On Ternary Square-Free Circular Words

  • Arseny M. Shur


Circular words are cyclically ordered finite sequences of letters. We give a computer-free proof of the following result by Currie: square-free circular words over the ternary alphabet exist for all lengths $l$ except for 5, 7, 9, 10, 14, and 17. Our proof reveals an interesting connection between ternary square-free circular words and closed walks in the $K_{3{,}3}$ graph. In addition, our proof implies an exponential lower bound on the number of such circular words of length $l$ and allows one to list all lengths $l$ for which such a circular word is unique up to isomorphism.

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