On Saturated $k$-Sperner Systems

Natasha Morrison, Jonathan A. Noel, Alex Scott


Given a set $X$, a collection $\mathcal{F}\subseteq\mathcal{P}(X)$ is said to be $k$-Sperner if it does not contain a chain of length $k+1$ under set inclusion and it is saturated if it is maximal with respect to this property. Gerbner et al. conjectured that, if $|X|$ is sufficiently large with respect to $k$, then the minimum size of a saturated $k$-Sperner system $\mathcal{F}\subseteq\mathcal{P}(X)$ is $2^{k-1}$. We disprove this conjecture by showing that there exists $\varepsilon>0$ such that for every $k$ and $|X| \geq n_0(k)$ there exists a saturated $k$-Sperner system $\mathcal{F}\subseteq\mathcal{P}(X)$ with cardinality at most $2^{(1-\varepsilon)k}$.

A collection $\mathcal{F}\subseteq \mathcal{P}(X)$ is said to be an oversaturated $k$-Sperner system if, for every $S\in\mathcal{P}(X)\setminus\mathcal{F}$, $\mathcal{F}\cup\{S\}$ contains more chains of length $k+1$ than $\mathcal{F}$. Gerbner et al. proved that, if $|X|\geq k$, then the smallest such collection contains between $2^{k/2-1}$ and $O\left(\frac{\log{k}}{k}2^k\right)$ elements. We show that if $|X|\geq k^2+k$, then the lower bound is best possible, up to a polynomial factor.


Minimum saturation; Set Systems; Sperner Systems

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