Coloring Graphs with Forbidden Almost Bipartite Subgraphs

ACO Student Seminar
Friday, October 28, 2022 - 1:00pm for 1 hour (actually 50 minutes)
Skiles 005
James Anderson – Georgia Tech Math – janderson338@gatech.edu
Abhishek Dhawan

For graphs with maximum degree $\Delta$, a greedy algorithm shows $\chi(G) \leq \Delta + 1$. Brooks improved this to $\chi(G) \leq \Delta$ when $G$ has no cliques of size $\Delta + 1$, provided $\Delta \geq 3$. If is conjectured that if one forbids other graphs, the bound can be pushed further: for instance, Alon, Krivelevich, and Sudakov conjecture that, for any graph $F$, there is a constant $c(F) > 0$ such that $\chi(G) \leq (c(F) + o(1)) \Delta / \log\Delta$ for all $F$-free graphs $G$ of maximum degree $\Delta$. The only graphs $F$ for which this conjecture has been verified so far---by Alon, Krivelevich, and Sudakov themselves---are the so-called almost bipartite graphs, i.e., graphs that can be made bipartite by removing at most one vertex. Equivalently, a graph is almost bipartite if it is a subgraph of the complete tripartite graph $K_{1,t,t}$ for some $t \in \N$. The best heretofore known upper bound on $c(F)$ for almost bipartite $F$ is due to Davies, Kang, Pirot, and Sereni, who showed that $c(K_{1,t,t}) \leq t$. We prove that in fact $c(F) \leq 4$ for any almost bipartite graph $F$, thus making the bound independent of $F$ in all the known cases of the conjecture. We also establish a more general version of this result in the setting of DP-coloring (also known as correspondence coloring), which we give a gentle introduction to. Finally, we consider consequences of this result in the context of sublinear algorithms.


This is joint work with Anton Bernshteyn and Abhishek Dhawan.