Algebraically Grid-Like Graphs have Large Tree-Width

  • Daniel Wei├čauer


By the Grid Minor Theorem of Robertson and Seymour, every graph of sufficiently large tree-width contains a large grid as a minor. Tree-width may therefore be regarded as a measure of 'grid-likeness' of a graph.

The grid contains a long cycle on the perimeter, which is the $\mathbb{F}_2$-sum of the rectangles inside. Moreover, the grid distorts the metric of the cycle only by a factor of two. We prove that every graph that resembles the grid in this algebraic sense has large tree-width:

Let $k, p$ be integers, $\gamma$ a real number and $G$ a graph. Suppose that $G$ contains a cycle of length at least $2 \gamma p k$ which is the $\mathbb{F}_2$-sum of cycles of length at most $p$ and whose metric is distorted by a factor of at most $\gamma$. Then $G$ has tree-width at least $k$.

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