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Title: Tropicalization of graph profiles
A graph profile records all possible densities of a fixed finite set of graphs. Profiles can be extremely complicated; for instance the full profile of any triple of connected graphs is not known, and little is known about hypergraph profiles. We introduce the tropicalization of graph and hypergraph profiles. Tropicalization is a well-studied operation in algebraic geometry, which replaces a variety (the set of real or complex solutions to a finite set of algebraic equations) with its “combinatorial shadow”. We prove that the tropicalization of a graph profile is a closed convex cone, which still captures interesting combinatorial information. We explicitly compute these tropicalizations for arbitrary sets of complete and star hypergraphs. We show they are rational polyhedral cones even though the corresponding profiles are not even known to be semialgebraic in some of these cases. We then use tropicalization to prove strong restrictions on the power of the sums of squares method, equivalently Cauchy-Schwarz calculus, to test (which is weaker than certification) the validity of graph density inequalities. In particular, we show that sums of squares cannot test simple binomial graph density inequalities, or even their approximations. Small concrete examples of such inequalities are presented, and include the famous Blakley-Roy inequalities for paths of odd length. As a consequence, these simple inequalities cannot be written as a rational sum of squares of graph densities.  more » « less
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Transactions of the American Mathematical Society
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National Science Foundation
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