Densities of Minor-Closed Graph Families

David Eppstein

Abstract


We define the limiting density of a minor-closed family of simple graphs $\mathcal{F}$ to be the smallest number $k$ such that every $n$-vertex graph in $\mathcal{F}$ has at most $kn(1+o(1))$ edges, and we investigate the set of numbers that can be limiting densities. This set of numbers is countable, well-ordered, and closed; its order type is at least $\omega^\omega$. It is the closure of the set of densities of density-minimal graphs, graphs for which no minor has a greater ratio of edges to vertices. By analyzing density-minimal graphs of low densities, we find all limiting densities up to the first two cluster points of the set of limiting densities, $1$ and $3/2$. For multigraphs, the only possible limiting densities are the integers and the superparticular ratios $i/(i+1)$.


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