n$ bits whose deterministic query complexity is $\Omega(n/\log(n))$ while its zero-error randomized query complexity is $\tO(\sqrt{n})$. We further show that the quantum query complexity of the same function is $\tO(n^{1/4})$, giving the first example of a total function with a super-quadratic gap between its quantum and deterministic query complexities. We also construct a total boolean function $g$ on $n$ variables that has zero-error randomized query complexity $\Omega(n/\log(n))$ and bounded-error randomized query complexity $R(g) = \tO(\sqrt{n})$. This is the first super-linear separation between these two complexity measures. The exact quantum query complexity of the same function is $Q_E(g) = \tO(\sqrt{n})$. These functions show that the relations $D(f) = O(R_1(f)^2)$ and $R_0(f) = \tO(R(f)^2)$ are optimal, up to poly-logarithmic factors. Further variations of these functions give additional separations between other query complexity measures: a cubic separation between $Q$ and $R_0$, a $3/2$-power separation between $Q_E$ and $R$, and a 4th power separation between approximate degree and bounded-error randomized query complexity. All of these examples are variants of a function recently introduced by Goos, Pitassi, and Watson which they used to separate the unambiguous 1-certificate complexity from deterministic query complexity and to resolve the famous Clique versus Independent Set problem in communication complexity.

Parallel-Correctness and Transferability for Conjunctive Queries

A dominant cost for query evaluation in modern massively distributed systems is the number of communication rounds. For this reason, there is a growing interest in single-round multiway join algorithms where data is first reshuffled over many servers and then evaluated in a parallel but communication-free way. The reshuffling itself is specified as a distribution policy. We introduce a correctness condition, called parallel-correctness, for the evaluation of queries w.r.t. a distribution policy. We study the complexity of parallel-correctness for conjunctive queries as well as transferability of parallel-correctness between queries. We also investigate the complexity of transferability for certain families of distribution policies, including, for instance, the Hypercube distribution.

The freezing threshold for k-colourings of a random graph

We determine the exact value of the freezing threshold, r_k, for k-colourings of a random graph when k g 14. We prove that for random graphs with density above r_k, almost every colouring is such that a linear number of vertices are frozen, meaning that their colours cannot be changed by a sequence of alterations whereby we change the colours of o(n) vertices at a time, always obtaining another proper colouring. When the density is below r_k, then almost every colouring is such that every vertex can be changed by a sequence of alterations where we change O(log n) vertices at a time. Frozen vertices are a key part of the clustering phenomena discovered using methods from statistical physics. The value of the freezing threshold was previously determined by the non-rigorous cavity method.

Qualitative Determinacy and Decidability of Stochastic Games with Signals

Invited Article Foreword for 64.4

Bounds on monotone switching networks for directed connectivity

We separate monotone analogues of L and NL by proving that any monotone switching network solving directed connectivity on a set V(G) of n vertices must have size at least n&(\og n)

Constant-rate coding for multiparty interactive communication is impossible

We study coding schemes for multiparty interactive communication over synchronous networks that suffer from stochastic noise, where each bit is independently flipped with probability µ. We analyze the minimal overhead that must be added by the coding scheme in order to succeed in performing the computation despite the noise. Our main result is a lower bound on the communication of any noise-resilient protocol over a synchronous star network with n-parties (where all parties communicate in every round). Specifically, we show a task that can be solved by communicating T bits over the noise-free network, but for which any protocol with success probability of 1  o(1) must communicate at least ©(T log n / log log n ) bits when the channels are noisy. By a 1994 result of Rajagopalan and Schulman, the slowdown we prove is the highest one can obtain on any topology, up to a log log n factor. We complete our lower bound with a matching coding scheme that achieves the same overhead; thus, the capacity of (synchronous) star networks is ˜(log log n / log n). Our bounds prove that, despite several previous coding schemes with rate ©(1) for certain topologies, no coding scheme with constant rate ©(1) exists for arbitrary n-party noisy networks.

Source Sets: A Foundation for Optimal Dynamic Partial Order Reduction

Stateless model checking is a powerful method for program verification, which however suffers from an exponential growth in the number of explored executions. A successful technique for reducing this number, while still maintaining complete coverage, is Dynamic Partial Order Reduction (DPOR), an algorithm originally introduced by Flanagan and Godefroid in 2005 and since then not only used as a point of reference but also extended by various researchers. In this article, we present a new DPOR algorithm, which is the first to be provably optimal in that it always explores the minimal number of executions. It is based on a novel class of sets, called source sets, which replace the role of persistent sets in previous algorithms. We begin by showing how to modify the original DPOR algorithm to work with source sets, resulting in an efficient and simple to implement algorithm, called source-DPOR. Subsequently, we enhance this algorithm with a novel mechanism, called wakeup trees, that allows the resulting algorithm, called optimal-DPOR, to achieve optimality. Both algorithms are then extended to computational models where processes may disable each other, e.g., via locks. Finally, we discuss trade-offs of the source- and optimal-DPOR algorithm and present programs that illustrate significant time and space performance differences between them. We have implemented both algorithms in a publicly available stateless model checking tool for Erlang programs. Experiments show that source sets significantly increase the performance of stateless model checking compared to using the original DPOR algorithm and that wakeup trees incur only a small overhead in both time and space in practice.

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