For any $k$, the class of graphs of treewidth at most $k$ can be characterized by a finite set of forbidden minors.

For treewidth $1$ and $2$, the set is of size $1$. Then for treewidth $3$, the set is of size $4$, and beyond that the size of the set grows very rapidly.

For a given $k$, is there a known upper bound on the number of vertices for the forbidden minors for treewidth at most $k$?

  • $\begingroup$ Wikipedia says "For larger values of $k$, the number of forbidden minors grows at least as quickly as the exponential of the square root of $k$.[9] However, known upper bounds on the size and number of forbidden minors are much higher than this lower bound.[10]". (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/…) Have you checked this reference? $\endgroup$ – Tom De Medts Sep 6 '16 at 9:29

Yes, an upperbound was proved in Upper Bounds on the Size of Obstructions and Intertwines by Lagergren. The paper is behind a paywall, but the relevant theorem is Theorem 5.9.

If $G$ is an obstruction for graphs of tree-width at most $k$, then $|E(G)|$ is at most doubly exponential in $O(k^5) $.

In the same paper, Lagergren also bounds the size of a forbidden minor for path-width at most $p$.

If $G$ is an obstruction for graphs of path-width at most $p$, then $|E(G)|$ is at most exponential in $O( p^4 )$.

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