Shattering, Graph Orientations, and Connectivity
We present a connection between two seemingly disparate fields: VC-theory and graph theory. This connection yields natural correspondences between fundamental concepts in VC-theory, such as shattering and VC-dimension, and well-studied concepts of graph theory related to connectivity, combinatorial optimization, forbidden subgraphs, and others.
In one direction, we use this connection to derive results in graph theory. Our main tool is a generalization of the Sauer-Shelah Lemma (Pajor, 1985; Bollobás and Radcliffe, 1995; Dress, 1997; Holzman and Aharoni). Using this tool we obtain a series of inequalities and equalities related to properties of orientations of a graph. Some of these results appear to be new, for others we give new and simple proofs.
In the other direction, we present new illustrative examples of shattering-extremal systems - a class of set-systems in VC-theory whose understanding is considered by some authors to be incomplete Bollobás and Radcliffe, 1995; Greco, 1998; Rónyai and Mészáros, 2011). These examples are derived from properties of orientations related to distances and flows in networks.