Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Deep Impact

So, on to the promised new content. I'll put up some trivia this week, too, but for now, I'm beginning a little lecture on graph theory. For those unfamiliar with the topic, one can find some basic definitions on Wikipedia, or Mathworld, or in this nice little primer.
In my final post of 2008, I defined a strongly asteroidal graph as one which contains three distinct vertices a, b, and c, such that there is a path between each pair of these vertices which
  1. contains no neighbor of the third vertex, and which
  2. does not contain two consecutive vertices adjacent to every neighbor of the third vertex.
The vertices a, b, and c are then referred to as a strongly asteroidal triple. This will often be referred to as a sAT in the later posts on this topic.

All very well and good, but why am I telling you this? In my dissertation, I showed that the class of graphs known as co-TT graphs (which are the complements of threshold tolerance graphs, defined in this paper) are precisely the graphs which are chordal and sAT-free. This is a major step towards finding the minimal forbidden subgraphs for this class. It is, therefore, of some interest to find the minimal graphs (a graph minimally satisfies a condition if the removal of any vertex leaves a graph which no longer satisfies that condition) which are both chordal and contain a sAT. There are three infinite families of minimal (chordal) strongly asteroidal graphs, plus at least 54 sporadic cases. Finding these cases is tedious, and does not lend itself well towards publishing in a journal. I want this work out there, though, so that there is actually a record of what the minimal forbidden subgraphs for this class are. So, for the next few weeks, I'll be working through the minimal strongly asteroidal graphs. There will be pictures, there will be words, there may be mistakes (which is one reason I hope people start following this). If you stick with me, you might learn something, or you might teach me something, or you might be really bored.

A rough outline of where we're going:
1. Intro (that's this post)
2. Astral and asteroidal triples
3. Suns and strongly chordal graphs
4. Constructing strongly asteroidal graphs from asteroidal graphs
a. Type A constructions
b. Type B constructions
c. Type C constructions

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