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We introduce a generic approach for counting subgraphs in a graph. The main idea is to relate counting subgraphs to counting graph homomorphisms. This approach provides new algorithms and unifies several well known results in algorithms and combinatorics including the recent algorithm of Björklund, Husfeldt and Koivisto for computing the chromatic polynomial, the classical algorithm of Kohn, Gottlieb, Kohn, and Karp for counting Hamiltonian cycles, Ryser's formula for counting perfect matchingsdoi:10.1137/100789403 fatcat:igr4ivf2z5gg3h3zabvnwnfifm