On the Number of Matroids Compared to the Number of Sparse Paving Matroids

  • Rudi Pendavingh
  • Jorn van der Pol
Keywords: Matroid theory, Asymptotic enumeration


It has been conjectured that sparse paving matroids will eventually predominate in any asymptotic enumeration of matroids, i.e. that $\lim_{n\rightarrow\infty} s_n/m_n = 1$, where $m_n$ denotes the number of matroids on $n$ elements, and $s_n$ the number of sparse paving matroids. In this paper, we show that $$\lim_{n\rightarrow \infty}\frac{\log s_n}{\log m_n}=1.$$ We prove this by arguing that each matroid on $n$ elements has a faithful description consisting of a stable set of a Johnson graph together with a (by comparison) vanishing amount of other information, and using that stable sets in these Johnson graphs correspond one-to-one to sparse paving matroids on $n$ elements.

As a consequence of our result, we find that for all $\beta > \displaystyle{\sqrt{\frac{\ln 2}{2}}} = 0.5887\cdots$, asymptotically almost all matroids on $n$ elements have rank in the range $n/2 \pm \beta\sqrt{n}$.

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