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Vol. 4j. No. 2. October 1~87 P ...n.led r'~Bdgi~m i

Matching Structure and the Matching Lattice
LASZU'l Loy ASZ
Department of Computer Science, Lorand University, Budapest; H-JOH8. Hun~ary* Communicated hy the Editors Received March 27, 1986

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The matching polyhedron, i.c.• the nmuL"X hull of (incidence vectors of) perfect marching» of a graph was characterized by Edmonds; this result is the key to a large part of polyhedra] cornbinatorics and is used in many combinatorial algorithms. The linear hull or perfect rna tchings was characterized by Naddef, and by Edmonds. Lovasz, and Pullcyblank. In this paper we describe the lattice generated by these vectors, i.e.• the set of an integer linear combinations of perfect matchings. 11 turns out that the Petersen graph is, in a sense, the only difficult example. Our results also imply a characterization or the linear hull or perfect matchings over fields of characteristic different from O. The main method ls a decomposition theory developed by Kotzig, lovasv, and Plummer, which breaks down every graph into a number l)f graphs called bricks with very good matching properties. The number of Petersen graphs among these bricks will turn out to be an essential parameter of the matching lattice. Some refinements of the decornposition theory are also given. Among others, we show that (he list of bricks obtained during the decomposition procedure is independent of the special choices made during the procedure. 1937 Academic Prt''j,~. lnc.
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Ir-;TR~)[) (J crtox Let G be a graph and let j( denote the set of its perfect matchings. Tutte's theorem tells us when this set is non-empty. If, however, we want to understand more of its structure, then it is quite natural to embed this set in a richer structure and consider JI as a set of 0-1 vectors indexed by the edges of G (so we identify each perfect matching with its incidence vector). Then we may form the perfect marching polytope, (he convex hull of .it, which we denote by conv(,..(i). Edmonds [4] found a description of this polytope as the solution set of a system of linear inequalities. This result
'" This paper was written while the author was visiting the Department of Operaticns Research and Indus-rial Engineering. Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, and the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute, Berkeley. Ca Research supported in part by NSF Grant R120790.

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allows us to use the techniques of linear programming. So not only does it supply a "good characterization" of the existence of a perfect matching, but it also yields, e.g. min max formulas for the maximum weight of a perfect matching if the edges are weighted. The perfect matching polytope is also related to the edge-coloration problem. Assume that G is a regular graph of degree d. Then any d-coloration of the edges of G (if it exists) means a decomposition of the vector n, which has the entry 1 for each edge, into the sum of d vectors in .It. So if G is d-edge-colorable then the vector lid is in conv(,R), Since we know a description of conv(.It) as the solution set of a system of linear inequalities, this is equivalent to saying that the vector I/d satisfies all these inequalities. So we have obtained a set of necessary conditions for d-cdgecolorability of a d-regular graph. Unfortunately, these conditions are not sufficient; e.g., the Petersen graph satisfies them. although it is not 3-edge·colorablc. Moreover, Holyer [7] proved that the 3-edge-colorability of a cubic graph is NP-complete, so we cannot even hope to extend these conditions to characterize, say, 3-cdge-colorability in a eo-NP fashion. But it is still reasonable to look for other necessary conditions which could be obtained from matching theory (of course, to prove sufficient conditions like planarity-which is equivalent to the Four Color Theorem-s-on a matching theory basis would be even more dcsirablel ]. Recall that a d-regular graph G is d-edge-colorable if and only if the vector n is a linear combination of perfect matchings with non-negative integral coefficients. The matching polytope settles the relaxation obtained by dropping here the integrality condition. If we drop, instead, the nonnegativity condition, we obtain another relaxation of the edge-coloring problem. This may be formulated as follows: consider the lattice lal("#) generated by ,It, i.e., the set of all integral linear combinations of vectors in "#' and characterize this lattice (e.g., give a polynomial-time algorithm to find a basis in it). Seymour [16] considered this lattice and characterized it for 3-regular graphs containing no Petersen graph as a minor. The main result of this paper is to characterize this lattice for a general graph> Before saying more about this, however, let us mention a natural further relaxation: dropping both the non-negativity and integrality conditions, we may ask for a description of the linear space lin(.H) generated by the incidence vectors of perfect matchings of G. A good characterization (NP n co-NP) of this linear space was given by Naddcf [14]. Edmonds et at. [5] have shown that this question can be reduced (0 the question of the matching polytope, and gave a polynomial time algorithm to compute a basis in lin( ..#) using the weighted matching algorithm as a subroutine. Another procedure to obtain lin(.H) was also described, and this is more important for us because this is the idea which can be extended to the more

THE MATCHING LATTICE

189

difficult problem of characterizing the matching lattice. This second procedure makes usc of the canonical decomposition theory for matchings, initiated by Kotzig [8] and carried further by Lovasz [9] and Lovasz and Plummer [12]; see also Lovasz and Plummer [13]. Let G be any graph with a perfect matching. If we arc interested in properties of .It. then we may clearly assume that every edge of G occurs in some perfect matching (or else it can be removed without any consequence on .It). It is then also quite natural to assume that G is connected. A connected graph in which each edge is contained in a perfect matching is called matching-covered or Y-extendable. Now If we have a matching-covered graph G, then there is a procedure which breaks G up into graphs with strong matching properties called bricks. (A graph is a hrick if it is 3-connected and deleting any two nodes of it, the remaining graph has a perfect matching.) We call this list of bricks the canonical decomposition of G. As a matter of fact, the name will only be justified in this paper, where we prove that the list of these bricks is uniquely determined by G (i.e., it does not depend on some arbitrary choices made during the decomposition procedure). Once the bricks of G are found, the dimension of linCh), and in fact lin(.it) itself. can be easily read ofT. Our approach is to show that with the only exception of the Petersen graph, the matching lattice of a brick is determined by the obvious constraints: a vector belongs to this lattice if and only if it is integral and the sum of entries corresponding to edges adjacent to a node is independent of the node. (This is not true for the Petersen graph.} Hence lat(,Jt) can be described in a rather similar fashion to lin(AIf), except that exceptions have to be made for the Petersen graphs among the bricks. One may also raise the question of describing the linear hull lin,(.41) of .If over fields F of characteristic different from O. It turns out that the results of Naddcf and Edmonds Lovasz Pulleyblank mentioned previously remain valid for every characteristic except 2 (although their original proofs made essential use of the ordered structure of the rational field). For the case of characteristic 2, it is again the Petersen graph which is a counterexample, but using the description of the matching lattice, one can determine the linear hull of perfect matchings over the 2-element field too. The organization of the paper is the following. In Section 1 we survey the brick decomposition procedure, one of the key ingredients in our proofs. We show that the result of the procedure is independent of the choices we can make during the procedure. Several other properties of bricks used in the sequel will also be proved. Section 2 describes those properties of convCit) and linC4I) which we need. We also prove some facts about perfect rnatchings in certain graphs, using these results a bout ...II.

i. there exists an edge whose removal leaves a graph which is still matchingcovered. of matchingintegral weightings]. it will suffice to prove that every matching-integral weighting of the edges of a brick different from the Petersen graph is trivial. finite graphs without loops or multiple edges. It turns out that it is more convenient to work with the dual lattice. Then we say that a set Be V(G) is called a barrier. We conclude with some remarks about the algorithmic aspects of our results. the number of its odd components. we denote by co(G) the number of its even components (components with an even number of nodes) and by ("L(G). A trivial example of matching-integral weightings is obtained if we first weight the nodes so that the total weight is 0. developed by Hetyei [6] and Lovasz and Plummer [12].e.) It will be described how a matchingintegral weighting of a matching-covered graph can be put together from such weightings of its bricks. Section 4 starts the study of the matching lattice. called ear-decomposition.190 LASZLO LA VASz In Section 3 we briefly discuss another useful decomposition procedure. Results about this procedure are used in a single. including a description of the linear hull of j/ over general fields. which is rather lengthy. 1. This says that in any brick which is large enough. and uses a double induction as well as most of the previous results. lemma. Section 5 contains the main proof. A matching in a graph is a set of edges no two of which have and endnode in common. For a graph G. This motivates the following definition. which consists of those weightings of the edges of G which add up to an integer on each perfect matching. Assume that G has a perfect matching. We call such a weighting matching-integral. This is the main lemma in the proof. It will follow that a basis for the matching lattice can be obtained in polynomial time. it is near-perfect if its edges leave exactly one node unmatched. Using the preceding. We also outline the proof of the main result. . Recall the fundamental theorem of Tutte [17] which asserts that G has a perfect matching if and only if 'L(G .Xl ~ IXI for each subset X of V(G). ln Section 6 we formulate various consequences of the main result. THE BRICK DECOMPOSITION We consider simple graphs. the description of the matching lattice (or equivalently.. A matching is perfect if its edges match up all nodes. (A general matching-covered graph will have nontrivial matching-integral weightings. and then calculate a weight for each edge by adding up the weights of its endnodes and adding any integer to the result. albeit critical. relatively easy results.

Kotzig proved that this is an equivalence relation. Assume that G is not bicritical: then it has a barrier B with more than one node. and denote it by . We call this partition of V(G) the canonical par/ilion.?. Such graphs arc called bicrit ical... It is easy to see that a graph G with a perfect matching is matching-covered if and only if no barrier spans an edge. Let G. It was first introduced by Kotzig [8]. and let H. Iftwo harriers in a matching-covered then their intersection and union are also harriers. we shall restrict our attention to matching-covered graphs..Bj = 181. We call Go the gluing bipartite graph and the graphs G1 ..y has no perfect matching. be the graph obtained from G by shrinking all the nodes of V(G) . LEMMA. every singleton is a barrier.(G .. the two equivalence classes being just the two color classes.x . its classes are singletons) if and only if G has (he property that G . H. lt follows from the results in (Lovasz [9]) that the graphs Co. Another property characterizing maximal barriers in a matching-covered graph is the following: a set Be V(G) is a maximal harrier if and only if G .V(Hi) to a single node hi. Let IBI = k . For most of this paper. A bicritieal graph is called a brick if it is 3-node-connected.THE MA TCHTNG LA TITeE 191 if e. 1. . and from the results of Lovasz [9] it follows that its equivalence classes are precisely the maximal barriers.B has lEI connected components. Observe that the canonical partition is trivial (i.Bj = o. A direct way to define it is to call two nodes x and y equivalent if the graph G . The following basic property of barriers is implicit in Lovasz and Plummer [12] and explicit in Lovasz and Plummer [13]. it is also obvious to observe that if B is a barrier then "o(G . . The canonical partition has several other definitions. Then [:1'(G) consists of two classes. We say that G is matching-covered if it is connected and every edge of it belongs to a perfect matching.. Obviously. then both of its color classes are barriers... Another quite trivial case is when the matching-covered graph G is bipartite.B. and these are all critical (a graph H is matching: critical Of simply critical if deleting any node of it. ••.(G). If G is bipartite.. graph arc not disjoint From this lemma we see that the (inclusionwisc l maximal barriers of a matching-covered graph partition the node set. . are also matching covered. C. Tn this case.e. he the components of G .0. Let G be any graph.x . the rest has a perfect matching).y has a perfect matching for any two adjacent nodes x and y.. Gk the pieces of G at barrier R Let us ignore in this list the graph Gu and also all graphs which have . Let Go denote the bipartite graph obtained from G by shrinking each V(Hi) to a single node h.

and file away all the bicritical ones.192 LASZLO LAVASZ only two nodes. Let C· be obtained from by contracting S to a single node s. THEOREM. any cut in G. Let C be a matching-covered graph. To formulate our result.S. We can go on WIth this until a list of bricks is obtained. The two graphs obtained [rom G by contracting one shore of C and the other to a single node are called the Cscoruractions of G. This clearly implies that the cut is odd and that both shores span a connected sub graph of C. Let C be a hicritical graph. and then also the choice of the 2-cutsets in the second. It is clear that each cut determines its shores up to their order. Wc denote by V(S) the set of edges in C connecting S to V(G) .) = {u.2. We can go one step further and decompose each bicritical graph into bricks as follows. We shall find the following observation very useful. It also follows that C cannot be separated by two edges or hy an edge and a node.1. The main result in this section is that nevertheless the result of the procedure is essentially uniquely determined. . to get a graph C i. The sets Sand V(G) . We call this procedure the brick decomposition of C. It is clear that if G is matching-covered and C is tight in G than both C-contractions of C are also matching-covered. A cut is a trivial cut or a star if it can be determined by a singleton set. Note that there are several arbitrary choices made during this procedure: the choice of the barriers in the first phase. 1. and let S be any non-empty proper subset of V(G). It is easy to see that C is necessarily 2-connected. Trivial tight cuts arc the star cuts.It was proved in (Lovasz and Plummer [12]) that these two graphs arc again bicritical. The lis' of bricks obtained in the brick decomposition procedure is uniquely determined up to isomorphism and The multiplicity of edges. and C. Add a line connecting u and v to C. We say that two cuts are laminar if they can be determined by disjoint sets. Repeat the procedure with the rest. A cut is called odd (even) if its sides have odd (even) cardinality. This way we end up with a list of bicriticai graphs. and C" where G'. 1.S arc called the shores of the cut. We shall prnve this theorem in a somewhat stronger form. Assume that C is not 3-connected. Then we can write C as the union of two edge-disjoint graphs C'. Let G be any graph and C. v}. have more than two nodes and V(C'. we need some preparation.S is critical and 2-connecled. Lei G be a brick and C = V(S). an odd cut in G. Then C· is a brick if and only If G . LEMMA.) n ViC. A cut is called light if every perfect matching contains exactly one edge of it. and call it the cui determined by S. (provided there was no such line before).

Another example of non-trivial tight cuts arises if G is not 3-conncctcd and can be written as G = G I U G2. Then V(Tn S) and V( Tu S) are also light cuts.4. Furthermore. Let V( T) be a tight cut in G. the result of Edmonds et al. and let M be . assume that G . The following simple property of tight cuts was proved by Edmonds et al. a 2-element separating set in G' containing s would correspond to a l-element separating set in G . and W he its color classes. as can again be seen by a simple computation. I If B is a barrier and H is any connected component of G . 1. v}. where G. Similarly. LeI T and 5 he sets oj nodes of a matching-covered graph G sucl: that 'V(T) and VIS) are tight cuts and ITn 51 is odd.B then a simple computation shows that the cut V( V(H)) is tight. LEMMA. A matchlng-covered graph has and only if it is either a brick or a brace. Then G' is 3-connected. For. [5]. [5].5 whose removal does not leave a perfect matching.3. LEMMA. We call these cuts 2-separation cuts. Let G be a bipartite graph with color classes V and W. a non-trivial barrier is G' containing s would contain a node of G .u) as well as V( V( G I) . The necessity of the condition is obvious.S 10 5-T It was proved by Edmonds 1'1 al.S. Such cuts will be called barrier CUiS. 1. and V(G. IVI = I WI· We say that G is a brace if each subset Xc: V with 0 < IXI < IUI-l has at leasr Lr] +2 neighbors in W It follows easily from the Marriage Theorem that every brace is matching-covered (m fact. if a graph has any non-trivial tight cut then it has either a non-trivial barrier cut or a 2-separation cut There is another kind of matching-covered graph having no non-trivial tight cuts. it would be enough to stipulate that every subset Xc U with 0 < IXI < IVI has at least IXI + I neighbors in Wi.THE MATCHING LATTICE 193 Proof.5 is a 2-connected critical graph. has an even number of nodes (and more than 2). Proof brick or a this is just let Vand non-trivial light cuts rIO if Let G be the graph in question. and that the property is also equivalent to the following: deleting any two nodes from each color class. Assume that G is a brace. Conversely.v) are tight cuts. while one not containing s would also remain a barrier in G. we show that if G is a brace then it has ao non-trivial tight cuL For the case of bricks. no edge connects T . Then V( V( G I) . [5] that a brick has no non-trivial tight cuts. while one not containing s would also separate G. First. the remaining bipartite graph has a perfect matching. It is also obvious that we could interchange the roles of V and W in this definition. In other words.)n V(G2)= {fl.

if C' is a tight cut in G which is laminar with C. since then these two nodes would form a non-trivial barrier. So finally we end up with a list of bricks and braces. So G is bipartite and B is one of its color classes. is determined by a set T:c: S. hence IT" VI. This is a contradiction. if we have any maximal family :F of dis- . We call this procedure a tight cur decomposition procedure and the list of bricks and braces obtained. assume that G is bicritical. this is only possible if no edge of G connects V n T to T . then it has a non-trivial barrier B. and G1 be the two C-contractions of C.. If C.W.B is not a singleton. But then the set Tn V has only IT" VI + 1 neighbors in W. it cannot contain any edge joining Tn V to T . then C' can be written as V(T) (TS S). Let C' be a tight cut in G.I.B has no even components. So G is a brick. Conversely. and G . Assume that G is not a brace.194 LASZLO LA V ASz any perfect matching in G. and G2 are also matchingcovered. Since V(T) is not a star. If any of the (odd) connected components of G . then B has a subset X with 0< IXI< IBI-I which is connected to at most IXI + 1 nodes in V(G). Second. it cannot be separated by two nodes into two even pieces. Since C is matching covered.ll. Now assume that G is a matching-covered graph in which every tight cut is trivial. We show that it is also 3-connected. It is also straightforward to see that this cut must be tight in G. which yields a non-trivial tight cut. But it cannot be separated by two nodes into two odd pieces either. and so by the tightness of V( T). Clearly every perfect matching in G must contain an edge joining Tn W to V . we have 0 < ITn VI < lUI-I. then the same set T determines a tight cut in G. then the edges connecting it to B form a nontrivial tight cut..IT" WI= ± 1 Assume that IT" VI = ITn WI.B. which is impossible. and/or G2 has a non-trivial tight cut then we repeat this procedure. and G2 along a tight cut C=V(S)(Ss V(C. Since G has no 2~separation cut. But then B . Conversely. the result of this procedure. G. then G is a brick or brace and we stop).X forms a non-trivial barrier in G whose removal leaves at least one non-singleton component. and they must form an (inclusionwise) maximal family with these properties. Since G is matching-covered. I > This lemma suggests the following decomposition procedure: Given a matching-covered graph G. assume that G is not bicritical. B cannot span any edge. First. say.W. Let G be a matching-covered graph and let us break it into two graphs G.T. which contradicts the assumption that C is a brace. As remarked before. Hence all cuts used in a tight cut decomposition procedure correspond to distinct mutually laminar non-trivial tight cuts in the original graph G. Let G. Then T determines a cut in G which is laminar with C. Then M matches all but one of the nodes in T with each other. look for a non-trivial tight cut C (if every tight cut is trivial. and.

Let G be a graph and y.'F and . So the following result contains Theorem l.:F' be the two corresponding families of tight cuts. The bricks and braces may be also viewed as follows. by selecting special barrier cuts first and 2-separation cuts when no non-trivial barriers can be found any more. in both cases... . and one of G. Let YP' mutually laminar non-trivial tight cuts containing C I. Then by case and . and let T2.. So we have a tight cut decomposition procedure. T.~.'7" have a common member C. be the (inclusionwise l maximal sets of nodes disjoint [rom T.. and G. In fact. and so both decompositions produce the union of the result of a tight cut decomposition of G. THEOREM..'F". Then obviously T. 1. Case l. It is also clear that the resulting list of bricks and braces is independent of the order in which the cuts are used. this proves the assertion.. Then we can start both .l. It is clear that the list of bricks obtained in the brick decomposition procedure is just the list of bricks in the result of the corresponding tight cut decomposition procedure. every brick decomposition procedure may be viewed as a special case of the tight cut decomposition procedure. The result of any Iwo tight cut decomposition the same graph is the same list oj bricks and braces. only. and G.'F is a maximal laminar family of tight cuts then the . Let US consider any two tight cut decomposition procedures and let . ..THE MATCHING LATTICE 195 tinct mutually laminar non-trivial tight odd cuts in G.) E Y. the decomposition procedures associated with . we obtain an Y-contraction of G.~ procedures associated with %' and . then we can use them in arbitrary order to break up the graph G into 1%1 matchingcovered graphs.~ and 9'"' with breaking along this cut C. are also mutually disjoint.5. such that 'V(T. It is clear that G has 19'"1 §'-contractions. Let T. Case 2.'F -contractions of G are just its bricks and braces. So a tight cut decomposition procedure corresponds to a maximal family of mutually laminar non-trivial tight cuts and vice versa. ] and . be any set of nodes such that 'V(T.~". There is much more freedom in a tight cut decomposition procedure than in a brick decomposition procedure. There arc be any maximal set of and C. Now if . This results in the same two graphs G.!f Proof We use induction on 1 V(G)I. as well as the cuts C E. a laminar family of cuts in G. procedures .~' which are laminar. If we contract each of them to a single node. T. and these graphs do not have non-trivial tight cuts by the maximality of %.)E.'7 and C E . Since by the induction hypothesis these lists depend on G. . end up with .

(I) It follows that the numbers of bricks and braces are invariants of matching-covered graphs. To complete the proof. Then Lemma 1. lt would be interesting to find a similar direct combinatorial or linear algebraic meaning of the number of braces.T to 1" .F" result in the same lis! of bricks and braces. which is clearly non-trivial. Then C is laminar with C.3. by Lemma 1. If Co is laminar with C then we are again finished by case 2. Choose shores T of C and 1" of C' such that IT n 1"1 is odd (this is clearly possible). so assume that TnT'={u} for some node u. by relating the number of bricks to the dimension of the matching polytope (cf.S) n TI is odd..SI '" 1. no edge connects T . and similarly for !F and .'iF'. this was proved by Edmonds ("I al. so assume that this does not happen.1" = {v} for some node v. So assume that. g. If they are laminar. If . So assume that V( C) . and so we may assume without loss of generality that S n T= 0. Hence C and C' are two 2-scparation cuts defined hy the same separating pair of nodes.sz the same lists of bricks and braces. then we are done by case 3. contains another cut Co = VIS). Section 2). and we are done. Hence ff and JF end up with the same lists. If V(G)-T-T' is not a singleton.F".T. consider any C E J and C' E . so assume that they are not laminar.T .3 shows that C" = V( TnT') is also a tight cut. we are done by case 2. But then we are finished by case 3 since I (V(C) . This proves the assertion. If TnT' is not a singleton. c. [5]. A similar result proved by Naddef [14] for sets of mutually laminar non-trivial tight which "break" the graph into non-bipartite pieces (cf. Hence trivially I(V(G) . (2) It also follows that every maximal set of mutually laminar trivial tight cuts in a matching-covered graph has the same cardinality less than the total number of bricks and braces).S) n 1"1 = IT . Now the pair {u. non(one was cuts .g. I Remarks. Then S is not a subset of 1" and hence we must have rES and so IS n (V(G) . then again we can apply case 3 by replacing T and 1" by their complements. Then Co is laminar with C. and hence the decompositions associated with Y and . There are cuts C = V( T) E ff and C' = V( T') E .'7 = {C) and J' = {C} then it is obvious that breaking G along C and along C' results in isomorphic graphs (after deleting multiple edges).T'll = 1. Section 2).196 LASZL() LA V A. Let J" be a maximal family of mutually laminar non-trivial tight cuts containing C". For bricks. as IT n C"i'e. more exactly. Case 3. v) separates the graph.F' such that I'I is odd and at least 3.

(There is a companion result. E). ( G) denote the set of incidence vectors of perfect matchings in K the graph G. A fundamental result of Edmonds [4] describes the perfect matching polytope as the solution set of a system of linear inequalities: 2. for every odd cut C x(C). For each subset AcE.) Hence it follows that all maximal laminar families of tight cuts with the odd cycle property have the same cardinality. Then he proves that the incidence vectors of a laminar family of tight cuts. Let us say that a laminar family jj' of cuts has the odd cycle property if every :F -contraction is non-bipartite. Naddef [14] used this fact to give a good characterization of the dimension of the perfect matching polytope. THEOREM. span the space generated by the incidence vectors of all tight cuts if and only if every . by describing which systems of tight cuts correspond to linearly independent constraints. containing all stars. This is called the perfect matching polytope of the graph G.4l(G)). that the incidence vectors of a laminar family of tight cuts. THF. and so the dimension of the perfect matching polytope of a .<1 Note that this result also underlines the significance of tight cuts: they arc precisely those cuts for which the corresponding inequality in (iii) is satisfied by equality for ali vectors in the perfect matching polytope. containing all stars. We are interested in various algebraic and arithmetic properties of this set . easily derivable from the theorems discussed below.THE MATCHING LATTICE 197 2. A Let jl = •. We shall also use the notation x(A)=x'XA= I ('I:: x. since deleting those edges which do nol occur in perfect matchings does not change the set uK. PERFECT MATCHING POLYTOPE Consider the linear space R'" formed by vectors indexed by the edges of the graph G = (V. and is denoted by conv(... I for every node u. The perfect matching polytope of a graph solution set of the following system of lineal inequalities: (i) (ii) (iii) x.dl x(V(v))= Gil' the for every edge e. are linearly independent if and only if the family has the odd cycle property. One of the first algebraic objects associated with matchings was the convex hull of these vectors..1. we denote by XA E R" its incidence vector. Note that we may assume that our graph is matching-covered. So each tight cut yields a hyperplane containing the perfect matching polytope..K) = conv(..7-contraction has at most ·one brick.K of vectors.

This fact. implies the following 2. COROLLARY. In particular.1 be any vector on the nodes of G.4. then w is trivially matching-orthogonal. This is follows from the result mentioned no tight cuts. The dimension of lin( .3.tt) for bricks: In particular.'? ?:<.c~ where . Let us formulate one more conseq uence of these considerations. v E V. together description of lin(. Then <p induces a vector w on the edges by w(Ul') = <p(a) + <p(v).1.#) is m . It''' 2. where . We cal1 vectors arising this way nodeinduced. COROLLARY.x(V'(u)) =0 for all u. Let <p E R'"I(.'l. is matching-orthogonal can be written in the form W= if and only If it L CE. is m . which in the previous section that bricks have with Theorem 2.n + 2 . Let G be a matching-covered graph and RP We say that w is a mal chingorthogonal vector if w( M) = 0 for each perfect matching M..«) is given by the set of linear x(V'(r)) . A trivial example of matching-orthogonal vectors can be obtained as follows. Now if <p( V(G)) (the sum of entries of rp) is 0. The dimension of the perfect graph G with n nodes. [5].\1" is any maximal laminar family of tight cuts with the odd cycle property.r.198 LAsZLOLAVAsz matching-covered graph with n nodes and m edges is m -1.\1" is any maximal laminar family of light cars with the odd cycle property and the IX'S are arbitrary real coefficients whose sum is 0.. COROLLARY.5. Another characterization of this dimension was given by Edmonds et al. which also provides us with a polynomial time algorithm to compute this number. 2. THEOREM. the dimension of Iin(AI) in fact the main step in the proof.#) denote the linear space generated by incidence vectors of perfect matchings. . if G is a brick then only trivial cuts have to be considered. matching-covered m-n+ I-r.\1"1.n + 1 if G is a brick. A vector WE RJ. Let linC. Then 2. m matching polytope of a edges and r bricks is An equivalent way to put this is the following. equations If G is a brick then lin(..2. But matching-orthogonal vectors can in fact he characterized by the following result.

the result is true with just a single ear (Brualdi and Gibson [2]). The following theorem was proved by Lovasz and Plummer [12].1 can . THEOREM. Then G has a matching-cooered subgraph G' such that G is the union ol G' and one or two node-disjoint odd ears of G'.DECOMPOSITION PROCEDURE Let G be a graph and G'. An ear is called odd if it has an odd number of edges. Let G be a non-bipartite matching-covered graph.. arises from Gi_1 by attaching two ears. two ears may be necessary. but without the restriction on the number of ears attached.e. We call such a chain an ear-decomposition of G. If the graph G' in Theorem 3. Several properties of ear-decompositions have been studied (see Lovasz and Plummer [12]). I by attaching one or two node-disjoint odd ears. 3. an edge of G which connects two nodes of G' but does not belong to G' is also considered an ear). a subgraph of G. Theorem be sharpened. was proved earlier by Hetyei [6]. LEMMA. Then G has an ear-decomposition in which either the third graph is an odd subdivision of K. For matching-covered bipartite graphs. A path Pin G is called an ear of G' if the endnodes of P belong to G' but the internal nodes do not (in particular.ARY. 3. Let G be a matching-covered graph with more than lWo nodes.1 is not a single edge. graphs 2. we shall need the following [Lovasz [10]).2. or the [ourth graph is an odd subdivision of C6• The aim of this section is to show that for most bricks. 3.1. THE EAR. The complete 4-graph K. A similar result. if G. then we may continue the procedure and obtain eventually a chain of subgraphs where each G. and the triangular prism C6 (the complement of the 6-cyclc) show that for a general matching-covered graph. We shall assume that the ear-decompositions are as "fine" as possible.THE MATCHING LATTICE 199 {Brualdi and Gibson An analogous result is also true for bipartite [1] and we formulate them together. Then every matching-orthogonal vector is node-induced. arises from G. i. Of these. COROLl. then attaching just one of these cars would not result in a matching-covered graph. 3. Let G he a matching-covered graph with at most one brick.6.

sno LA V ASZ 3. Let G be a brick and G" c ..4.e ..f is connected. £. So by Corollary 3. This proves the theorem. So by Lemma 3.5.. = G.I Proof The condition is equivalent (0 saying (hat the vector /' . The ears (one or two) attached at the last step must be single edges.f is bipartite. I Proof of Theorem 3. if G had a perfect matching M containing c but not f then G .f is bipartite and <' and f are spanned by different color classes of G .c . In this latter case. f EO E.5. G .6. Ill' =I. liVE Since trivially G .I would be matching.e . and C6• Then G has an edge e such thai G . B). Assume that each perfect matching (if G contains none or both of e and I Then G . = ~for to E A and i. because every node of G has degree at least 3. is bipartite or G arises from Proof. (v E V) such that if if if UF=e. the last proper subgraph in the ear-decomposition is not bipartite. I 3.(e. Hence by Corollary 2. = . So if the brick is different from these two. we prove a lemma.e ." C G.j for v E B.f to get G. _I any ear-decomposition of G. COROLLARV. Ie G.4. LEMMA. each brick has an car-decomposition in which the first non-bipartite graph is an even subdivision of K4 or Co. clearly e must be spanned by A and I must be spanned by B.200 U.. Lei G be a brick and e. which contradicts the assumption that it cannot be refined. By Lemma 3. THHlREM. the last step in the ear-decomposition is the addition of a single edge e..f). This implies that no perfect matching of G can contain exactly one of e and I: for.e is matching-covered. 3.e .2.3. = 0 for all nodes v (which is dearly impossible). covered and so it could be inserted in the ear-decomposition sequence. or else G -e-/ is bipartite with bipartition {A. there are rea! numbers . I .3. First."/ is matching-orthogonal. Lei G be a brick different from K. Assume that two ears e and I are attached to Gk_ 1 = G . Then either G k G k I hy adding a single edge. and A. this implies that either i..

with r. Since G is connected..' V" "2 lour nodes of" '" with u. Then the conditions imply that every perfect matching in G' which contains an edge from C] also contains an edge of D. A.7. and SO it cannot be 2-conncclcd unless two of the components are singletons.6. Then G is bipartite. this implies by Corollary 2.=V(U. it has a subset Xc V(G) such that (". LEMMA. This gives the structure described in the theorem. LEMMA. we must have el( G . I Ll'I G he a connected graph ami u l e U.U1 .1. LeI G he a connected graph and u.6 that there are real numbers A" (We V(G')) such that XC.2). and v. and let C. Since G is connected. then we get a brick G'. Hence the equation x(C. I 3. =0.U2 nor G . The first lemma is a restatement of Exercise 3. (Di) denote the image of these sets in G'. with U2 and". u" V" v.(G-X» IXI. one and have a common neighbor. (and hence none of D I)' and vice versa. and assume that hy identifying some pair of nodes of G we obtain a critical graph.. LEMMA.~umethai neither G . 3.THE MATCHING LATTICE 201 We conclude this section with a few lemmas which are somewhat similar in spirit.X by at most two..11 from (Lovasz and Plummer [13] ). Then G has a perfect matching. to form u and" I with 1'2 fa form v then we Kef a brick G'.)=x(D. with 02 then we decrease the number of odd components of G . Now if we merge u.) and DiO=V(I'i) (i= 1.. WE I 1.8. Ui and Vi have degree Proof If G has no perfect matching then by Tutte's theorem. Let G he a connected graph. G such that if we idcntifv Proof Let c'. Since G' is a brick. By parity. hence X is a barrier in G' and thus IXI '" I. -""2 has a perfect matching.four nodes of G such that if we idemi/y u.x arises from a graph with at least three connected components (namely from G .) holds true whenever x is the incidence vector of a perfect matching of G'. with u.v.x-VI").:t. Assume that neither one of the two given graphs has a perfect matching.x) by merging two pairs of nodes or by merging a pair and deleting a node (if it is merged with x). the proof of one of them will also make use of Corollary 2. Then G has a perfect matching unless for some i and j.- >:"'= we: I V(G') . Then G' .6. ~'{(i'l . we must have IXI = 1. Let X = {x}.X) <> IXI + 2. and they are not merged with each other.I". these two singleton components must be connected to x. 3.

with u. I 3.) is a cutset of G' unless we have the 6-nodc graph in Fig. G . Then one of G. So we see that G is also bipartite with bipartition (U-uu{u"v. 0 for each edge xy E £(G"). Since we have ).1. say u E U).).9. with '" to get u.u. to gel a new node u.v. i.v. [at(.4t)={ L ME. connect u to nodes in u. and v.V.dl that if G is a matching-covered graph then A = A(G) denotes the set of incidence vectors of its perfect matchings and lattA) is the lattice generated by these vectors. 3. U2 and ". and we also must have v E V. and that there is a value )_such that l. But then {x" x.x + }. has a perfect matching unless G is the graph with 6 nodes in Fig. I 4. must be different. Let G be a connected graph and u" u" Vjo v. Connect u. We get a brick G'.202 LASZU'l LA V ASZ Now since G' is 3~connected.t. and V.\ if x E V. V-vu{uI.if x E U and Ax = -.(C.v. Proof Assume that the three graphs mentioned in the theorem have no perfect matchings. in G.7. . It is clear that x.U2 and G . .}}. u. Considering any edge of C" we see that "-=1 and that all edges of C. to get a graph GQ• Then Go has no perfect matching (since a perfect matching of Go would yield a perfect matching of G or of G . and then conned u and v by a new line.).K AMxM:)'MEI} FIGURE 11 .. V) (where.u. the graph G" = G' . and x. must have degree 1 and a common neighbor x. LEMMA. U D2) = G . connect v to nodes in V.v.x = ).v. four nodes of G such that if we identify u.e.. must be of degree I and must have a common neighbor X" Similarly. all edges of D..3. . . Similarly. and so by Lemma 3. it follows = that G" is bipartite with bipartition {U. is connected. MATCHING-INTEGRAL VECTORS RC(7. and '" by a new edge.

There are two trivial examples of matching-integral vectors: integral vectors and matching-orthogonal vectors.0 We say that 11\ is the fiji of 4. C. Our first result will enable us to reduce the problem to bricks. LEMMA. graph.H)}.6. is any vector on the edges of G 1 then we can define a vector lV 1 on the edges of G by \ It'I(e) 1. denote the set of edges of £(G) . an odd cut in G. . If W. For an edge (' E C. the edge of G. Hence also every vector which is the sum of an integral vector and a matching-orthogonal vector is matchingintegral..H).= {~ if eE £(C). We shall see that in fact this example is crucial for the description of matching-integral vectors in general. Since lal{. eEE. We call w a 5-cycle-v{'('(or on P. for all XElat(.C which are mapped onto edges of G. Using the fact that P is a brick. and define ". Let G be a matching-covered graph and C=V(S). Then it is easy to check that this vector is matching-integral..1. we shall also consider the dual modullat*(. it was shown in (Lovasz (11]) that this is true for all bipartite graphs. To this end. We shall show that many classes of graphs have the property that every matching-integral vector can be decomposed this way. it is easy to check that this vector is not the sum of an integral and a matching-orthogonal vector.g.. e. It'l from G 1 to G. Let P denote the Petersen graph. But some graphs have non-trivial matching-integral vectors. otherwise. Let E.THE MATCH1NG LATT1CE 203 (where I denotes the set of integers). corresponding to e. Let G1 and G. defined by lat·eft) = {YE ~": XTYE 7l. e.H) will be called matching-integral. and assume that they are matching-covered (this is certainly the case when. we denote by".) if if if <'EE" eEC. Our main aim is to describe this lattice. C is tight)..g. and hence its matchingorthogonal vectors arc described by Corollary 2. a light cuI in G and Lei G be (1 marching-covered .H) IS generated by the incidence vectors of perfect matchings. a vector is matching-integral if and only if its entries add up to an integer on each perfect matching.:·I(e)= ) wj(e. The vectors in lat*(. let C be any 5-cycle in P. be the C-contractions of G.

and G2.. for some" and if fEE. denote the subset of M .1 band c. The matching-integral vector on the lower K4-brick shown in the figure lifts to either one of the vectors shown in Figs. is the lift of a matchingintegral vector on Gj• For...l is an integer. let N. if E C f = e. be any perfect matching in G . the two Cvcontractions of G.1a has two bricks.1b and c. .) is an integer and hence so is Thus W I is matching-integral. has a unique edge f incident with the node v I.{n) v {e} u M2. For example.204 LASZL6 LAVASZ G.{e} consisting of those edges which also belong to G. the graph in Fig.. Proof. is also 4. for some e E C.. let t. COROLLARY. The corollary is valid for each fixed tight cut decomposition. v( M. Then clearly N. which can be obtained by breaking G along either C. and this is the image of some edge e E C under the contraction. + 11'. matching-integral. Every matching-integral oector on a matching-covered graph is the sum of Ii/IS of matching-integral vectors from its hricks and braces. Define if fEE" if f = e. and let M". . in G. . every perfect matching M of G intersects it in a unique edge and hence it is mapped onto a perfect matching M. We claim that w. Now (N.. A »ector is matching-iruegral on G if and only if it is the Slim of lifts of matching-integral vectors on G. and hence v(N. For each edge eE C.2. the way in which their matching-integral vectors lift depends on the actual tight cut decomposition we choose. choose any perfect matching Me containing e. To prove the "only if' part of the lemma.{f} ) v (e) v M2" is a perfect matching in G. The "if' part is easy: since C is a tight cut. and G2. be matching-integral on G. or C" as shown in Figs.4. I A similar computation shows that w. Hence the assertion follows by the construction of the lifts. Also. 4. Then trivially F= 11'. 4. Although the list of bricks and braces is uniquely determined by the graph. Remark.

~ < v. 4. Then" = w .w" is also matching-integral.1 Considering (Lovasz [11]) the bricks and braces..w' . .THE MATCHING LATTICE 205 Ie) F'G[. Considering the perfect matchings " consisting of one spoke. Trivially. e. Proof Let "1.4..) + v(eH..'. Every matching-integral vector on a bipartite graph is the sum oj a matching-orthogonal vector and an integral vector. 5 (where addition in the indices is .w."" e5 be the edges of the "outer pentagon" (in this order). let us first formulate mentioned earlier. The 5-cyde used "an be fixed in advance.. we see (hat v(e. LEMMA. 4. the result from 4. two inner edges and two outer edges.3. Let w be any matching-integral vector on P. Let w"(e) be the integer nearest to w(e)-w'(e) (rounded down if halfintegral). an integral veelor. u:' is the sum of an integral vector and a matching orthogonal vector. and possibly a 5-rycie vector.) is an integer for i = 1. LEMMA. The case of the Petersen graph has to be settled separately. Then we can find a nodeinduced matching-integral vector w' which coincides with w on all spokes and on the inner pentagon. Then every matchingintegral oector on P is the sum of a matching-orthogonal vector..: i and vie) =0 on all edges except e . Let P denote the Petersen graph.

We shall try to force the structure of G . C'_ e has two non-trivial barriers and exactly two bricks. Combining the preceding three lemmas and Corollary 4. we obtain the main result of the paper: 4. We shall return quences. say. Furthermore.5. and hence -v(e. LEMMA.e in this direction.6. main lemma I most of the will occupy 4. v(e. Then every matching-integral vector on G can he written as the sum of a matching-orthogonal vector. If. and adding edges. oj w to C . Also assume that Main Lemma 4.2. to this result in Section 6. Assume that w is not the sum of a node-induced matchingorthogonal vector and an integral vector. and hence also Theorem 4. and draw various conse- 5. The proof of the following remainder of this paper. PROOF OF THE MAIN LEMMA Throughout this section. Let G be a matching-cocered graph and fix any tight cut decomposition of G. In this case. Then every marching-integral vector on G can he written as the sum of a node-induced matching-orthogonal vector and an integral vector. We want to show that G is the Petersen graph.) < ~ then v(et) + u(e. let w be a matching-integral vector on G.) =! for all j then we have a 5-cyc1e vector and we are done.1.5. and lifts (Jf 5-cyde vectors for some oj the Petersen bricks oj C. let G be a brick and e = Vt V2. Going on. contracting the sides of an odd cut. First. an edge of G such that G . an integral rector.).6. MAIN LEMMA. The proof of this lemma will be given in the next section.) can only be an integer if it is 0. hold true for every graph having fewer nodes. we make some assertions about three operations we are going to use in our arguments: deleting the edge e. THEOREM.e is matching-covered. and we are finished again. Let G be a brick different from the Petersen graph. we find that which shows that v = 0. however. or the same number of nodes but fewer edges.e is not congruent modulo 1 to .) = v(e.206 LASZL6 LAY ASZ modulo 2). Now if ore. than C. any node-induced The restriction veclOr. 5.

But then considering any perfect matching of G containing the edge e we see that w(e)". since the above representation of w can be transformed into such a representation by using the identity h Now we have C '" I l/l:S !XV!') (mod I). Let C he all odd cut in G such that both Cscontractlons of G are mal ching-covered graphs with exactly one brick.e. which is a contradiction. LEMMA.IF n CI = 2. . that G .e then it separates VI and v2• (Else. Then considering any perfect matching of G . i..e cannot be a bipartite graph or any brick different from the Petersen graph.e. where h is integral and c is node-induced.b(P) + 0. we see that these node-weights add up to an integer.THE MATCHING LATTICE 207 Proof Assume that w is congruent modulo 1 to a node-induced weighting w' on G . Proof Let C = VIS).:. w(F) . I 5.e. whence it follows that 20: is an integer. it would be a barrier [2-element cutset] of G as well. Let C be a cut in G such that G contains two perfect matchings F and F with IF n CI . w is congruent modulo one to a node-induced vector. We shall often make use of the observation that if B is any non-trivial barrier in G . It is easy to check that it cannot be the Petersen graph either (since there is only one graph-up to isomorphism-which arises from the Petersen graph by adding a single edge). and hence w '" w" (mod 1). Then w cannOI he written as the sum of a scalar multiple of xc. LEMMA. We may assume that 0..) In particular. 20: < 1.e or a 2-clement cutset in G . which implies that 0: = 0. it does not contain VI Of "2' 5. But by our hypothesis 0. and suppose that w=o:xc +b+c. I This lemma implies. 0: < !.3.:.w(F) = 20: + b(F) . and hence w" is a matching-integral weighting of G.2. and let w" be the node-induced weighting of G induced by the same node-weights. Then G cannot have a pair of perfect matchings F and F such that ICn Fi-IC n FI = 2. w"(e) (mod I). an integral vector and a node-induced oector.. which is a contradiction. by the induction hypothesis.

Next. (G1J a btained from G by contracting S ( V( G) . Obviously. Hence one of the colorclasses of this bipartite graph is a non-trivial barrier in G. must yield a bipartite graph.(F)- w. are bipartite. w.(F) =O+~ . of .(F) = wAF) and w.\V-contractions of G. w. Assume indirectly that it does for say i = l.w'(F'.. Consider any perfect matching F in G which contains more than one edge of V(S). which is impossible.I.I" . F matches the three neighbors .1). and let F (F') be the image of F (F') in G. obviously. Let us consider any maximal family tF of laminar tight cuts in G. we show that the lift of the 5-cyc1e cannot occur. all but one of the . which is a contradiction. and this shore does not contain g" Then contracting V(G. FIGURE 5. 5. Wc may choose this 5-cycle (if it occurs) so that it docs not go through .T. in which case w. assume that a shore T of some cut V(T) was contracted to obtain the Petersen brick..208 LASZLO LAVASZ Proof.S) to a single node g I (g 2) have exactly one brick. and so it contains a perfect matching of L = Pis.T in G. so that it is also a 5-cyc1e in G.) .1'. w. Then. is the Petersen graph. whence w(F)-w(F')=~(mod I). We claim that the Petersen brick P of G I is obtained by contracting the shore S of a single cut C' E ff to a single node. Let F be obtained from F by exchanging the two perfect matchings of L.(F') == w'. So let s be the node of the Petersen brick which arises from the contraction of S. But this graph can also be obtained from G by contracting V(G) .1 .1" and .) + p(F) .p(F') (mod I). Suppose that C = V(S) is a cut such that the graph G. is congruent modulo I to a node-induced weighting on Gi• except if the unique brick of G. is congruent modulo I to the lift of a node-induced matching-orthogonal vector plus possibly a 5-cyc1e vector p of this Petersen graph.1' in P to nodes in S. and this shore S contains g2' For. 01" S2. Clearly. S3}' But L has exactly two perfect matchings (Fig. We can write w = WI + w" where Wi is the lifting of a matching-integral weighting of Gi• By the induction hypothesis.

e . a near-perfect matching of each of the components of G . Since in the proof of the last two lemmas.x .e . . which is induced by a vector rp on the nodes of Ho.4. This contradicts Lemma 5.y has the same weight modulo 1. we can replace in them the graph C by any graph G+ obtained from G by adding edges...2 further edges connecting the nodes of B .V to HJ. provided the vector w can be extended to a matchingintegral weighting of C*' We also remark that we shall choose the cut C in the applications of this lemma so that C .e at the barrier B. We shall have to construct another perfect matching F' (obviously containing e) of the graph G so that IF' ('\ CI = 3. H k:» the rest of the connected components of G . Hk• Let Ho be the gluing bipartite graph of G .y consists of the edge e. Then e"ery perfect matching Proof. is congruent modulo 1 to a node-induced matchingorthogonal weighting. + q k > where q.x . + . But then w can be written as the sum of a scalar multiple of Xc.e .x . 5.e .. Y E B.. Assume that one or the following conditions holds: (a) AI feast one connected endnode of' e is not a singleton. of a node-induced vector and of an integral vector.B (k = IBI).e is a tight cut in G . we only used the induction hypothesis on the number of nodes. ..THE MATCHING LATTICE 209 So we know that w. . Hence w(M) = w(e)'+ w'(M -e) =w(e)+qo(M-e)+'" +q.e. Note that a perfect matching with IF' ('\ Cj . oj G .8 containing v.e . Let H. obtained when we break G .e along (he barrier B.(M-e). (b) neither of the connected endnodes of' e is a singleton. 3 trivially exists since G is a brick. and H) . Let Hi be the connected component of G . . Lei B he a non-Iridal barrier of G . LEMMA.B has a connected component removal/rom this component which has a cutnode a whose leaves at least one evell piece. Here q~ is the sum of an integral vector and a matchingorthogonal vector...e. Hence we shall have a perfect matching F with IF ('\ CI = 1 trivially. and k . I Remark. be the matching-covered graph containing H. but not on the number of edges. Then clearly every perfect matching M of G ..2..B containing ofG-e-B containing no the G . is the lift of a matching-integral weighting q. We also know that the restriction w' of v to G . (c) component components of G .8.. of H. and x.e can be written as w' = q" + q.

then by parity it has at least two and so B u {a} is a barrier in G .rp(h. but (a) and (b) do not. This shows that every perfect matching of HI . e. Since G is a brick. is not a singleton.VI consists of a perfect matching of Z .g. We show that both types extend to perfect matchings of G.cp(y) . Also. and so we see at least k + 2 edges of F emerging from the sets H. e is counted twice among them. qo(M LASZLO LAVASZ is integral by the definition of qi for all s ct c): . Notc that HI .ViZ)) (such a perfect matching exists since G is a brick). this will show that the w-weight of these matchings must be independent of how they are chosen.ViZ) . which is impossible as G .210 Now here q.>(h. . we observe that qi(M-e}=w(E(H.e whose removal produces an even component. On the other hand. since if it does. A straightforward counting argument shows that this perfect matching of G must contain a perfect matching of Z.a has an even component Z. .a.e connecting a to a node in Z and any perfect matching of G . Assume first that (a) or (b) holds. Then we may assume that the only non-singleton component of G .e is matchingcovered.Vi' Let us show this. and so F must contain a perfect matching of H. Now assume that (c) holds. As before. This implies that equality must hold throughout. is the node of Ho corresponding to Hi (i=' 1. in particular that exactly one edge of F enters HI' But then this edge must be e. 2.).(M-e) Furthermore.VI' the value w(F) remains an integer. must have the same w-value modulo I. and hence G has a perfect matching F which contains more than one edge from V(HJ By parity. This clearly will contain a perfect matching of HI . Note that the right-hand side value is independent of the choice of M.a cannot have any odd components. Then there is an index j different from I such that H.lnM) for i= I. Consider any edge of G ..PI U (a} and one of HI .).q.a.a are even and so we may assume that v. . it suffices to prove that wiN. at least one edge of F leaves every other Hi.ViZ) . So it follows that all connected components of H.l'I' Now if we replace this part of F by any other perfect matching of H. . V(Hi) is not a tight cut in G. of Hi .) is the same value modulo I for each perfect matching N. Finally.. where h.B is H" and that a is a cutnode of H I such that H. . F must contain at least 3 edges from V(H.Vi' So to show that w(M) is independent of the choice of M. E V(Z).v. and the remainder have to enter B.) . every perfect matching of HI .) . Obviously. I . This completes the proof of the lemma. and here E(HJnM=Ni is a perfect matching of H. for i= 1.e) == -rp(x) . Obviously. 2). consider any perfect matching of G which contains more than one edge from V( V(H.e .e containing this edge.

then we can extend the vector w to f to get a matching-integral weighting of C + f Obviously. which docs not contain either of the end nodes of e. the number of these is. We show that J is a brick.5.ViZ) to a single node z and s.) to a single node is bicritical.e . observe that at most one edge of F is adjacent to a. we take Z = H). we can carry this out for every pair of nodes in B independently. 5. singleton of e.x . and hence all but at most one edge of F leaving Z must connect Z to B. since C* is a brick. We now begin to show that G . let x and y be any two nodes of J. We show that by extending B to a maximal barrier by adding nodes from the connected components of G . = H .e (or from G. since G is matching-covered).x .B. i. where B is a barrier as in the lemma.V(H. clearly. and let Z be an endblock.B contains one of the endnodes Proof. the component H.X from C splits G into IXl + 1 = I V(H. assume that adding a set Xc V(H. and the resulting weighting w* will be matching-integral for the graph G* obtained from G by connecting all pairs of nodes in B. Then G* .). By the preceding lemma.y is connected and contains a perfect matching F.y is also connected. or equivalently from G*) by contracting V(C) .e. every 2-element cutset of H must contain the image b of V( G) . is split into singletons.e. a block having at most one node a in common with the remainder of H (if H is 2-connected. To show that it also has a perfect matching.e . Let J and L be obtained from G' by contracting ViZ) and V(G) . Furthermore.THE MATCHING LATTICE 211 Another way to state the assertion of the lemma is that if we connect two nodes x. we can fill in all the edges between nodes of B.)I odd components. H..e . For. cannot be split into singletons. For.B has a non-singleton component H. Assume that G . or else it would also be a 2-element sutset in G. No edge connects two nodes of X or X to B (as the barrier B v X cannot span an edge. Lei B he a non-trivial harrier in G . Assume first that they are both different from the image z of Z. It follows from the maximality of B that the graph H obtained from G . LEMMA. This is dear for L. Consider the blocks (2-connected components) of H.b. This is a contradiction since G is a brick. Let us delete . y E B by a new edge f. respectively. and hence deleting V(H.V(H. and obtain a brick G* and an extension w' of w which is matching-integral on G*. Then every nonconnected component of G .e has the same structure as the graph obtained from the Petersen graph by deleting any edge.) to B (and possibly some other nodes from the other components). We claim that both graphs Land J are bricks. It is also dear that C· is a brick. IXI + l.). But then trivially J .

of G . We know that we can write where w. Then + W.) for i= I.~" (i = 0. is the lift of a matching-integral weighting of L.).5 that all the other components are singletons. I 5. (g. and different from the Petersen graph. The image of the remaining matching is a matching in J . Let Jo be obtained from G* by contracting both Hj and H.y. Lei B he a non-trivial harrier in G.E V(G). In formulas this means that there are real numbers .V(HdV(H}l if i=O) Pi (1= I. The proof is similar to the proof of Lemma 55.V(H.x . VIO V(G)V(H.) arise from G* by contracting V(H. 2) and w" is a matching-integral weighting of Jo. Then at least one of the two connected components of" G . The case when one of x and y is the node z can be settled similarly. Let B be a non-trivial harrier in G. It follows just like in the previous proof (a little simpler in fact) that the graphs J.B containing the two endnodes of e is a singleton. are bricks. this can easily be extended to a perfect matching in J . Let J.e . Proof Assume that the two connected components HI and H. LEMMA. 2) and" (/= 1.) (V(G) . But since B induces a complete graph.e . (i = I.B which contain the endnodes of " are non-singletons. WI) is congruent modulo 1 to the lift of a node-induced matching-orthogonal vector on Jo. since the pair of perfect matchings needed there is trivial to find.y which covers all nodes except possibly some nodes in B.e .212 LASZLO LA V ASz from F edges connecting Z to B until only one edge leaving Z remains. LEMMA.7. 2 and . 2 and !.» to a single node h. 2) such that "'0 for i= I.. I 5.B can have a cutnode whose removal from this component leaves at least one even piece. 1.x . but there are some points which need different treatment. is the lift of a matchingintegral weighting of J" and hence by the induction hypothesis it is congruent modulo 1 to the lift of a node-induced matching-orthogonal vector on Ji• Also. Proof The proof is analogous to the previous proof and is omitted.3. This contradicts Lemma 5. We know from Lemma 5. (L. Then no connected component of G .2.6.

But we do know that 11" is not node. since the perfect matchings F and F' needed there are trivially constructed.e is node-induced. or all neighbors of P2' In particular it follows that G has at most two non-trivial maximal barriers. Suppose that L is bicriticaL Then G . then G . Let us choose {x. Let us push the idea in the preceding lemmas one step further. and also that deleting any node from H. since if it is.y) and. all connected components of G . Then L is Proof. The next lemma will imply that there Cannot be a single maximal barrier in G . the graph J obtained from L' by adding the edge xy is also bicritical and.THE MATCHING LATTICE 213 We also have the obvious equation x:VIHJ 1+ XVIH.e .e must contains all neighbors of v.e has a single brick and hence again every matching-integral vector on it is node-induced. For. . Let L=L'uL".B except one are singletons. Since L is bicntical. I So we know that for any non-trivial barrier B. Since His 2-connected. We also know that H contains one of the endnodes of e. say. then trivially H is 2-connected. Lei B he a non-tri1'ial maximal barrier in G . in particular at least two nodes of L . x and yare distinct from g. Let us fix this notation for the sequel and also that the graph obtained from G .y} so that L' is minimal. such a barrier would have to contain all neighbors of v I.e is bipartite and so every matchingorthogonal vector on G .2. We can also observe that L cannot be a brick.ind uced. y). but this is clearly impossible as L is bicritical. This last component H cannot be a singleton. also 3-connected. Another way to say the above conclusions is that every non-trivial harrier of G . by the choice of {x. This contradicts Lemma 5. say VI.e has no other non-trivial barrier. r}. LEMMA 5. vIEV(L'). it has a cutset {x. for then G . Since L is not a brick.1::-8 XVI') - I <'EB' XV(c).e. by the previous lemmas. Combining these we see that we can write where ii=/II-i'I-{32+Y2 and q is node-induced. If we also assume that B is a maximal barrier.) = I /. we get no even component.8.e. x and yare also distinct from l'l and they separate VI from g.e by contracting V(G)V(H) to a single node g will be denoted by L. where V(L')n V(L"}={x. nol bicritical.g. Since G is 3-connectcd.

x'} and {y. in one of these graphs the node y and the edge xx' will form a cutting set But a bicritical graph cannot be cut by a node and an edge.Y'E V(L"). Proof The proof is similar to the previous proof (in fact easier). YEV(Q). to obtain a perfect matching of G' . LEMMA asserts that there must be at least one non-trivial 5.(x. and it is straightforward to check that x is not contained in any 2-element separating set either. and B' contains all neighbors of V2' Of course. y'} are cutsets of L (where x'.214 LAsZLO LA VAsz We claim that one of the nodes x and y does not oceur in any other 2-element cutset of L For.t. But now we have a contradiction by Lemma 5. Band B' are -disjoint (as any two maximal barriers of any matching-covered graph are). But then if we break L along (x. this graph is a brick. and hence X'EV(Q) and Y'EV(P).e is not bicritical. y' are distinct from x and y). x' ) must separate g from y in L and hence {x. Further.B has exactly one non-singleton component.e has exactly two maximal barriers Band B'. then by the choice of {x. (y.x. where B contains all neighbors of v. y' separates g from x on P and x' separates g from Y on P. Similarly. which contains the node V2' By the properties of . We may assume that S is contracted onto x and so the contraction results in the graph G' which could also be obtained from G by deleting all nodes in V(L') . if {x. It follows that {x.3. delete from it its edges in L. It is even easier to see that G' is bicritical: for any two nodes s and I.g .9.s . y') must separate x and x' in L. x'} must separate y and y' in L. G . We also know that G . So we may assume that the node x does not occur in any 2-element cutset of L Let S=V(L')-{y}.s . y j. x') into two bicritical graphs. Contracting V(G)-S in G we obtain a graph which arises from the brick J by adding the image of e. I So we know that G . and replace them by a perfect matching of L" . already G . only 2-element outsets containing x could occur.e . Clearly. I Our next lemma maximal barrier. But then we can consider a perfect matching of G . and so it is omitted. Let P and Q be two openly disjoint paths in L connecting g and v j' then clearly we have (if we choose the notation right) that XEV(P).I has a perfect matching unless s and I belong to the unique non-trivial maximal barrier B. We claim that contracting S in G we also obtain a brick.1. connecting x and y by a new edge if they were not adjacent to begin with. we must have that X'. So we see that G' is a brick.s . y}.e . and connecting x to VI' The fact that G' is 3-connected follows by the choice of x: since G is 3-connected.

. since any non-trivial barrier in II would either yield a non-trivial barrier in G . Consider the graph G" obtained from G . since G . 5.= i. 510 LEMMA. Moreover. since else B I U B2 would be a barrier.mality of B = B. all the remaining components must have an even number of nodes. it follows by the same argument tbat the restriction of w to G . B. Proof The graph G" can be obtained through brick decomposition along the barriers B I and B2..6.2).e is congruent modulo I to a matching-orthogonal vector which is node-induced by Corollary 2. (i= 1.B.e is the sum of an integral vector. It is clear that B2 is also a barrier in G . Since B2 must contain all neighbors of "2. = B' n V(L) is a maximal barrier in L. with no other non-trivial graphs produced. This graph is bicritical. We may assume that the 5-cycle in question does no pass through the nodes b. . We know that there must be at least one further component. then by the induction hypothesis. let Ai denote the set of these nodes.. The graph G" is not a brick. and h2. This contradicts Lemma 5. There are two cases to distinguish. contradicting the max. u Ai to a single node b .e missing the neighbours of V. If G is the Petersen graph. Let s be the combe the set of neighbors FIGUR.1 singleton components which are only connected to nodes in B. or it would yield a larger barrier in L than B. and b. and let S. in G". Let us relabel B by B I . and Ii. If G" IS a brick different from the Petersen graph. We shall investigate the connected components of G' = G .1. Each of these conclusions is a contradicuon. a node-induced vector.e is nonbipartite. and "'2.e . the restriction of IV to G .THE MATCHING LATTICE 215 maximal barriers mentioned in the introduction.B2. In G" is.2 . are adjacent nodes of G U c U 1I10n Case 1. or it would yield a larger barrier than B 1 in G ~ e. it is not a singleton. of b. We know that G' has IB. are non-adjacent neighbour of b .e. The nodes b.e by contracting each B. depending on whether or not b . and a 5-cyclc-weighting of G". and b.I.

J.uB.u{s.u {s. }. and q. E V(G") .} and M'. and B. Let M match up the nodes of A. We may assume that r.2). and b2 are adjacent in G".}. U S. Pt I" q. Let '.Pi . Using these two rnatchings.216 LASZLO LAVASZ We claim that there exists a matching in G which matches up the nodes of A. . we can find two edges n.)-{v. 5.}.3 .Zi with Pi' q. This is a contradiction. any perfect matching in G .6.Vi .}. Similarly. On the other hand we show 5. So consider a matching Q in G which matches up the nodes in A.}-{v. Now w(F) . For.R. where x to S. y} Fll~lJ. The only 2-separation be a 2-separation of G" is the pair (h" of G" different from h.w(F) == I (mod 1). ir. If Proof. By Lemma 5. Let (x. Case 2.} to a perfect matching F of G.}-{v.''} to a perfect matching F (Fig. the nodes of A.uB.).. r r" Pit" p.e B. it follows 2-separation. Then QuM extends to a unique perfect matching F of G (Fig. Now as before.{Vi' x).qi. Considering a perfect matching of G . Q u M' extends to a unique perfect matching F of G. The nodes b. # p. be any edge of G connecting B. 5. 2.3).{hi' h.t.x will trivially contain such a submatching. Z l' p. we can extend the matching e. I" q.z. and I" z .u{t"z.11. I that it must have a Since we know that G" is bicritical.Pi. which IS a contradiction again.'. (b I ' b.l. we can easily extend the matching {c.qi}. E B. Similarly.w(F) ==! (mod 1) by inspection. LEMMA.uB.E 5. we find a matching in G which matches up the nodes of AiuBi-{Vi. u B. a simple computation yields that r w(F) .

.) which matches up p. . So assume that x and yare different from b . in G".. Consider the cut C = V( A I uB.})u{x}). is a perfect matching which contains three edges of C.). which contradicts Lemma 5. of B. we can find a matching M.6.8 that both C-contractions of G are bricks..uM2uM.e and hence they must separate v. we can find a matching M. be the subgraph of G consisting of H. We know that r "" 2. is not contained in any other 2-element cutset of G". (obviously. be the . We know that in . in G which matches up the nodes in A. u H. and also those in B" and then join the resulting two nodes by an edge.uQ4U . (L. and let L.. Similarly. contains at least two nodes of B. Then F={e}uN.11 that if we identify the nodes of L.3 that there cannot exist a perfect matching in G containing exactly three edges of this cut. of B. u M. This implies that r ~ 2. say x.uN2uQ.e.y containing b.(p" qi}' Let Qi be a perfect matching of H. Then it follows by the same sort of argument as in the proof of Lemma 5.). This contradiction proves that r = 2. . which matches up the nodes of H.6 that each L. in L.uB. and one node of B. then G must be the Petersen graph.fbi' b2}. Considering a perfect matching of the graph G . by connecting a node p E B I to a node p' E B. H.. in L.THE MATCHING LATTICE 217 (say) x = hi but Y i' h. Let us choose x and y so that the component J of G" .u(V(J)-{h. It is straightforward to verify that both C-contractions of G are matching-covered and have exactly one brick in their brick-decompositions. be minimal. Let us draw an auxiliary' graph W on the set B [ U 8. we know from Lemma 5. to a perfect matching F of G just as above. and exactly two nodes P. then we obtain a contradiction with Lemma 5. and v. we obtain a brick J.v Bi. Let M. We also know from Lemma 5. Furthermore. in G .6. we get a contradiction. assume that r> 2. This implies that they must separate b. and of all edges incident with it. p' and the nodes in H. Hence we know by Lemma 5. For. connected components of G" . which matches up the nodes of H. Then it follows by the same argument as in the proof of Lemma 5. Then they form a 2-elemcnt cutset of G . and b. and at least two nodes of 82.8 that one of the nodes x and y. by a red (blue) edge iff there is a matching in L. which matches up all nodes of Hi' one node of B. (H.. in B. Now we consider the cut C=V(A. Then by Lemma 3.q" we find a matching N.3. and exactly two nodes P2 and q. vQ. So it suffices to show that if we cannot choose these two matchings disjoint. If we can choose M I and M 2 disjoint. such matchings exist). I We can finish the proof of the Main Lemma now. Let H[. and q.x . and h.. be a matching in L..P. then extending M.

Using the fact that the dual of the dual is the original.1. we formulate the characterization of the matching lattice from bricks. are blue in W. Moreover. and hence deleting A. i. then there is a red edge incident with p. from the graph G we obtain IB. are red and the edges Plq.5. to a matching with the desired property.4). in fact.e. This means (hat there are nodes p" qiE B. 6..7. This in particular implies that B.= {~i}' and so 8. it suffices to invoke Lemma 3.. and so we must have A. Then WE lat(."" {Pi' qi}' To conclude the proof. . Now it is an elementary exercise to see that W must be a 4·cyde with red and blue alternating.I odd components. and w. if p is any node in 81 incident with an edge f of LI (say).It). the set of those vectors which add up to an integer on every perfect matching of the graph. Let G be a brick different from the Petersen graph. So Ai is a barrier in G. and this perfect matching corresponds in L. THE MATCHING LATTICE Recall that lat(. In the previous two sections we determined the dual of lat( . must be K.s.It') if and only if w(V(v)) is Ike same value for each node v. which implies that J1 and J. First. glued together in such a way that G is just the Petersen graph (see Fig. the brick Ji has a perfect matching containing the "image" of f. and ql p.K) is the lattice generated by the set At of incidence veetors of perfect matchings of the graph G. I 6. we obtain the following results. 5. . THEOREM.{Pi' qi} contains no node of either one of the L.218 LASZL6 LA VASZ FIGURE 5. such that the edges PI Pl and qlq. But G is a brick. This completes the proof of the Main Lemma.4 this digraph. every red edge meets every blue edge. an integral vector on the edges of G.I-I = IA.

For general matching-covered graphs. we state a lemma which is just a restatement of Corollary 4. Now if G is an r-graph and w(e) is the same value on each edge then (a) is always satisfied: the vector (I/r. .. COROLLARY.4. using Tuite's criterion.. we construct the vector w' on the edges of G' by letting w'(e) be the sum of all entries w( f) for edges f of G mapped on e by the contraction. Combining the preceding two lemmas. we call a graph G an r-graph. in particular for all braces. then (b) is vacuous. Let US remark that (a) is equivalent to saying that wElin(.It}. MATCHING LA TnCE 219 Proof Immediate from the Main Lemma.. We call w' the image of It' under the contraction. if G is r-edge-connected). note that if G has no Petersen brick (in particular. that every connected r-graph is matching-covered. Then w is in the matching lattice of G if and only if the following Iwo conditions hold: (a) !-I'( C) is the same value for each decomposition. and hence lV.. . First. Let G he a matching-covered graph. CUi C which is a s/ar or used in the (b) for every Petersen brick resulting from the given tight cui decomposition.. . and fix any tight cui decomposition of G. and fix any light cut decomposition of G. Following Seymour [16]. LeI G be an r-grapb with no Petersen brick. LEMMA.. The" the vector (I. if G is planar). an integra/vector on the edges of G. THEOREM. the condition is a bit more complicated..2 in a dual form.TIlF. 6. Let G be " matching-covered graph. It is easy to see. I) is in the matching lattice. is in lin(.. Let G be a matching-covered graph and let G' arise from G by (he contraction of some subgraph. First.. I/r) is in the perfect matching polytope since it satisfies Edmonds' conditions. . I It follows from the results in [II] that a similar assertion holds for all bipartite graphs. lV.2. the sum ofentries corresponding 10 edges of G mapped onto this 5-cycle is even. we obtain 6. For each vector w on the edges of G. and for every 5-cycie in thai brick. I/r). an integral oector on the edges ofG. Hence we obtain 6.. w. We formulate some corollaries of this result. if G has an even number of nodes.. it is r-regular and every odd cut in G has at least r edges (in particular. Then It' is in the matching lattice of G if and only if its image on every brick and brace resulting from the decomposition is in the matching lattice of that brick or brace. a multiple of (I/r.3.It).

Consider L..'1 either an even cur Of the complement of an even (odd) cut. Of course. First we prove a lemma for bricks. For graphs with no Petersen minor and r = 3. and aSsume that I V(G)1/2 is even (odd).4 was proved by Seymour [J 6]. we show that our results on the matching lattice also settle the problem of determining the linear space generated by perfect matchings over fields of non-zero characteristic. or half-integral..220 LAsZLO LA V Asz If the graph is planar and r = 3. the assertion of Corollary 6. So arM) is even for every perfect matching M in G. Proof..5. Hence by the Main Lemma. L. The following assertion was also proved by Seymour for r = 3. c L. it would be very interesting to strengthen our results for the matching lattice to be able to say something about the non-negative integral linear combinations of perfect matchings. which is of some interest on its own. the vector (I. different from the Petersen graph. Then The vector (2. There is another [R I·:~ "'.3 implies 6.#) (")[E(G'. 6"7. Then a' = al2 is in the matching lattice.. Obviously. for suppose that . LEMMA. . COROLLARY. The factor group L I I L2 is an elementary its index is the number of Petersen bricks of" G. = lin(. 6. 2-group and Finally. To show the reverse. I) is the sum of the incidence vectors of 3 perfect matchings]. then we have a(uv)"... a' is congruent modulo I to a node-induced matching-orthogonal vector.IL. Lei G he an r-graph. is a finite abelian group. then this assertion of course follows from the Four Color Theorem (which is equivalent to the assertion that for planar 3-graphs. COROLLARY. let a be the incidence vector of X. Then every perfect matching of G meets X in an even number of edges if and only i{ X . to the matching lattice. and so a is congruent modulo 2 to a node-induced matching-orthogonal vector b.. The if part is obvious.2) belongs the two lattices in way to look at our results. and the Petersen graph shows that equality may not hold. . Now Theorem 6. hut this seems to be beyond the range of our methods. Lei G be a brick. It is also obvious that the factor group L. Let X he a set of edges in G.6. Let 'I' be the node-vector inducing b.4'(u)+<p(v) This implies that 'P is either integral (mod Z).

A) and dim. Then the number of linearly independent perfect matching» ouer F is (a) m·-n+2--h. THEOREM. we have described the orthogonal complement of the space linoFo1( . Our theorem also settles several problems raised by Naddef and Pulleyblank. then it follow. It suffices to prove the result for bricks. We give the details for the case when char(F) = 2. Hence we can use Theorem 6. or we must have T = I .(u) =! (mod I) [or all nodes. 4'. Let G be a marching-covered graph with n nodes.8. then for every adjacent node.T (mod I).THE MATCHING LATTICE 221 rp(u)=r (mod 1). I 6. and 5 in the affirmative. Now if rp(u) is an integer for all a. they showed that for a certain class of planar bicritical graphs called Halin graph" this is equal to the dimension of lin~(. m edges. It also follows that <pta) is the same value modulo I at each node. Let F be any field. similarly that X is the complement of an even cut. Theorem 6. it can be arbitrarily large even for 3-connected matching-covered graphs. I The dimension of linO>I21(.(. <p(v)= I-T (mod J). The case of the Petersen graph can be settled by inspection. This proves the theorem. therefore. the theorem can be used to answer Questions 4. Hence the residues of <p (mod I) either provide a 2-coloration of G (which is impossible). Among other results.8 implies that their result remains true for all matching-covered graphs with no Petersen bricks (in particular. On the other hand. It follows that the difference between dimoFI2)(. so assume that G is a single brick different from the Petersen graph. then let S= {UE V(G): <pta) is odd}.H).1. ij(har(F)#2. We want to show that the number of linearly independent perfect matchings over GF(2) is m . Then obviously S is even and X = ViS) is an even cut. We conclude with some remarks about the algorithmic aspects of these results. If ". ifchanFv-«).. the other case is easier.7. But in Lemma 6. m-n+2-h-p. since then [or general matching-covered graphs the formula follows by the methods of Edmonds et al. h bricks and p Petersen bricks.n + 1.. (b) Proof. A tight cut decomposition (or brick decomposition) of a graph is easy to find in polynomial time (it requires G(n) matching algorithms and O(n) 2-connected component algorithms).tI)."H) was studied by Naddef and Pulleyblank [15]. and elementary results show that the dimension of this space is n .. This disproves their Questions 1 and 2.A) is the number of Petersen bricks of the graph and. [5]. if . which implies that r is either 0 or 1.3 to check whether or not a given vector w belongs to the matching lattice. for all planar matching-covered graphs).

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