The chromatic index of simple graphs

Fiorini, S (1975). The chromatic index of simple graphs. PhD thesis The Open University.



The object of this thesis is twofold:

(i) to study the structural properties of graphs which are critical with respect to edge-colourings;

(ii) to apply the results obtained to the classification problem arising from Vizing's Theorem.

Chapter 1 contains a historical, non-technical introduction, general graph-theoretic definitions and notation, a discussion of Vizing's Theorem as well as a survey of the main results obtained to date in Vizing's classification problem. Chapter 2 introduces the notion of criticality in the first section; the second section contains both well-known and new constructions of critical graphs which will be used in later chapters. The third and final section contains new results concerning elementary properties of critical graphs. Chapter 3 deals with uniquely-colourable graphs and their relationship to critical graphs. Chapter 4 contains results on the connectivity of critical graphs, whereas Chapter 5 deals with bounds on the number of edges of these graphs. In particular, bounds improving those given by Vizing are presented. These results are applied to problems concerning planar graphs. In Chapter 6, critical graphs of small order are discussed. All such graphs of order at most 8 are determined, while the 'critical graph conjecture’ of Beineke & Wilson and Jakobsen is shown to be true for all graphs on at most 10 vertices. The seventh and final chapter deals with circuit length properties of critical graphs. In particular, the minimal order of certain critical graphs with given girth and maximum valency is determined. Results improving Vizing’s estimate of the circumference of critical graphs are also given. The Appendix includes a computer programme which generates critical graphs from simpler ones using a constructive algorithm given in Chapter 2.

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