Extendability of Cyclic Orders
A cyclic order is a ternary relation that satisfies ternary transitivity and asymmetry conditions. Such a ternary relation is extendable if it is included in a complete cyclic order on the same ground set. Unlike the case of linear extensions of partial orders, a cyclic order need not be extendable. The extension problem for cyclic orders is to determine if a cyclic order is extendable. This problem is known to be NP-complete. We introduce a class of cyclic orders in which the extension problem can be solved in polynomial time. The class provides many explicit examples of nonextendable cyclic orders that were not previously known, including a nonextendable cyclic order on seven points. Let μ be the maximum cardinality of a ground set on which all cyclic orders are extendable. It has been shown that μ≤9. We prove that μ=6. This answers a question of Novák. In addition, we characterize the nonextendable cyclic orders on seven and eight points. Our results are intimately related to irreducible partially ordered set of order dimension three, and to fractional vertices of generalized transitive tournament polytopes. As by-products, we obtain a characterization of cyclically ordered sets of dimension two, and a new proof of a theorem of Dridi on small linear ordering polytopes.
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