Questions about the branch of combinatorics called graph theory (not to be used for questions concerning the graph of a function). This tag can be further specialized via using it in combination with more specialized tags such as extremal-graph-theory, spectral-graph-theory, algebraic-graph-theory, ...

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39
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3answers
2k views

History of the four-colour problem

It is stated in many places that the first published reference to the four-colour problem (aka the four-color problem) was an anonymous article in The Athenæum of April 14, 1860, attributed to de ...
38
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5answers
4k views

Which graphs are Cayley graphs?

Every group presentation determines the corresponding Cayley graph, which has a node for each group element, and arrows labeled with the generators to get from one group element to another. My main ...
36
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8answers
4k views

What is a continuous path?

I would like some help, because I am getting mad trying to answer the following Question: Let $X$ be a topological space, what is a continuous path in $X$? Well, maybe you're getting nervous ...
36
votes
1answer
2k views

Why are there 1024 Hamiltonian cycles on an icosahedron?

Fix one edge $e$ of the graph (1-skeleton) of an icosahedron. By a computer search, I found that there are 1024 Hamiltonian cycles that include $e$. [But see edit below re directed vs. undirected!] ...
36
votes
3answers
5k views

Do there exist chess positions that require exponentially many moves to reach?

By "chess" here I mean chess played on an $n\times n$ board with an unbounded number of (non-king) pieces. Some care is needed if you want to generalize some of the subtler rules of chess to an ...
35
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4answers
3k views

Connectivity of the Erdős–Rényi random graph

It is well-known that if $\omega=\omega(n)$ is any function such that $\omega \to \infty$ as $n \to \infty$, and if $p \ge (\log{n}+\omega) / n$ then the Erdős–Rényi random graph $G(n,p)$ is ...
29
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20answers
3k views

Generalizations of Planar Graphs

This is a follow up to Harrison's question: why planar graphs are so exceptional. I would like to ask about (and collect answers to) various notions, in graph theory and beyond graph theory (topology; ...
29
votes
1answer
1k views

What is the sandpile torsor?

Let G be a finite undirected connected graph. A divisor on G is an element of the free abelian group Div(G) on the vertices of G (or an integer-valued function on the vertices.) Summing over all ...
28
votes
4answers
731 views

Graph containing all trees?

Consider graphs on $n$ nodes. I am trying to find a graph $G$ that contains all $n$-node trees as sub-graphs but contains as few edges as possible. The complete graph $K_n$ suffices, but can we get ...
28
votes
1answer
3k views

An edge partitioning problem on cubic graphs

Hello everyone, I already asked this question on the TCS Stack Exchange, but it has not been resolved yet. Maybe readers of this forum will have other ideas or information, although I suspect that ...
27
votes
3answers
2k views

How much linear algebra can be done with graphs?

Let G be a finite directed acyclic graph, with sources $A=\{a_1,\ldots,a_n\}$ and sinks $B=\{b_1,\ldots,b_n\}$, with edge weights $w_{ij}$. The weight of a directed path P is the product of weights of ...
27
votes
0answers
777 views

Does every triangle-free graph with maximum degree at most 6 have a 5-colouring?

A very specific case of Reed's Conjecture Reed's $\omega$,$\Delta$, $\chi$ conjecture proposes that every graph has $\chi \leq \lceil \tfrac 12(\Delta+1+\omega)\rceil$. Here $\chi$ is the chromatic ...
26
votes
3answers
4k views

Why are planar graphs so exceptional?

As compared to classes of graphs embeddable in other surfaces. Some ways in which they're exceptional: Mac Lane's and Whitney's criteria are algebraic characterizations of planar graphs. (Well, ...
26
votes
1answer
1k views

Does this knot invariant distinguish trefoil chiralities?

Let $C_N$ denote the labelled configuration of $N^{th}$ roots of unity with $p_J = e^{\frac{2\pi iJ}{N}}$ for $J = 1\ldots N$. As a corollary of something else I was playing around with, I recently ...
26
votes
5answers
1k views

Does every bipartite graph with 512 edges have an induced subgraph with 256 edges?

Suppose we have a (simple) bipartite graph with $2^k$ edges. Is it true that there is a subset of the vertices such that their induced subgraph has exactly $2^{k-1}$ edges? I know that the answer is ...
25
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4answers
2k views

Why is “P vs. NP” necessarily relevant?

I want to start out by giving two examples: 1) Graham's problem is to decide whether a given edge-coloring (with two colors) of the complete graph on vertices $\lbrace-1,+1\rbrace^n$ contains a ...
24
votes
4answers
3k views

Algebraic Proof of 4-Colour Theorem?

4-Colour Theorem. Every planar graph is 4-colourable. This theorem of course has a well-known history. It was first proven by Appel and Haken in 1976, but their proof was met with skepticism ...
23
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9answers
2k views

Is the empty graph a tree?

This is a boring, technical question that I stumbled upon while making a contribution to Sage. I would still like to hear a constructive answer so hopefully the question does not get closed. The ...
23
votes
9answers
2k views

How many groups of size at most n are there? What is the asymptotic growth rate? And what of rings, fields, graphs, partial orders, etc.?

Question. How many (isomorphism types of) finite groups of size at most n are there? What is the asymptotic growth rate? And the same question for rings, fields, graphs, partial orders, etc. ...
23
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4answers
2k views

Adjacency matrices of graphs

Motivated by the apparent lack of possible classification of integer matrices up to conjugation (see here) and by a question about possible complete graph invariants (see here), let me ask the ...
23
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3answers
3k views

Bringing Number and Graph Theory Together: A Conjecture on Prime Numbers

Some MOers have been skeptic whether something like natural number graphs can be defined coherently such that every finite graph is isomorphic to such a graph. (See my previous questions [1], [2], ...
23
votes
1answer
810 views

Disjoint stable sets in tournaments

Let $(V,A)$ be a tournament. A subset of vertices $V'\subseteq V$ is stable if there exists no $v\in V\setminus V'$ such that $V'\cup${$v$} contains an inclusion-maximal transitive subtournament with ...
22
votes
15answers
6k views

Linear Algebra Proofs in Combinatorics?

Simple linear algebra methods are a surprisingly powerful tool to prove combinatorial results. Some examples of combinatorial theorems with linear algebra proofs are the (weak) perfect graph theorem, ...
22
votes
18answers
5k views

Interesting and Accessible Topics in Graph Theory

This summer, I will be teaching an introductory course in graph theory to talented high school seniors. The intent of the course is not to establish proficiency in graph theory, per se. Rather, I hope ...
22
votes
3answers
1k views

Some models for random graphs that I am curious about

G(n,p) We are familiar with the standard notion of random graphs where you fixed the number n of vertices and choose every edge to belong to the graph with probability 1/2 (or p) independently. This ...
22
votes
2answers
1k views

Does this poset have a unique minimal element?

Recently I have been thinking about the following poset: the underlying set is $\mathcal{AFT}$ consisting of all (finite) automorphism-free undirected trees (with at least one edge to exclude the ...
22
votes
2answers
2k views

Counting subgraphs of bipartite graphs

I'm not a graph theorist or computational complexity specialist, so my apologies if this question is stupid or poorly posed! Given a bipartite graph $G$ of $n$ vertices, how many induced subgraphs of ...
21
votes
3answers
1k views

Can one measure the infeasibility of four color proofs?

Terms like "impractical" and "unfeasible" are used to say the Robertson, Sanders, Seymour, and Thomas proof of the four color theorem needs computer assistance. Obviously no precise measure is ...
21
votes
4answers
837 views

A graph with few edges everywhere

Given a graph $G(V,E)$ whose edges are colored in two colors: red and blue. Suppose the following two conditions hold: for any $S\subseteq V$, there are at most $O(|S|)$ red edges in $G[S]$ for any ...
21
votes
1answer
1k views

Rock-paper-scissors…

A directed graph whose underlying undirected graph is complete is called a tournament. Let us call a (finite) directed graph balanced if every vertex has as many incoming as outgoing edges. The ...
20
votes
12answers
3k views

Strengthening the Induction Hypothesis

Suppose you are trying to prove result $X$ by induction and are getting nowhere fast. One nice trick is to try to prove a stronger result $X'$ (that you don't really care about) by induction. This ...
20
votes
4answers
840 views

What relationship, if any, is there between the diameter of the Cayley graph and the average distance between group elements?

It's known that every position of Rubik's cube can be solved in 20 moves or less. That page includes a nice table of the number of positions of Rubik's cube which can be solved in k moves, for $k = ...
20
votes
3answers
622 views

Is the Rado graph a Cayley graph? If so, what is the group like? (And other questions…)

The countable random graph, also known as the Rado graph, is characterized as the unique countable graph in which every two disjoint finite sets $A$ and $B$ of vertices admit a vertex $p$ connected to ...
20
votes
1answer
1k views

Monochromatic triangles in every two-coloring of the plane?

An old problem (possibly due to Erdős and Graham?): given a triangle $T$ and a two-coloring of the plane, does there necessary exist a monochromatic congruent copy of $T$? Here "monochromatic" means ...
20
votes
1answer
711 views

A strange sum over bipartite graphs

While mucking around with some generating functions related to enumeration of regular bipartite graphs, I stumbled across the following cutie. I wonder if anyone has seen it before, and/or if anyone ...
19
votes
4answers
707 views

Hexagonal rooks

Suppose you have a triangular chessboard of size $n$, whose "squares" are ordered triples $(x,y,z)$ of nonnegative integers that add up to $n$. A rook can move to any other point that agrees with it ...
19
votes
2answers
2k views

Is there a 7-regular graph on 50 vertices with girth 5? What about 57-regular on 3250 vertices?

The following problem is homework of a sort -- but homework I can't do! The following problem is in Problem 1.F in Van Lint and Wilson: Let $G$ be a graph where every vertex has degree $d$. ...
19
votes
2answers
735 views

Erdős, Harary, Tutte's “dimension of graph”: Progress in last 48 yrs?

I just ran across this delightful paper by an amazing triumvirate: Paul Erdős, Frank Harary, and William Tutte. "On the dimension of a graph." Mathematika 12.118-122 (1965): 20. (Cambridge link) ...
19
votes
3answers
692 views

Probability that random weights on $K_n$ satisfy triangle inequality

Given $K_n$, if a random real weight between $[0, 1]$ is chosen for every edge, what is the probability that the graph satisfies the triangle inequality? How about the discrete version, where the ...
19
votes
3answers
2k views

Can assignment solve stable marriage?

This is an excellent question asked by one of my students. I imagine the answer is "no", but it doesn't strike me as easy. Recall the set up of the stable marriage problem. We have $n$ men and $n$ ...
19
votes
1answer
1k views

Who wins this two-player game based on the sandpile model?

Given a connected graph $G$, two players, Blue and Green, play the following game: initially, all vertices are unclaimed. Players alternate turns. On her turn, Blue adds a token to either an ...
18
votes
3answers
693 views

Obstructions for planar graphs on surfaces of genus g

Kurotowski's theorem tells us the complete graph $K_5$ and the bipartite graph $K_{3,3}$ are the only obstructions to a graph being planar, ie embeddable in the plane with no edge-crossings. Is ...
18
votes
12answers
2k views

Local-Global approach to graph theory

This question is inspired from (i) Theorems like the "universal friend theorem": If every two vertices in a connected graph $G$ share a unique common neighbor, then there is a vertex connected to all ...
18
votes
6answers
2k views

“The” random tree

One time I heard a talk about "the" random tree. This tree has one vertex for each natural number, and the edges are constructed probabilistically. Connect vertex $2$ to vertex $1$. Connect vertex $3$ ...
18
votes
3answers
666 views

Drawing planar graphs with integer edge lengths

It is well known that every planar graph has an embedding such that every edge is drawn as a straight line segment (Fáry's Theorem). Kemnitz and Harborth made the following stronger conjecture ...
18
votes
2answers
958 views

Graphs, K-theory and combinatorial balls: conjectures

The following conjectures from Kapranov and Saito's Hidden Stasheff polytopes in algebraic K-theory and in the space of Morse functions aren't as well-known as they aught to be, so I'd like to state ...
18
votes
0answers
803 views

Red-blue alternating paths

Suppose we have two simple graphs on the same vertex set. We will call one of them red, the other blue. Suppose that for $i=1,..,k$ we have $deg (v_i)\ge i$ in both graphs, where ...
17
votes
8answers
4k views

Why is edge-coloring less interesting than vertex-coloring?

I was wondering why there is (apparently) much more research directed towards vertex-coloring than edge-coloring? Prima facie, it seems that edge-coloring is just as "natural" a thing to investigate. ...
17
votes
3answers
1k views

Traversing the infinite square grid

Starting somewhere on an infinite square grid, is it possible to visit every square exactly once, if at move $n$, one must jump $a_n$ steps in one of the directions north,south,east or west, and mark ...
17
votes
2answers
464 views

Is there an analogue of the Erdős–Gallai theorem for simplicial complexes?

The Erdős–Gallai theorem gives a necessary and sufficient condition for a finite sequence of natural numbers to be the degree sequence of a simple graph. In particular $d_1 \ge d_2 \ge \dots \ge d_n$ ...