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Abstract:Algorithmic stability is a central notion in learning theory that quantifies the sensitivity of an algorithm to small changes in the training data. If a learning algorithm satisfies certain stability properties, this leads to many important downstream implications, such as generalization, robustness, and reliable predictive inference. Verifying that stability holds for a particular algorithm is therefore an important and practical question. However, recent results establish that testing the stability of a black-box algorithm is impossible, given limited data from an unknown distribution, in settings where the data lies in an uncountably infinite space (such as real-valued data). In this work, we extend this question to examine a far broader range of settings, where the data may lie in any space -- for example, categorical data. We develop a unified framework for quantifying the hardness of testing algorithmic stability, which establishes that across all settings, if the available data is limited then exhaustive search is essentially the only universally valid mechanism for certifying algorithmic stability. Since in practice, any test of stability would naturally be subject to computational constraints, exhaustive search is impossible and so this implies fundamental limits on our ability to test the stability property for a black-box algorithm.