Colored graphs without colorful cycles


A colored graph is a complete graph in which a color has been assigned to each edge, and a colorful cycle is a cycle in which each edge has a different color. We first show that a colored graph lacks colorful cycles iff it is Gallai, i.e., lacks colorful triangles. We then show that, under the operation monm + n − 2, the omitted lengths of colorful cycles in a colored graph form a monoid isomorphic to a submonoid of the natural numbers which contains all integers past some point. We prove that several but not all such monoids are realized.

We then characterize exact Gallai graphs, i.e., graphs in which every triangle has edges of exactly two colors. We show that these are precisely the graphs which can be iteratively built up from three simple colored graphs, having 2, 4, and 5 vertices, respectively. We then characterize in two different ways the monochromes, i.e., the connected components of maximal monochromatic subgraphs, of exact Gallai graphs. The first characterization is in terms of their reduced form, a notion which hinges on the important idea of a full homomorphism. The second characterization is by means of a homomorphism duality.

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Correspondence to Richard N. Ball.

Additional information

The first author would like to express his thanks for support by project LN 00A056 of the Ministry of Education of the Czech Republic.

The second author would like to express his thanks for support by project LN 00A056 of the Ministry of Education of the Czech Republic, by the NSERC of Canada and by the Gudder Trust of the University of Denver.

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Ball, R.N., Pultr, A. & Vojtěchovský, P. Colored graphs without colorful cycles. Combinatorica 27, 407–427 (2007).

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Mathematics Subject Classification (2000)

  • 05C15
  • 05C55