Techniques for determining equality of the maximum nullity and the zero forcing number of a graph

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Derek Young

Abstract

It is known that the zero forcing number of a graph is an upper bound for the maximum nullity of the graph (see [AIM Minimum Rank - Special Graphs Work Group (F. Barioli, W. Barrett, S. Butler, S. Cioab$\breve{\text{a}}$, D. Cvetkovi$\acute{\text{c}}$, S. Fallat, C. Godsil, W. Haemers, L. Hogben, R. Mikkelson, S. Narayan, O. Pryporova, I. Sciriha, W. So, D. Stevanovi$\acute{\text{c}}$, H. van der Holst, K. Vander Meulen, and A. Wangsness). Linear Algebra Appl., 428(7):1628--1648, 2008]). In this paper, we search for characteristics of a graph that guarantee the maximum nullity of the graph and the zero forcing number of the graph are the same by studying a variety of graph parameters that give lower bounds on the maximum nullity of a graph. In
particular, we introduce a new graph parameter which acts as a lower bound for the maximum nullity of the graph. As a result, we show that the Aztec Diamond graph's maximum nullity and zero forcing number are the same. Other graph parameters that are considered are a Colin de Verdiére type parameter and vertex connectivity. We also use matrices, such as a divisor matrix of a graph and an equitable partition of the adjacency matrix of a graph, to establish a lower bound for the nullity of the graph's adjacency matrix.

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