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JIAQI JIANG

matrix or adjacency matrix associated with a graph. In this paper, we focus

on the connection between the eigenvalues of the Laplacian matrix and graph

connectivity. Also, we use the adjacency matrix of a graph to count the number

of simple paths of length up to 3.

Contents

1. Introduction 1

2. Background of Spectral Graph Theory 1

3. Basic Properties of The Laplacian Matrix 3

4. Eigenvalues and Eigenvectors of the Laplacians of Some Fundamental

Graphs 6

5. The Bounding of 9

6. Further Discussion on Simple Path Counting Problem 14

7. Acknowledgment 16

References 16

1. Introduction

The eigenvalues of the Laplacian matrix of a graph are closely related to the

connectivity of the graph. Therefore, bounds for the smallest nonzero eigenvalue of

the graph Laplacian give us intuition on how well connected a graph is. Thus, we

focus on finding bounds for this eigenvalue. Additionally, the adjacency matrix of

a graph provides information about paths contained in the graph. Therefore, it is

also one of our goals to find a way to count the number of paths of different length

contained in the graph using the adjacency matrix.

We introduce the basic concepts of graph theory and define the adjacency matrix

and the Laplacian matrix of a graph.

Definition 2.1. A graph is an ordered pair G=(V,E ) of sets, where

E {{x, y} | x, y V, x 6= y} .

The elements of V are called vertices (or nodes) of the graph G and the elements

of E are called edges. So in a graph G with vertex set {x1 , x2 , . . . , xn }, {xi , xj } E

if and only if there is a line in G which connects the two points xi and xj . The

graph we defined above is called an undirected graph. A directed graph is similar

1

2 JIAQI JIANG

to an undirected graph except the edge set E V V . Unless specified, the graphs

we deal with in this paper are all undirected and finite. Also, the vector spaces we

are working on are all real vector spaces.

Now we will define the concept of adjacency.

Definition 2.2. In a graph G = (V, E), two points xi , xj V are adjacent or

neighbors if {xi , xj } E.

If all the vertices of G are pairwise adjacent, then we say G is complete. A

complete graph with n vertices is denoted as K n . For example, the graph of a

triangle is K 3 , the complete graph with three vertices.

Definition 2.3. The degree d(v) of a vertex v is the number of vertices in G that

are adjacent to v.

There are two matrices we can get from a graph G. One is called adjacency

matrix, which we denote as AG . The other is called Laplacian matrix, which we

denote as LG . Without loss of generality, assume a graph G has the vertex set

V = {1, 2, . . . , n}. Now we define the adjacency matrix and the Laplacian matrix

of G as follows:

Definition 2.4. In the adjacency matrix AG of the graph G, the entries ai,j are

given by

(

1 if {i, j} E,

ai,j =

0 otherwise.

Definition 2.5. In the Laplacian matrix LG of the graph G, the entries li,j are

given by

1 if {i, j} E,

li,j = d(i) if i = j, and

0 otherwise.

One use of the adjacency matrix of a graph is to calculate the number of walks of

different length connecting two vertices in the graph. Before we define the concept

of walk, we first introduce the concept of incident.

Definition 2.6. A vertex v V is incident with an edge {vi , vj } E if v = vi or

v = vj .

Now we define the concept of the walk.

Definition 2.7. A walk on a graph is an alternating series of vertices and edges,

beginning and ending with a vertex, in which each edge is incident with the vertex

immediately preceding it and the vertex immediately following it.

A walk between two vertices u and v is called a u v walk. The length of a

walk is the number of edges it has. In a walk, we count repeated edges as many

times as they appear.

Theorem 2.8. For a graph G with vertex set V = {1, 2, . . . , m}, the entry anij of

the matrix AnG obtained by taking the nth power of the adjacency matrix AG equals

the number of i j walks of length n.

AN INTRODUCTION TO SPECTRAL GRAPH THEORY 3

Proof. We will prove the theorem by induction. When n = 1, the entry aij is 1 if

{i, j} E. By definition, i {i, j} j is then an i j walk of length 1 and this is the

only one. So the statement is true for n = 1.

Now, we assume the statement is true for n and then prove Pmthe statement is also

true for n + 1. Since An+1

ij = A n

ij A ij , therefore, an+1

ij = a

k=1 ik

n

a kj . Because

aki = 0 whenever {k, i} / E and aki = 1 if {k, i} E, it follows that anik aki

represents the number of those i j walks that are i k walks of length n joined by

the edge {k, j}. In particular, allP walks from i to j of length n + 1 are of this form

m

for some vertex k. Thus an+1

ij = n

k=1 aik akj indeed represents the total number

of i j walks of length n + 1. This proves the statement for n + 1. Then by the

principle of induction, we prove the statement for all natural numbers n.

In a later section, we will discuss how to compute the number of paths (a walk

in which vertices are all distinct from each other) of length up to 3 between i and

j in a graph given the adjacency matrix of the graph.

One of the most interesting properties of a graph is its connectedness. The

Laplacian matrix provides us with a way to investigate this property. In this section,

we study the properties of the Laplacian matrix of a graph. First, we give a new

way to define the Laplacian matrix for a graph, which turns out to be much more

useful than the previous one.

Definition 3.1. Suppose G = (V, E) is a graph with V = {1, 2, . . . , n}. For an

edge {u, v} E, we define an n n matrix LG{u,v} by

1

if i = j and i {u, v} ,

lG{u,v} (i, j) = 1 if i = u and j = v, or vice versa,

0 otherwise.

~xT LG{u,v} ~x = (xu xv )2 for all ~x Rn .

Now given the edge set E of a graph G, we are ready to give our new definition

of the Laplacian matrix LG of the graph.

P

Definition 3.2. For a graph G = (V, E), LG = LG{u,v} .

{u,v}E

It is readily seen that this new definition of the Laplacian matrix is indeed

equivalent to the definition given in the previous section. However, we find that

many elementary properties of the Laplacian matrix follow easily from the new

definition. We see that the eigenvalues of the Laplacian matrix are all real by

realizing that the Laplacian matrix of a graph is symmetric and consists of real

entries. Thus, LG =LG where LG is the conjugate transpose of LG . Therefore, LG

is self adjoint. By the following theorem, all the eigenvalues of LG are thus real.

Theorem 3.3. The eigenvalues of a self adjoint matrix are all real.

Proof. Suppose is an eigenvalue of the self adjoint matrix L and v is a nonzero

eigenvector of . Then

4 JIAQI JIANG

2

kvk = hv, vi

= hv, vi

= hLv, vi

= hv, Lvi

= hv, vi

= hv, vi

2

= kvk

2

Since v 6= 0, we have kvk 6= 0. Therefore, = . This proves that is real.

In fact, the eigenvalues of the Laplacian matrix are not only real but also non-

negative. Recall the definition of positive-semidefinite.

Definition 3.4. An n n matrix M is called positive-semidefinite if ~xT M~x > 0

for all ~x Rn .

Since ~xT LG{u,v} ~x = (xu xv )2 for all ~x Rn , we have

X X

~xT LG ~x = ~xT LG{u,v} ~x = (xu xv )2 > 0.

{u,v}E {u,v}E

all the eigenvalues of LG is non-negative.

Theorem 3.5. For a graph G, every eigenvalue of LG is non-negative.

Proof. Suppose is an eigenvalue and ~x Rn is a nonzero eigenvector of . Then

= (~xT ~x)

As we have noted, the Laplacian matrix LG is self-adjoint and consists of real

entries. Thus the Real Spectral Theorem states that LG has an orthonormal basis

consisting of eigenvectors of LG . Therefore, for a graph G of n vertices, we can find

n eigenvalues (not necessarily distinct) for LG . We denote them as 1 , 2 , . . . , n .

Since they are all real and non-negative, we assume that

0 6 1 6 2 6 6 n .

Now we prove some fundamental facts about Laplacians. Recall that in the

previous section we mentioned that the eigenvalues of the Laplacian tell us how

connected a graph is. Now, we define connectedness. First, we give the definition

of a path.

Definition 3.6. A path is a non-empty graph P = (V, E) of the form

V = {x0 , x1 , . . . , xn } E = {{x0 , x1 } , {x1 , x2 } , . . . , {xn1 , xn }} ,

where all the vertices xi are distinct.

AN INTRODUCTION TO SPECTRAL GRAPH THEORY 5

Recall the definition of a walk, a path is in fact a walk with no repeating vertices.

Definition 3.7. A non-empty graph G is called connected if any two of its vertices

are contained in a path in G.

Now we will see that the eigenvalue 0 is closely related to this connectedness.

Lemma 3.8. For any graph G, 1 = 0 for LG . If G = (V, E) is a connected graph

where V = {1, 2, . . . , n}, then 2 > 0.

Proof. Let ~x = (1, 1, . . . , 1) Rn . Then the entry mi of the matrix M = LG ~x is

n

X

mi = lik .

k=1

Recall the definition of LG given in the first section. It follows immediately that

mi = 0 since the row entries of LG should add up to zero. So LG ~x = 0. Therefore,

0 is an eigenvalue of LG . Since 0 6 1 6 2 6 6 n , it follows that 1 = 0.

Now we want to show that 2 > 0 for a connected graph. Since 0 is an eigenvalue

of LG , let ~z be a nonzero eigenvector of 0. Then

~zT LG ~z = ~zT 0 = 0.

So X

~zT LG ~z = (zu zv )2 = 0.

{u,v}E

This implies that for any {u, v} such that {u, v} E, zu = zv . Since G is connected,

this means zi = zj for all i, j V . Therefore,

1

1

z = . ,

..

1

where is some real number. So,

U1 = Span ((1, 1, . . . , 1)) ,

where U1 is the eigenspace of 1 . Therefore, the multiplicity of eigenvalue 0 is 1.

It follows that 2 6= 0, so 2 > 0.

In fact, the multiplicity of the eigenvalue 0 of LG tells us the number of connected

components in the graph G.

Definition 3.9. A connected component of a graph G = (V, E) is a subgraph

G0 = (V 0 , E 0 ), (V 0 V , E 0 = {{x, y} E | x, y V 0 }), in which any two vertices

i, j V 0 are connected while for any i V 0 and k V \ V 0 , i, k are not connected .

Corollary 3.10. Let G = (V, E) be a graph. Then the multiplicity of 0 as an

eigenvalue of LG equals the number of connected components of G.

Proof. Suppose G1 = (V1 , E1 ), G2 = (V2 , E2 ), . . . , Gk = (Vk , Ek ) are the connected

components of G. Let w

~i be defined by

(

1 if j Vi ,

(wi )j =

0 otherwise .

6 JIAQI JIANG

0, then xi = xj for any i, j V such that i, j are in the same connected component.

So

U1 = Span({w~1 , w~2 , . . . , w~k }).

It is clear that w~1 , w~2 , . . . , w~k are linearly independent. Therefore, the multiplicity

of 0 as an eigenvalue of LG is the number of connected components in G.

Fundamental Graphs

Now we begin to examine the eigenvalues and the eigenvectors of the Laplacian

of some fundamental graphs.

V = {1, 2, . . . , n} and E = {{i, j} | i 6= j, i, j V }.

eigenvalue n with multiplicity n 1.

Proof. The first part of the proposition simply follows from Corollary 3.9.

To prove the second part of the proposition, consider the Laplacian of Kn . It is

an n n matrix defined by

(

1 if i 6= j,

aij =

n 1 if i = j.

Therefore, LKn nI = M where M is the n n matrix with entries all equal -1.

Clearly, M is not invertible and has rank 1. Thus n is an eigenvalue of LKn . Then

by Rank-nullity Theorem, null(M ) = n 1. It follows that the eigenvalue n has

multiplicity n 1.

V = {1, 2, . . . , n} and E = {{i, i + 1} | 1 6 i < n}.

V = {1, 2, . . . , n} and E = {{i, i + 1} | 1 6 i < n} {{1, n}}.

n ) and associ-

ated eigenvectors of the form

2ki

xi (k) = sin and,

n

2ki

yi (k) = cos ,

n

where xi (k) denotes the ith component of the eigenvector for the kth eigenvalue and

k 6 n2 .

AN INTRODUCTION TO SPECTRAL GRAPH THEORY 7

2 1 0 1

1 2 1 0

.. . .. .. .

. .

0 1 2 1

1 0 1 2

Therefore, if is an eigenvalue of LCn and ~x is an associated eigenvector, then ~x

should satisfy

(4.6) 2x1 x2 xn = x1

(4.7) x1 xn1 + 2xn = xn , and,

(4.8) xm1 + 2xm xm+1 = xm , for all 1 < m < n.

Also, from the form of LCn , we can see that if P is a cyclic permutation, then P ~x

is also an eigenvector for . This means that ~x, P ~x, . . . , P n1 ~x are all eigenvectors

of . However, the maximum dimension of any eigenspace is n 1 since 0 is an

eigenvalue of multiplicity 1. This implies that

P j ~x Span( ~x, P ~x, . . . , P j1 ~x )

for some j. This shall give us some idea about the possible form of ~x. We might

try the particular form corresponding to the case j = 1 such that

(4.9) x m = Am ,

where A = x1 is some constant.

Plugging (4.9) into (4.6), (4.7) and (4.8), we get

2 A An1 =

2 A1n A1 = and,

2 A1 A = for all 1 < i < n.

Combining these equations, we actually get that An = 1. This means

2ki

Ak = e n

n ) are

indeed all real. Recall we are working on the real vector space, but so far the ~x

we get by the form xm = Am are complex as Ak is complex. However, if we write

xm (k) = Am using Eulers Formula, we can see that

2km 2km

zm (k) = cos( ) + i sin( ).

n n

Since LCn z(k) = k z(k) and both LCn and k are real, this means that both the

real part and the imaginary part of z(k) are invariant under LCn because LCn

consists of real entries. Therefore, xm (k) = cos( 2km 2km

n ) and ym (k) = sin( n ) are

2k n

both eigenvectors for k = 2 2 cos( n ). Then, for k > 2 ,

n

x(k) Span({x(1), x(2), . . . , x(j)}) j 6 , and,

2

n

y(k) Span({y(1), y(2), . . . , y(j)}) j 6 .

2

8 JIAQI JIANG

n ) with k 6 2 .

The list above is exhaustive since we have formed n independent eigenvectors

correspondingly to these eigenvalues:

When n is odd, we have one eigenvector x(0) for 0 = 0 (y(0) = ~0), and two

eigenvectors x(k) and y(k) for all 0 < k < n2 .

When n is even, we have one eigenvector x(0) for 0 = 0 (y(0) = ~0) and two

eigenvectors x(k) and y(k) for all 0 < k < n2 and one eigenvector x( n2 ) for n2 = 4

(y( n2 ) = ~0).

Proposition 4.10. The Laplacian of Pn has the same eigenvalues as C2n , and the

associated eigenvectors

ki k

xi (k) = cos ,

n 2n

for 0 6 k < n.

Proof. In order to prove the proposition, we will treat Pn as a quotient of C2n by

identifying vertex i of Pn with both vertices i and 2n + 1 i of C2n . Then we find

an eigenvector ~v of C2n such that vi = v2n+1i for all vertices i of C2n . Then,

v1

v2

~x = .

..

vn

is an eigenvector of Pn . First, I am going to show that ~x is an eigenvector of Pn .

Notice that LPn has the form

1 1 0 0

1 2 1 0

.. .. ..

.

.

. .

0 1 2 1

0 0 1 1

So if ~u is an eigenvalue of Pn , then it must satisfy:

u1 u2 = u1

un1 + un = un , and,

ui1 + 2ui ui+1 = ui , for all 1 < i < n.

Following immediately from the previous proof, our ~x satisfies the last condition.

We only need to check whether it satisfies the first two conditions. As we notice,

u1 = u2n + 2u1 u2 = u1 + 2u1 u2 = u1 u2

So our ~x satisfies all the conditions.

Now, we want to make sure that there exists an eigenvector ~v of C2n satisfying

vi = v2n+1i , so we can get our ~x from it. Fortunately, we only need to let

ki k

vi (k) = cos ,

n 2n

AN INTRODUCTION TO SPECTRAL GRAPH THEORY 9

then

k(2n + 1 i) k

v2n+1i (k) = cos

n 2n

k(4n + 2 2i 1)

= cos

2n

4kn k(2i + 1)

= cos

2n 2n

2ki + k

= cos 2k

2n

ki k

= cos

n 2n

= vi (k),

which satisfies our definition for ~v . Since

ki k

vi (k) = cos

n 2n

k 2ki k 2ki

= cos cos + sin sin ,

2n 2n 2n 2n

we have ~v Span ({x(k), y(k)}), where x(k) and y(k) are the eigenvectors for

C2n following from proposition 4.5. The eigenvalues associated are thus k =

2 2 cos( 2k

2n ) where 1 6 k 6 n.

5. The Bounding of

As noted above, the smallest non-zero eigenvalue of the Laplacian of a graph

tells us how connected the graph is. Thus, it is important to find bounds for this

value. First, we try to find a lower bound for the largest eigenvalue of the Laplacian

of a graph. In order to do this, we introduce the Courant-Fischer Theorem.

Theorem 5.1 (Courant-Fischer). Let A be an n n symmetric matrix and let

1 6 k 6 n. Let 1 6 2 6 6 n be the eigenvalues of A and v1 , v2 , . . . , vn be

the corresponding eigenvectors. Then,

xT Ax

1 = min

x6=0 xT x

xT Ax

2 = min

x6=0 and xv1 xT x

xT Ax

n = max T .

x6=0 x x

The proof of this theorem can be found in [5]. With Courant-Fischer Theorem,

we can get some easy lower bounds for the largest eigenvalue n of the Laplacian

of a graph.

Lemma 5.2. Let G = (V, E) be a graph with V = {1, 2, . . . , n} and u V . If u

has degree d, then

n (G) > d.

10 JIAQI JIANG

~xT LG ~x

n (G) = max .

x6=0

~ ~xT ~x

Let ~x = e~u , where e~1 , e~2 , . . . , e~n is the standard basis. Recall that

X

~xT LG ~x = (xu xv )2 .

{u,v}E

Therefore, we have

(xu xv )2

P

T

e~u LG e~u {u,v}E

=

e~u T e~u

P

x2u

d

=

1

=d

~xT LG ~x

So n (G) > = d.

~xT ~x

In fact, we can slightly improve the bound.

Theorem 5.3. Let G = (V, E) be a graph with V = {1, 2, . . . , n} and u V . If u

has degree d, then

n (G) > d + 1.

Proof. It follows the same idea as in the proof for the previous lemma. However,

this time we will consider the vector ~x given by

d

if i = u,

xi = 1 if {i, u} E,

0 otherwise.

Then we have

(xu xv )2

P

T

~x LG ~x {u,v}E

= P

~xT ~x x2u

d(d (1))2

=

d(1)2 + d2

d(d + 1)2

=

d(d + 1)

=d+1

~xT LG ~x

So n (G) > = d + 1.

~xT ~x

Now we turn our focus onto the bounding of 2 . By Courant-Fischer Theorem,

we can roughly get an upper bound for 2 of the path graph Pn .

1

Proposition 5.4. Let Pn be the path graph, then 2 (Pn ) = O .

n2

AN INTRODUCTION TO SPECTRAL GRAPH THEORY 11

X

~u ~1 = (n + 1) 2i = 0,

i

where ~1 = (1, 1, . . . , 1). As we have shown before, ~1 spans the eigenspace for the

eigenvalue 1 = 0. Then by Courant-Fischer Theorem, we get

~xT LPn ~x

2 (Pn ) = min

x~

~ 1 ~xT ~x

T

~u LPn ~u

6

~uT ~u

Recall that X

~xT LG ~x = (xu xv )2 .

{u,v}E

So

(ui ui+1 )2

P

T

~u LPn ~u 16i<n

= P

~uT ~u (ui )2

i

n22

< P

(n + 1 2i)2

16i<n

P

of 2 by

1

2 = O

n2

Definition 5.5. For two symmetric n by n matrices A and B, we write A < B if

A B is positive semidefinite.

So if A < B, then ~xT A~x > ~xT B~x for all ~x.

Lemma 5.6. If G and H are both graphs with n vertices such that

c LG < LH ,

then

c 2 (G) > 2 (H).

Proof. By Courant-Fischer Theorem,

c~xT LG ~x

c 2 (G) = min

xv~1 ~

x6=0 and ~

~ xT ~x

T

~x (c LG )~x

= min

x6=0 and ~

~ xv~1 ~xT ~x

12 JIAQI JIANG

~xT (c LG )~x

Assume when ~x = ~u, reaches minimum for ~x 6= 0 and ~x v~1 . Since

~xT ~x

c LG < LH , by definition,

~uT (c LG )~u

c 2 (G) =

~uT ~u

T

~u (LH )~u

>

~uT ~u

~xT LH ~x

> min

xv~1 ~

x6=0 and ~

~ xT ~x

> 2 (H).

By using this lemma, we will be able to find a lower bound for 2 (Pn ) by com-

paring it with 2 (Kn ). Recall our previous definition of LG{u,v} in definition 3.1.

For convenience, I will denote LG{u,v} simply as L{u,v} from now on.

Lemma 5.7. For a graph G, let c1 , c2 , . . . , cn1 > 0. Then

n1

!

X

c ci L{i,i+1} < L{1,n} ,

i=1

where

n1

X 1

c= .

c

i=1 i

n1

X 1

ci L{i,i+1} < n1 L{1,n} .

P 1

i=1

ci

i=1

Assume the statement is true for n 1, then

n1

X n2

X

ci L{i,i+1} = ci L{i,i+1} + cn1 L{n1,n}

i=1 i=1

1

< n2 L{1,n1} + cn1 L{n1,n} .

P 1

ci

i=1

1 1

n2 L{1,n1} + cn1 L{n1,n} < n1 L{1,n} ,

P 1 P 1

ci ci

i=1 i=1

1 1

M = n2 L{1,n1} + cn1 L{n1,n} n1 L{1,n}

P 1 P 1

ci ci

i=1 i=1

AN INTRODUCTION TO SPECTRAL GRAPH THEORY 13

1 1

~xT M~x = n2 (x1 xn1 )2 + cn1 (xn1 xn )2 n1 (x1 xn )2 .

P 1 P 1

ci ci

i=1 i=1

1

Let a1 = n2

and a2 = cn1 and let y1 = x1 xn1 and y2 = xn1 xn , then

1

P

ci

i=1

1

~xT M~x = a1 y12 + a2 y22 (y1 + y2 )2

a1

+ a1

1 2

1 1 1

a1 + a2 (a1 y12 + a2 y22 ) (y1 + y2 )2 .

=

a1

1 + a1

2

1
2
1
2 1 1 2

2
2

a1
a 2 y1
a1 a 2 y1

1
1

>

1
1
1 1

a 2
a 2 y2
a 2 a2 y2

2

2 2 2

a1 1

(a1 y12 + a2 y22 ) > (y1 + y2 )2 .

1 + a2

Therefore, ~xT M~x > 0. So M < 0. Thus, we have proved the statement for n. By

principle of induction, we have proved the statement for all n.

6

Proposition 5.8. For a path graph Pn , 2 > .

n2

Proof. We will prove this proposition by comparing the path graph Pn to the com-

plete graph Kn using the lemma we have just proved.

Suppose Kn = (V, E) where V = {1, 2, . . . , n}. For each edge {u, v} E with

u < v, we apply Lemma 5.10, with c1 , c2 , . . . , cn1 = 1. Then

v1

X

(v u) LKn{i,i+1} < LKn {u,v} .

i=u

X v1

X X

(v u) LKn{i,i+1} < LKn{u,v} = LKn .

16u<v6n i=u 16u<v6n

14 JIAQI JIANG

Notice that

X n1

X

(v u) = i(n i)

16u<v6n i=1

n1

X n1

X

=n i i2

i=1 i=1

n(n 1) n(n 1)(2n 1)

=n

2 6

3

n n

=

6 6

n3

6 .

6

Therefore,

n1 n1

n3 n3

X X X

LPn = LKn {i,i+1} < (v u) LKn {i,i+1}

6 6 i=1 i=1

16u<v6n

X v1

X

< (v u) LKn{i,i+1}

16u<v6n i=u

< LKn

So

n3

LPn < LKn .

6

By Lemma 5.9, we have

n3

2 (Pn ) > 2 (Kn ).

6

Proposition 4.2 implies that 2 (Kn ) = n, therefore

3

n

2 (Pn ) > n,

6

and so,

6

2 (Pn ) > 2 .

n

We can readily see that this lower bound has the same order as our previous

rough upper bound of 2 (Pn ).

In the previous section, we have shown that for a given graph G = (V, E) where

V = {1, 2, . . . , n}, the entry aki,j of the exponential of the adjacency matrix AkG tells

us the number of i j walks of length k. However, from our definition, we can see

these i j walks consist of repeating edges. It would be interesting to count the

number of i j walks with no repeated vertices, which we will call simple paths.

Definition 6.1. Let G = (V, E) be a graph and suppose i, j V . A simple path

between i j in G is a subgraph which is a path connecting i and j. The length of

the simple path is just the length of the subgraph path.

AN INTRODUCTION TO SPECTRAL GRAPH THEORY 15

We can easily see that in a graph G all the i j walks of length 2 where i 6= j

are simple paths between i j of length 2. Thus the entries a2i,j of A2G where i 6= j

give us the correct number. Since any closed walk (i i walk for any i V ) is not

counted as a simple path, the number of simple path between i and i is always 0.

Therefore, the matrix counting the number of simple paths of length 2 is

(2)

SG = A2G DG

(

d(i) if i = j,

di,j =

0 otherwise,

Now we consider simple paths of length 3. A simple path of length 3 between i

and j consists of a simple path of length 2 between i and a point u where {u, j} E.

Thus, we would expect that

n

(3) (2)

X

si,j = si,p ap,j

p=1

(2)

where si,p is the number of simple path of length 2 between i, p and ap,j is the

entry of adjacency matrix AG . However, we should notice that if j is adjacent to

i, then the formula above will include the number of i j walks which contain a

closed walk at j . That is they are walks of the form i j p j. Therefore, we

have to subtract the number of such walks. We can easily see this number is given

by ai,j (d(j) 1). So in fact

n

(3) (2)

X

si,j = si,p ap,j ai,j (d(j) 1).

p=1

where i 6= j and,

(3)

si,i = 0.

Therefore, we could see that

(3) (2) (2)

SG = SG AG AG (DG I) Diag(SG AG )

(

0 if i 6= j,

Diag(M )i,j =

mi,j if i = j.

(3)

We can easily see this simply means that SG is obtained by changing the diag-

(2)

onals of SG AG AG (DG I) to all 0s.

(k)

So far, I have only computed SG for up to 3 as the case for k > 3 is too compli-

cated to compute. The problem may require different methods or tools to tackle in

the future. However, we can reach a rough upper bound for the number of simple

paths of length k. Consider the graph G = (V, E) where V = {1, 2, . . . , n}. It is

obvious that the number mG of simple paths of length k (k 6 n) contained in G is

16 JIAQI JIANG

less than the number mKn of simple paths of length k contained in the complete

graph Kn . We can easily compute mKn ,

1

mKn = n (n 1) (n k + 1)

2

Pn,k

= ,

2

where Pn,k denotes k permutations of n. So,

Pn,k

mG 6 mKn = .

2

There still remains the possibility to get even finer bounds for certain families of

graphs.

7. Acknowledgment

It is a pleasure to thank my mentor, Robin Walters, for introducing me to the

topic of spectral graph theory and for his help throughout the paper writing process.

I would not possibly have finished this paper without his advice and insights on the

topic.

References

[1] Paul R. Halmos. Finite-Dimensional Vector Spaces. Springer-Verlag New York, Inc.1974.

[2] Sheldon Axler. Linear Algebra Done Right, Second Edition. Springer-Verlag New York,

Inc.1997.

[3] Reinhard Diestel. Graph Theory. Springer-Verlag New York, Inc.2000.

[4] Dan Spielman. Spectral Graph Theory and its Applications. Online lecture notes.

http://www.cs.yale.edu/homes/spielman/eigs/, 19 July 2012.

[5] Andre Wibisono (Scribe), Jonathan Kelner (Lecturer). Online lecture notes for course

18.409 Algorithmists Toolkit. http://ocw.mit.edu/courses/mathematics/18-409-topics-in-

theoretical-computer-science-an-algorithmists-toolkit-fall-2009/lecture-notes, 30 July 2012.

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