On Rainbow Connection

  • Yair Caro
  • Arie Lev
  • Yehuda Roditty
  • Zsolt Tuza
  • Raphael Yuster


An edge-colored graph $G$ is rainbow connected if any two vertices are connected by a path whose edges have distinct colors. The rainbow connection number of a connected graph $G$, denoted $rc(G)$, is the smallest number of colors that are needed in order to make $G$ rainbow connected. In this paper we prove several non-trivial upper bounds for $rc(G)$, as well as determine sufficient conditions that guarantee $rc(G)=2$. Among our results we prove that if $G$ is a connected graph with $n$ vertices and with minimum degree $3$ then $rc(G) < 5n/6$, and if the minimum degree is $\delta$ then $rc(G) \le {\ln \delta\over\delta}n(1+o_\delta(1))$. We also determine the threshold function for a random graph to have $rc(G)=2$ and make several conjectures concerning the computational complexity of rainbow connection.

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