Schnyder Woods and Alon-Tarsi Number of Planar Graphs

  • Jakub Kozik
  • Bartosz Podkanowicz


Thomassen in 1994 published a famous proof of the fact that the choosability of a planar graph is at most 5. Zhu in 2019 generalized this result by showing that the same bound holds for Alon-Tarsi numbers of planar graphs. We present an alternative proof of that fact, derived from the results on decompositions of planar graphs into trees known as Schnyder woods. It turns out that Thomassen’s technique and our proof based on Schnyder woods have a lot in common. We discuss and explain the prominent role that counterclockwise 3-orientations play in proofs based on both these approaches.

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