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Graph Coloring

Ken Coiteux October 28, 2013

Intoduction

When I was younger, I used to do this thing. It was a combination of art and a game. I would draw a series of interlocking gures and then start shading in areas. The rule was to start shading one area, then shade the next area that contained an opposite angle to the rst area. I would continue this process until no more regions could be shaded. Adjoining regions could not be shaded. At the time, I did not realize I was working on any math. I thought I was just playing a game and creating some interesting art design. It was recently, when I learned about the math topic of graph coloring, that I realized that was what I was doing when I was younger. With a simple mapping, the shaded regions in Figure 1 become points and the intersection become lines. With this new re-imaging, I Figure 1: Successful coloring game can now start dening some terms in graph theory. Points are called vertices and lines connecting vertices are called edges. Two vertices are said to be adjacent when there is an edge connecting them. The set of vertices and edges in a gure is called a graph. Denition 1. A proper coloring of a graph is the assigning of colors to a graph in such a way that adjacent vertices have dierent colors. Denition 2. The minimum number of colors needed for a proper coloring of a graph is called the chromatic number of a graph.

This graph has two vertices, one edge and a chromatic number of 2. Given the two colors listed, the number of proper colorings is also 2. Why is this? Red and green can switch places, giving us two dierent ways to color the graph. Denition 3. P (G; x), the number of proper colorings of a graph G using x colors is the chromatic polynomial of G

With this graph, there are still two vertices, one edge, and a chromatic number of 2. However, the x represents the number of colors possible. The chromatic polynomial here is then x(x 1). The chromatic polynomial increases with complexity as its corresponding graph increases with complexity and will be explored later. There are some special types of graphs, which are dened below: Denition 4. A graph is said to be complete when each vertex is adjacent to each other. Denition 5. A graph is said to be circular when each vertex is connected by one edge in the following way: v1 to v2 , v2 to v3 , ..., vn1 to vn , and vn to v1 . Denition 6. A path graph is a circular graph without vn connected by an edge to v1 ..

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Chromatic polynomial

Remember that the chromatic ploynbeomial returns the number of proper colorings of a graph. Suppose v1 has x number of colors available. Then v2 will have x-1 colors available. The chromatic polynomial for 2 will be x(x 1), the number of colors available for one vertex multiplied by the number of colors for the next vertex.

Figure 2: graph with 2 vertices

This idead works when graphs have a few number of vertices. However, nding the chromatic polynomial when the number of vertices are greater than 3. Luckily, there is an algorithm for determining chromatic polynomials for increasingly more complicated graphs. Denition 7. The Birkho-Lewis Reduction Algorithm is: P (G, x) = P (G e, x) P (Ge , x) .

(a) P (G, x)

(b) P (G e, x)

(c) P (Ge , x)

Figure 3: Image of Birkho-Lewis Birkho-Lewis says to nd the chromatic polynomial of a graph, P (G, x), nd the polynomial of the graph missing an edge, P (G e, x), and subtract the polynomial of the graph with two vertices contracted, P (Ge , x). Now that we have some denitions in place, we can now examine chromatic numbers and polynomials of dierent types of graphs.

Chromatic Findings

Using SAGE, a mathematical software program, the following chromatic numbers and chromatic polynomials were derived for path graphs.

Table 1: Path Graph Vertices 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Chromatic Number 1 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 Chromatic Polynomial x x2 x x3 2 x2 + x 4 x 3 x3 + 3 x2 x 5 x 4x4 + 6x3 4x2 + x 6 5 x 5x + 10x4 10x3 + 5x2 x 7 x 6x6 + 15x5 20x4 + 15x3 6x2 + x 8 x 7x7 + 21x6 35x5 + 35x4 21x3 + 7x2 x 9 x 8x8 + 28x7 56x6 + 70x5 56x4 + 28x3 8x2 + x

Lets look at the list of chromatic polynomials in Table 1. First, notice that the order of each polynomial is the same as the number of vertices in the path graphs. This will be noticed again in other graphs and we will discuss that later. Another item (to be discussed later) to be noticed is that the second coecent is the same as the number of edges in the various path graphs. Again, with the help of SAGE, each of the chromatic polynomials for the path graphs can be factored. New patterns will emerge. Table 2: Path Graph polynomial factorization Chromatic Polynomial x x2 x x3 2 x2 + x 4 x 3x3 + 3x2 x 5 x 4x4 + 6x3 4x2 + x 6 x 5x5 + 10x4 10x3 + 5x2 x 7 x 6x6 + 15x5 20x4 + 15x3 6x2 + x 8 x 7x7 + 21x6 35x5 + 35x4 21x3 + 7x2 x 9 x 8x8 + 28x7 56x6 + 70x5 56x4 + 28x3 8x2 + x Factored x x(x 1) x(x 1)2 x(x 1)3 x(x 1)4 x(x 1)5 x(x 1)6 x(x 1)7 x(x 1)8

Conjecture 1. Given a path graph with n vertices, P (Gn , x) = x(x 1)n1 . Conjecture 2. Given a path graph with n vertices, the coeceints of P (Gn , x) coincide with the n-1 row of Pascals Triangle. Looking back at Table 1, notice that the chromatic number for path graphs having more than one vertex is 2. Remember that a chromatic number is the smallest number of colors that can be used to properly color a graph. Also remember that the chromatic polynomial yields, when given x number of colors, yields the total number of proper colorings.

Table 3: Chromatic Number for Path Graphs (n=number of vertices) Number of colors 0 1 2 3 Number of proper colorings 0(0 1)n1 = 0 1(1 1)n1 = 0 2(2 1)n1 = 2 3(3 1)n1 = (3)(2n1 )

The general form for the chromatic polynomial for path graphs was used in Table 3. As you can see, 2 is the smallest number of colors used that generates a number of colorings that is greater than 0. Theorem 1. The chromatic number of all path graphs having more than 1 vertex is two. Table 4: Complete Graph Vertices 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Chromatic Number 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Chromatic Polynomial x x(x 1) x(x 1)(x 2) x(x 1)(x 2)(x 3) x(x 1)(x 2)(x 3)(x 4) x(x 1)(x 2)(x 3)(x 4)(x 5) x(x 1)(x 2)(x 3)(x 4)(x 5)(x 6) x(x 1)(x 2)(x 3)(x 4)(x 5)(x 6)(x 7) x(x 1)(x 2)(x 3)(x 4)(x 5)(x 6)(x 7)(x 8)

Table 5: Cycle Graph Vertices 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Chromatic Number 1 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 Chromatic Polynomial x x2 x x3 3 x2 + 2 x 4 x 4x3 + 6x2 3x 5 4 x 5x + 10x3 10x2 + 4x 6 x 6x5 + 15x4 20x3 + 15x2 5x 7 x 7x6 + 21x5 35x4 + 35x3 21x2 + 6x 8 x 8x7 + 28x6 56x5 + 70x4 56x3 + 28x2 7x 9 8 x 9x + 36x7 84x6 + 126x5 126x4 + 84x3 36x2 + 8x

Two more tables are shown. Similar to Table 1, they list the number of vertices, chromatic numbers, and chromatic polynomials for complete graphs and cycle graphs. Looking at these tables, more conjectures can be made. 5

Conjecture 3. Given a complete graph with n vertices, the chromatic number is equal to the number of vertices. Conjecture 4. Given a complete graph with n vertices,
n

P (Gn , x) =
k=1

x(x 1)n1

Conjecture 5. Given a cycle graph with n > 1 vertices, the chromatic number is 2 when n is even and 3 when n is odd. Earlier, there was mention that the number of vertices in a graph is also the order of the assosciated chromatic polynomial. It was also mentioned that the second coecient of a chromatic polynomial is the number of edges in the associated graph. I will leave it to the reader to draw graphs to verify the following conjecture. Conjecture 6. Given a graph with n vertices, the second coecient of the associated chromatic polynomial identies the number of edges in the graph. Consider a graph having n vertices and one edge. By using Birkho-Lewis, that edge can be removed and it can be contracted. When the edge is removed, the number of vertices remain the same. When the edge is contracted, the number of vertices decrease by 1. Assuming the number of vertices is also the order of the chromatic polynomial, P (G e, x) = xn + and P (Ge , x) = xn1 + Subtracting the edge-contracted from the edge-removed still leaves P (G, x) = xn + The order of the polynomial remains the same. Now consider a graph with m vertices and h edges. Removing an edge leaves m vertices and h 1 edges. Contracting an edge leaves m 1 vertices and h 1 edges. P (G, x) = P (G e, x) P (Ge , x) = xm + (xm1 + ) = xm + The number of vertices remaines the same in the original graph and the order of the polynomial remained the same after Birkho-Lewis. Theorem 2. The order of a chromatic polynomial is equal to the number of vertices in the associated graph. 6

Conclusion

This is just an overview of graph coloring. We proved that the chromatic polynomial of a path graph is 2 and we proved that the degree of a polynomial is the same as the number of vertices. Several conjectures were made on tables of data that still need to be formally proved. A note of interest is the ideas discussed above assumes that there can only be one edge between two vertices. Further questions include what happens when two or more edges can connect two vertices or when an edge begins at a vertex and loops on itself to end at the same vertex.