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Is there a theory of hypergraph minors? I could only find some attempts to define them at papers/theses, whose main topic was something else. What would be a useful definition? Does the hypergraph version of the Robertson–Seymour theorem hold?

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  • $\begingroup$ Arguably one of the baby steps of graph minor theory is the Wagner theorem on planar graphs. Already this is highly non-trivial for hypergraphs. Recent work of Carmesin has provided a finite list of forbidden minors (for some definition of minor) for the embeddability of simply-connected locally 3-connected 2-complexes in R^3, but there are infinite antichains when these hypotheses are lifted. Related notions of minor towards embedabillity have also been introduced by Nevo and Wagner $\endgroup$ – Arnaud Mar 8 at 14:47
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I think both questions of the OP are answered in: Hypertree-depth and minors in hypergraphs (2012)

Let $H$ and $H′$ be hypergraphs. Then $H$ is a minor of $H′$ if $H$ can be obtained from $H′$ by a sequence of operations of the following kinds:
• vertex deletion,
• contraction of (the edge between) two vertices that are contained in a common hyperedge,
• addition of ahyperedge $e$ such that the set $e$ induces a clique in the underlying graph, and
• deletion of a proper subhyperedge.

For graphs, a famous result by Robertson and Seymour shows that testing for a fixed minor is solvable in cubic time. In contrast, testing for a fixed hypergraph minor can be NP-hard (section 6.4).

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  • $\begingroup$ I don't think this is the Robertson-Seymour theorem OP is refering to. My guess would go towards this theorem. $\endgroup$ – Wojowu Mar 7 at 12:57
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    $\begingroup$ Yes, I've seen this paper and in fact they even provide an infinite antichain (giving a counter-example to the generalization of the Robertson-Seymour theorem). So is this paper on cops and robbers really the best (and only?) reference for hypergraph minors? More importantly, is there no other natural definition? $\endgroup$ – domotorp Mar 7 at 13:20

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