Proving a Directed Analogue of the Gyárfás-Sumner Conjecture for Orientations of $P_4$

  • Linda Cook
  • Tomáš Masařík
  • Marcin Pilipczuk
  • Amadeus Reinald
  • Uéverton S. Souza


An oriented graph is a digraph that does not contain a directed cycle of length two. An (oriented) graph $D$ is $H$-free if $D$ does not contain $H$ as an induced sub(di)graph. The Gyárfás-Sumner conjecture is a widely-open conjecture on simple graphs, which states that for any forest $F$, there is some function $f$ such that every $F$-free graph $G$ with clique number $\omega(D)$ has chromatic number at most $f(\omega(D))$. Aboulker, Charbit, and Naserasr [Extension of Gyárfás-Sumner Conjecture to Digraphs, Electron. J. Comb., 2021] proposed an analogue of this conjecture to the dichromatic number of oriented graphs. The dichromatic number of a digraph $D$ is the minimum number of colors required to color the vertex set of $D$ so that no directed cycle in $D$ is monochromatic.

Aboulker, Charbit, and Naserasr’s $\overrightarrow{\chi}$ -boundedness conjecture states that for every oriented forest $F$, there is some function f such that every $F$-free oriented graph $D$ has dichromatic number at most $f(\omega(D))$, where $\omega(D)$ is the size of a maximum clique in the graph underlying $D$. In this paper, we perform the first step towards proving Aboulker, Charbit, and Naserasr’s $\overrightarrow{\chi}$-boundedness conjecture by showing that it holds when $F$ is any orientation of a path on four vertices.

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