Representing Graphs via Pattern Avoiding Words

  • Miles Jones
  • Sergey Kitaev
  • Artem Pyatkin
  • Jeffrey Remmel
Keywords: word-representable graphs, pattern avoidance, comparability graphs, co-interval graphs, permutation graphs, grid graphs, ladder graphs


The notion of a word-representable graph has been studied in a series of papers in the literature. A graph $G=(V,E)$ is word-representable if there exists a word $w$ over the alphabet $V$ such that letters $x$ and $y$ alternate in $w$ if and only if $xy$ is an edge in $E$. If $V =\{1, \ldots, n\}$, this is equivalent to saying that $G$ is word-representable if for all $x,y \in \{1, \ldots, n\}$, $xy \in E$ if and only if the subword $w_{\{x,y\}}$ of $w$ consisting of all occurrences of $x$ or $y$ in $w$ has no consecutive occurrence of the pattern 11.

In this paper, we introduce the study of $u$-representable graphs for any word $u \in \{1,2\}^*$. A graph $G$ is $u$-representable if and only if there is a vertex-labeled version of $G$, $G=(\{1, \ldots, n\}, E)$, and a word $w \in \{1, \ldots, n\}^*$ such that for all $x,y \in \{1, \ldots, n\}$, $xy \in E$ if and only if $w_{\{x,y\}}$ has no consecutive occurrence of the pattern $u$. Thus, word-representable graphs are just $11$-representable graphs. We show that for any $k \geq 3$, every finite graph $G$ is $1^k$-representable. This contrasts with the fact that not all graphs are 11-representable graphs.

The main focus of the paper is the study of $12$-representable graphs. In particular, we classify the $12$-representable trees. We show that any $12$-representable graph is a comparability graph and the class of $12$-representable graphs include the classes of co-interval graphs and permutation graphs. We also state a number of facts on $12$-representation of induced subgraphs of a grid graph.

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