# On the odd girth and the circular chromatic number of generalized Petersen graphs

## Abstract

A class \(\mathcal{G}\) of simple graphs is said to be *girth-closed* (*odd-girth-closed*) if for any positive integer *g* there exists a graph \(\mathrm {G} \in \mathcal{G}\) such that the girth (odd-girth) of \(\mathrm {G}\) is \(\ge g\). A girth-closed (odd-girth-closed) class \(\mathcal{G}\) of graphs is said to be *pentagonal* (*odd-pentagonal*) if there exists a positive integer \(g^*\) depending on \(\mathcal{G}\) such that any graph \(\mathrm {G} \in \mathcal{G}\) whose girth (odd-girth) is greater than \(g^*\) admits a homomorphism to the five cycle (i.e. is \(\mathrm {C}_{_{5}}\)-colourable). Although, the question “Is the class of simple 3-regular graphs pentagonal?” proposed by Nešetřil (Taiwan J Math 3:381–423, 1999) is still a central open problem, Gebleh (Theorems and computations in circular colourings of graphs, 2007) has shown that there exists an odd-girth-closed subclass of simple 3-regular graphs which is not odd-pentagonal. In this article, motivated by the conjecture that the class of generalized Petersen graphs is odd-pentagonal, we show that finding the odd girth of generalized Petersen graphs can be transformed to an integer programming problem, and using the combinatorial and number theoretic properties of this problem, we explicitly compute the odd girth of such graphs, showing that the class is odd-girth-closed. Also, we obtain upper and lower bounds for the circular chromatic number of these graphs, and as a consequence, we show that the subclass containing generalized Petersen graphs \(\mathrm {Pet}(n,k)\) for which either *k* is even, *n* is odd and \(n\mathop {\equiv }\limits ^{k-1}\pm 2\) or both *n* and *k* are odd and \(n\ge 5k\) is odd-pentagonal. This in particular shows the existence of nontrivial odd-pentagonal subclasses of 3-regular simple graphs.

## Keywords

Generalized Petersen graphs Integer programming Odd girth Circular colouring Pentagon problem## Notes

### Acknowledgments

The authors wish to express their sincere thanks to Ali Taherkhani and an anonymous referee for their constructive comments for improvement.

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