Edge-Decomposition of Graphs into Copies of a Tree with Four Edges
We study edge-decompositions of highly connected graphs into copies of a given tree. In particular we attack the following conjecture by Barát and Thomassen: for each tree $T$, there exists a natural number $k_T$ such that if $G$ is a $k_T$-edge-connected graph, and $|E(T)|$ divides $|E(G)|$, then $E(G)$ has a decomposition into copies of $T$. As one of our main results it is sufficient to prove the conjecture for bipartite graphs. The same result has been independently obtained by Carsten Thomassen (2013).
Let $Y$ be the unique tree with degree sequence $(1,1,1,2,3)$. We prove that if $G$ is a $191$-edge-connected graph of size divisible by $4$, then $G$ has a $Y$-decomposition. This is the first instance of such a theorem, in which the tree is different from a path or a star. Recently Carsten Thomassen proved a more general decomposition theorem for bistars, which yields the same result with a worse constant.