A New Upper Bound for Cancellative Pairs

Barnabás Janzer


A pair $(\mathcal{A},\mathcal{B})$ of families of subsets of an $n$-element set is called cancellative if whenever $A,A'\in\mathcal{A}$ and $B\in\mathcal{B}$ satisfy $A\cup B=A'\cup B$, then $A=A'$, and whenever $A\in\mathcal{A}$ and $B,B'\in\mathcal{B}$ satisfy $A\cup B=A\cup B'$, then $B=B'$. It is known that there exist cancellative pairs with $|\mathcal{A}||\mathcal{B}|$ about $2.25^n$, whereas the best known upper bound on this quantity is $2.3264^n$. In this paper we improve this upper bound to $2.2682^n$. Our result also improves the best known upper bound for Simonyi's sandglass conjecture for set systems.


Cancellative pairs; Sandglass conjecture; Binary multiplying channel

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