, Volume 24, Issue 3, pp 139–153 | Cite as

A Characterization of Partially Ordered Sets with Linear Discrepancy Equal to 2

  • David M. Howard
  • Mitchel T. Keller
  • Stephen J. Young


The linear discrepancy of a poset P is the least k such that there is a linear extension L of P such that if x and y are incomparable in P, then |h L (x)–h L (y)|≤k, where h L (x) is the height of x in L. Tanenbaum, Trenk, and Fishburn characterized the posets of linear discrepancy 1 as the semiorders of width 2 and posed the problem of characterizing the posets of linear discrepancy 2. We show that this problem is equivalent to finding the posets with linear discrepancy equal to 3 having the property that the deletion of any point results in a reduction in the linear discrepancy. Howard determined that there are infinitely many such posets of width 2. We complete the forbidden subposet characterization of posets with linear discrepancy equal to 2 by finding the minimal posets of width 3 with linear discrepancy equal to 3. We do so by showing that, with a small number of exceptions, they can all be derived from the list for width 2 by the removal of specific comparisons.


Poset Linear discrepancy Linear extension 

Mathematics Subject Classification (2000)



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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • David M. Howard
    • 1
  • Mitchel T. Keller
    • 1
  • Stephen J. Young
    • 1
  1. 1.School of MathematicsGeorgia Institute of TechnologyAtlantaUSA

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