Communications in Analysis and Geometry
Volume 29 (2021)
A homology vanishing theorem for graphs with positive curvature
Pages: 1449 – 1473
We prove a homology vanishing theorem for graphs with positive Bakry–Émery curvature, analogous to a classic result of Bochner on manifolds . Specifically, we prove that if a graph has positive curvature at every vertex, then its first homology group is trivial, where the notion of homology that we use for graphs is the path homology developed by Grigor’yan, Lin, Muranov, and Yau . We moreover prove that the fundamental group is finite for graphs with positive Bakry–Émery curvature, analogous to a classic result of Myers on manifolds . The proofs draw on several separate areas of graph theory, including graph coverings, gain graphs, and cycle spaces, in addition to the Bakry–Émery curvature, path homology, and graph homotopy. The main results follow as a consequence of several different relationships developed among these different areas. Specifically, we show that a graph with positive curvature cannot have a non-trivial infinite cover preserving $3$‑cycles and $4$‑cycles, and give a combinatorial interpretation of the first path homology in terms of the cycle space of a graph. Furthermore, we relate gain graphs to graph homotopy and the fundamental group developed by Grigor’yan, Lin, Muranov, and Yau , and obtain an alternative proof of their result that the abelianization of the fundamental group of a graph is isomorphic to the first path homology over the integers.
Florentin Münch was supported by the German National Merit Foundation.
Received 18 March 2018
Accepted 1 March 2019
Published 11 January 2022