Generalized counting constraint satisfaction problems with determinantal circuits

Jason Morton, Jacob Turner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Generalized counting constraint satisfaction problems include Holant problems with planarity restrictions; polynomial-time algorithms for such problems include matchgates and matchcircuits, which are based on Pfaffians. In particular, they use gates which are expressible in terms of a vector of sub-Pfaffians of a skew-symmetric matrix. We introduce a new type of circuit based instead on determinants, with seemingly different expressive power. In these determinantal circuits, a gate is represented by the vector of all minors of an arbitrary matrix. Determinantal circuits permit a different class of gates. Applications of these circuits include proofs of theorems from algebraic graph theory including the Chung-Langlands formula for the number of rooted spanning forests of a graph and computing Tutte polynomials of certain matroids. They also give a strategy for simulating quantum circuits with closed timelike curves. Monoidal category theory provides a useful language for discussing such counting problems, turning combinatorial restrictions into categorical properties. We introduce the counting problem in monoidal categories and count-preserving functors as a way to study FP subclasses of problems in settings which are generally #P-hard. Using this machinery we show that, surprisingly, determinantal circuits can be simulated by Pfaffian circuits at quadratic cost.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)357-381
Number of pages25
JournalLinear Algebra and Its Applications
StatePublished - Feb 1 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Algebra and Number Theory
  • Numerical Analysis
  • Geometry and Topology
  • Discrete Mathematics and Combinatorics


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