# On the maximum average degree and the incidence chromatic number of a graph

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1 Discrete Mathematics and Theoretical Computer Science DMTCS ol. 7, 2005, On the maximum aerage degree and the incidence chromatic number of a graph Mohammad Hosseini Dolama 1 and Eric Sopena 2 1 Department of Mathematics, Semnan Uniersity, Semnan, Iran 2 LaBRI, Uniersité Bordeaux 1, 351 cours de la Libération, Talence Cedex, France receied Mar 2005, accepted Jul We proe that the incidence chromatic number of eery 3-degenerated graph G is at most (G) + 4. It is known that the incidence chromatic number of eery graph G with maximum aerage degree mad(g) < 3 is at most (G) + 3. We show that when (G) 5, this bound may be decreased to (G) + 2. Moreoer, we show that for eery graph G with mad(g) < 22/9 (resp. with mad(g) < 16/7 and (G) 4), this bound may be decreased to (G) + 2 (resp. to (G) + 1). Keywords: incidence coloring, k-degenerated graph, planar graph, maximum aerage degree 1 Introduction The concept of incidence coloring was introduced by Brualdi and Massey (3) in Let G = (V (G), E(G)) be a graph. An incidence in G is a pair (, e) with V (G), e E(G), such that and e are incident. We denote by I(G) the set of all incidences in G. For eery ertex, we denote by I the set of incidences of the form (, w) and by A the set of incidences of the form (w, w). Two incidences (, e) and (w, f) are adjacent if one of the following holds: (i) = w, (ii) e = f or (iii) the edge w equals e or f. A k-incidence coloring of a graph G is a mapping σ of I(G) to a set C of k colors such that adjacent incidences are assigned distinct colors. The incidence chromatic number χ i (G) of G is the smallest k such that G admits a k-incidence coloring. For a graph G, let (G), δ(g) denote the maximum and minimum degree of G respectiely. It is easy to obsere that for eery graph G we hae χ i (G) (G) + 1 (for a ertex of degree (G) we must use (G) colors for coloring I and at least one additional color for coloring A ). Brualdi and Massey proed the following upper bound: Theorem 1 (3) For eery graph G, χ i (G) 2 (G). Guiduli (4) showed that the concept of incidence coloring is a particular case of directed star arboricity, introduced by Algor and Alon (1). Following an example from (1), Guiduli proed that there exist graphs G with χ i (G) (G) + Ω(log (G)). He also proed that For eery graph G, χ i (G) (G) + O(log (G)). Concerning the incidence chromatic number of special classes of graphs, the following is known: c 2005 Discrete Mathematics and Theoretical Computer Science (DMTCS), Nancy, France

2 204 Mohammad Hosseini Dolama and Eric Sopena For eery n 2, χ i (K n ) = n = (K n ) + 1 (3). For eery m n 2, χ i (K m,n ) = m + 2 = (K m,n ) + 2 (3). For eery tree T of order n 2, χ i (T ) = (T ) + 1 (3). For eery Halin graph G with (G) 5, χ i (G) = (G) + 1 (8). For eery k-degenerated graph G, χ i (G) (G) + 2k 1 (5). For eery K 4 -minor free graph G, χ i (G) (G) + 2 and this bound is tight (5). For eery cubic graph G, χ i (G) 5 and this bound is tight (6). For eery planar graph G, χ i (G) (G) + 7 (5). The maximum aerage degree of a graph G, denoted by mad(g), is defined as the maximum of the aerage degrees ad(h) = 2 E(H) / V (H) taken oer all the subgraphs H of G. In this paper we consider the class of 3-degenerated graphs (recall that a graph G is k-degenerated if δ(h) k for eery subgraph H of G), which includes for instance the class of triangle-free planar graphs and the class of graphs with maximum aerage degree at most 3. More precisely, we shall proe the following: 1. If G is a 3-degenerated graph, then χ i (G) (G) + 4 (Theorem 2). 2. If G is a graph with mad(g) < 3, then χ i (G) (G) + 3 (Corollary 5). 3. If G a graph with mad(g) < 3 and (G) 5, then χ i (G) (G) + 2 (Theorem 8). 4. If G is a graph with mad(g) < 22/9, then χ i (G) (G) + 2 (Theorem 11). 5. If G is a graph with mad(g) < 16/7 and (G) 4, then χ i (G) = (G) + 1 (Theorem 13). In fact we shall proe something stronger, namely that one can construct for these classes of graphs incidence colorings such that for eery ertex, the number of colors that are used on the incidences of the form (w, w) is bounded by some fixed constant not depending on the maximum degree of the graph. More precisely, we define a (k, l)-incidence coloring of a graph G as a k-incidence coloring σ of G such that for eery ertex V (G), σ(a ) l. We end this section by introducing some notation that we shall use in the rest of the paper. Let G be a graph. If is a ertex in G and w is an edge in G, we denote by N G () the set of neighbors of, by d G () = N G () the degree of, by G \ the graph obtained from G by deleting the ertex and by G \ w the graph obtained from G by deleting the edge w. Let G be a graph and σ a partial incidence coloring of G, that is an incidence coloring only defined on some subset I of I(G). For eery uncolored incidence (, w) I(G) \ I, we denote by FG σ (, w) the set of forbidden colors of (, w), that is: F σ G (, w) = σ (A ) σ (I ) σ (I w ).

3 Maximum aerage degree and incidence chromatic number 205 b a b u 1 b 1 a 1 a2 a 3 b 2 u 2 a c G w u G (1) (2) d w u 3 b 3 (3) G Fig. 1: Configurations for the proof of Theorem 2 We shall often say that we extend such a partial incidence coloring σ to some incidence coloring σ of G. In that case, it should be understood that we set σ(, w) = σ (, w) for eery incidence (, w) I. We shall make extensie use of the fact that eery (k, l)-incidence coloring may be iewed as a (k, l)- incidence coloring for any k > k. Drawing conention. In a figure representing a forbidden configuration, all the neighbors of black or grey ertices are drawn, whereas white ertices may hae other neighbors in the graph. 2 3-degenerated graphs In this section, we proe the following: Theorem 2 Eery 3-degenerated graph G admits a ( (G)+4, 3)-incidence coloring. Therefore, χ i (G) (G) + 4. Proof: Let G be a 3-degenerated graph. Obsere first that if (G) 3 then, by Theorem 1, χ i (G) 2 (G) < (G) and eery ( (G) + 4)-incidence coloring of G is obiously a ( (G) + 4, 3)- incidence coloring. Therefore, we assume (G) 4 and we proe the theorem by induction on the number of ertices of G. If G has at most 5 ertices then G K 5. Since for eery k > 0, χ i (K n ) = n, we obtain χ i (G) χ i (K 5 ) = (K 5 ) + 1 = 5, and eery 5-incidence coloring of G is obiously a ( (G) + 4, 3)- incidence coloring. We assume now that G has n + 1 ertices, n 5, and that the theorem is true for all 3-degenerated graphs with at most n ertices. Let be a ertex of G with minimum degree. Since G is 3-degenerated, we hae d G () 3. We consider three cases according to d G (). d G () = 1: Let w denote the unique neighbor of in G (see Figure 1.(1)). Due to the induction hypothesis, the graph G = G \ admits a ( (G) + 4, 3)-incidence coloring σ. We extend σ to a ( (G) + 4, 3)- incidence coloring of G. Since F σ G (w, w) = σ (I w ) σ (A w ) (G) = (G) + 2,

4 206 Mohammad Hosseini Dolama and Eric Sopena there is a color a such that a / FG σ (w, w). We then set σ(w, w) = a and σ(, w) = b, for any color b in σ (A w ). d G () = 2: Let u, w be the two neighbors of in G (see Figure 1.(2)). Due to the induction hypothesis, the graph G = G \ admits a ( (G) + 4, 3)-incidence coloring σ. We extend σ to a ( (G) + 4, 3)- incidence coloring σ of G as follows. We first set σ(, u) = a for a color a σ(a u ) (if d G (u) = 1, we hae the case 1). Now, if σ (A w ) 2, there is a color b σ (A w )\{a} and if σ (A w ) = 1, since FG σ(, w) = σ (I w ) {a} (G) = (G), there is a color b distinct from a such that b / FG σ (, w). We set σ(, w) = b. We still hae to color the two incidences (u, u) and (w, w). Since a σ (A u ), we hae FG σ(u, u) = σ (I u ) σ (A u ) {a, b} (G) = (G) + 3. Therefore, there is a color c such that c / FG σ(u, u). Similarly, since b σ(a w), we hae FG σ (w, w) (G) + 3 and there exists a color d such that d / FG σ(w, w). We can extend σ to a ( (G) + 4, 3)-incidence coloring σ of G by setting σ(u, u) = c and σ(w, w) = d. d G () = 3: Let u 1, u 2 and u 3 be the three neighbors of in G (see Figure 1.(3)). Due to the induction hypothesis, the graph G = G \ admits a ( (G) + 4, 3)-incidence coloring σ. Obsere first that for eery i, 1 i 3, since FG σ (, u i) (G) 1 and since we hae (G) + 4 colors, we hae at least fie colors which are not in FG σ (, u i). Moreoer, if A ui < 3 then any of these fie colors may be assigned to the incidence (, u i ) whereas we hae only three possible choices (among these fie) if A ui = 3. In the following, we shall see that haing only three aailable colors is enough, and therefore assume that σ (A ui ) = 3 for eery i, 1 i 3. We define the sets B and B i,j as follows: - i, j, 1 i, j 3, i j, B i,j := (σ (I ui ) σ (A ui )) σ (A uj ) - B := 1 i,j 3 B i,j, i j. We consider now four subcases according to the degrees of u 1, u 2 and u 3 : 1. i, 1 i 3, d G (u i ) < (G). In this case, since we hae 3 colors for the incidence (, u i ) for eery i, 1 i 3, we can find 3 distinct colors a 1, a 2, a 3 such that a i / FG σ (, u i). We set σ(, u i ) = a i for eery i, 1 i 3. We still hae to color the three incidences (u i, u i ), 1 i 3. Since a i σ(a ui ), we hae F σ G (u i, u i ) = σ(i ui ) σ(a ui ) {a 1, a 2, a 3 } (G) = (G)+3 for eery i, 1 i 3. So, there exist three colors b 1, b 2, b 3 such that b i / F σ G (u i, u i ), 1 i 3. We can extend σ to a ( (G) + 4, 3)-incidence coloring σ of G by setting σ(u i, u i ) = b i for eery i, 1 i Only one of the ertices u i is of degree (G). We can suppose without loss of generality that d G (u 1 ), d G (u 2 ) < (G) and d G (u 3 ) = (G).

5 Maximum aerage degree and incidence chromatic number 207 Since σ (I u3 ) σ (A u3 ) = (G) 1+3 = (G)+2 and σ (A u1 ) = 3, we hae B 3,1. Let a 1 B 3,1. Since σ (A ui ) = 3 for eery i, 1 i 3, there exist two distinct colors a 2 and a 3 distinct from a 1 such that a 2 σ (A u2 ) and a 3 σ (A u3 ). We set σ(, u i ) = a i for eery i, 1 i 3. We still hae to color the three incidences of form (u i, u i ). Since a 1 B 3,1 and a 3 σ (A u3 ) we hae: F σ G(u 3, u 3 ) = σ (I u3 ) σ(a u3 ) {a 1, a 2, a 3 } (G) = + 3 and since a i σ (A ui ) for eery i = 1, 2 we hae: F σ G (u i, u i ) = σ (I ui ) σ (A ui ) {a 1, a 2, a 3 } (G) = + 3. Therefore, there exist three colors b 1, b 2, b 3 such that b i / F σ G (u i, u i ) {a 1, a 2, a 3 }, 1 i 3. We can extend σ to a ( (G) + 4, 3)-incidence coloring σ of G by setting σ(u i, u i ) = b i for eery i, 1 i Only one ertex among the u i s is of degree less than (G). We can suppose without loss of generality that d G (u 1 ) < (G) and d G (u 2 ) = d G (u 3 ) = (G). Similarly to the preious case, we hae B 2,1 and B 3,2. We consider two cases: B 2,1 B 3,2 Let a 1 B 2,1, a 2 B 3,2 \ {a 1 } and a 3 σ (A u3 ) \ {a 1, a 2 }. We set σ(, u i ) = a i for eery i, 1 i 3. We still hae to color the three incidences (u i, u i ), 1 i 3. Since a 1 σ (A u1 ) we hae: F σ G(u 1, u 1 ) = σ (I u1 ) σ(a u1 ) {a 1, a 2, a 3 } (G) = (G) + 3 and since a i B i+1,i for i = 1, 2 and a j σ (A uj ) for j = 2, 3, we hae: F σ G(u i, u i ) = σ (I ui ) σ(a ui ) {a 1, a 2, a 3 } (G) = (G) + 3. Therefore, there exist three colors b 1, b 2, b 3 such that b i / FG σ(u i, u i ), 1 i 3. We can extend σ to a ( (G) + 4, 3)-incidence coloring σ of G by setting σ(u i, u i ) = b i for eery i, 1 i 3. B 2,1 = B 3,2 Let a 1 B 2,1 = B 3,2, a 2 σ (A u2 ) \ {a 1 } and a 3 σ (A u3 ) \ {a 1, a 2 }. We set σ(, u i ) = a i for eery i, 1 i 3.

6 208 Mohammad Hosseini Dolama and Eric Sopena We still hae to color the three incidences (u i, u i ), 1 i 3. Since a 1 σ (A u1 ) we hae: F σ G(u 1, u 1 ) = σ (I u1 ) σ(a u1 ) {a 1, a 2, a 3 } (G) = (G) + 3 and since a 1 B 2,1 = B 3,2 and a j σ (A uj ) for j = 2, 3, we hae: F σ G(u i, u i ) = σ (I ui ) σ(a ui ) {a 1, a 2, a 3 } (G) = (G) + 3. Therefore, there exist three colors b 1, b 2, b 3 such that b i / F σ G (u i, u i ), 1 i 3. We can extend σ to a ( (G) + 4, 3)-incidence coloring σ of G by setting σ(u i, u i ) = b i for eery i, 1 i d G (u 1 ) = d G (u 2 ) = d G (u 3 ) = (G). Similarly to the case (b) we hae B i,j for eery i and j, 1 i, j 3 and thus B 1. We proe first that in this case B 2. Suppose that B = {x} = 1; in other words, ((σ (I ui ) A u i ) A u j ) = {x} for eery i and j, 1 i, j 3. Thus we hae: σ (A u1 ) σ (I u1 ) σ (A u2 ) σ (A u3 ) = (G) = (G) + 6. (1) But the relation (1) is in contradiction with the fact that σ is a ( (G) + 4, 3)-incidence coloring and we then get B 2. Let a 1 and a 2 be two distinct colors in B. We can suppose without loss of generality that a 1 B 2,1 and a 2 B 3,2. We consider the two following subcases: B 1,3 \ {a 1, a 2 } Let a 3 be a color in B 1,3 \ {a 1, a 2 }. We set σ(, u i ) = a i for eery i, 1 i 3. Since a i B j,i = (σ (I uj ) σ (A uj )) σ (A ui ), j = i + 1 mod 3, and a i σ (A ui ) for eery i, 1 i 3, we hae: F σ G(u i, u i ) = σ (I ui ) σ (A ui ) {a 1, a 2, a 3 } (G) = (G) + 3. Therefore, there exist three colors b 1, b 2, b 3 such that b i / F σ G (u i, u i ), 1 i 3. We can extend σ to a ( (G) + 4, 3)-incidence coloring σ of G by setting σ(u i, u i ) = b i for eery i, 1 i 3. B 1,3 \ {a 1, a 2 } = Since B 1,3 we can suppose without loss of generality that a 2 B 1,3. Let a 3 σ (A u3 ) \ {a 1, a 2 }. We set σ(, u i ) = a i for eery i, 1 i 3. Since a i B j,i = (σ (I uj ) σ (A uj )) σ (A ui ), j = i + 1 mod 3, and a i σ (A ui ) for i = 1, 2, we hae: F σ G(u i, u i ) = σ (I ui ) σ (A ui ) {a 1, a 2, a 3 }

7 Maximum aerage degree and incidence chromatic number 209 (G) = (G) + 3 and since a 2 σ (I u1 ) σ (A u1 ) and a 1 σ (A u 1 ) we hae: F σ G(u 1, u 1 ) = σ (I u1 ) σ (A u1 ) {a 1, a 2, a 3 } (G) = (G) + 3. Therefore, there exist three colors b 1, b 2, b 3 such that b i / F σ G (u i, u i ), 1 i 3. We can extend σ to a ( (G) + 4, 3)-incidence coloring σ of G by setting σ(u i, u i ) = b i for eery i, 1 i 3. It is easy to check that in all cases we obtain a ( (G) + 4, 3)-incidence coloring of G and the theorem is proed. Since eery triangle free planar graph is 3-degenerated, we hae: Corollary 3 For eery triangle free planar graph G, χ i (G) (G) Graphs with bounded maximum aerage degree In this section we study the incidence chromatic number of graphs with bounded maximum aerage degree. The following result has been proed in (5). Theorem 4 Eery k-degenerated graph G admits a ( (G) + 2k 1, k)-incidence coloring. Since eery graph G with mad(g) < 3 is 2-degenerated, we get the following: Corollary 5 Eery graph G with mad(g) < 3 admits a ( (G) + 3, 2)-incidence coloring. Therefore, χ i (G) (G) + 3. Concerning planar graphs, we hae the following: Obseration 6 (2) For eery planar graph G with girth at least g, mad(g) < 2g/(g 2). Hence, we obtain: Corollary 7 Eery planar graph G with girth g 6 admits a ( (G) + 3, 2)-incidence coloring. Therefore, χ i (G) (G) + 3. Proof: By Obseration 6 we hae mad(g) < 2g/(g 2) (2 6)/(6 2) = 3 and we get the result from Corollary 5. If the graph has maximum degree at least 5, the preious result can be improed: Theorem 8 Eery graph G with mad(g) < 3 and (G) 5 admits a ( (G)+2, 2)-incidence coloring. Therefore, χ i (G) (G) + 2. Proof: Suppose that the theorem is false and let G be a minimal counter-example (with respect to the number of ertices). We first show that G must aoid all the configurations depicted in Fig. 2.

8 210 Mohammad Hosseini Dolama and Eric Sopena u 1 u2 u 3 u 4 u 5 w (1) d G () = 1 a 1 a 2 a 3 a 4 a 5 w 1 w 2 w 1 w 2 w 3 w 4 (2) dg(w2) < 5 (3) dg() = 5 w 5 Fig. 2: Forbidden configurations for the proof of Theorem 8 (1) Let w denote the unique neighbor of in G. Due to the minimality of G, the graph G = G\ admits a ( (G) + 2, 2)-incidence coloring σ. We extend σ to a ( (G) + 2, 2)-incidence coloring σ of G. Since F σ G (w, w) = σ (I w ) σ (A w ) (G) = (G) + 1, there is a color a such that a / F σ G (w, w). We set σ(w, w) = a and σ(, w) = b, for any color b in σ (A w ). (2) Let w 1, w 2 denote the two neighbors of in G. Due to the minimality of G, the graph G = G \ admits a ( (G) + 2, 2)-incidence coloring σ. We extend σ to a ( (G) + 2, 2)-incidence coloring σ of G. Since F σ G (w 1, w 1 ) = σ (I w1 ) σ (A w1 ) (G) = (G) + 1 and since we hae (G) + 2 possible colors, there is a color a such that a / F σ G (w 1, w 1 ). We set σ(w 1, w 1 ) = a. If σ (A w2 ) \ {a} 1 then there is a color b σ (A w2 ) \ {a} and if σ (A w2 ) = {a}, since F σ G (, w 2) = σ (I w2 ) {a} 3+1 = 4 (G) 1, there is a color b such that b / F σ G (, w 2). We set σ(, w 2 ) = b. Now, if σ (A w1 ) \ {b} 1 then there is a color c σ (A w1 ) \ {b} and if σ (A w1 ) = {b}, since F σ G (, w 1) = σ(i w1 ) {b} (G) + 1, there is a color c such that c / F σ G (, w 1). We set σ(, w 1 ) = c. Since F σ G (w 2, w 2 ) = σ (I w2 ) σ(a w2 ) {c} = 6 (G) + 1, there is a color d such that d / F σ G (w 2, w 2 ) and we set σ(w 2, w 2 ) = d. (3) Let u i, 1 i 5, denote the fie neighbors of and w i denote the other neighbor of u i in G (see Figure 2.(3)). Due to the minimality of G, the graph G = G \ admits a ( (G) + 2, 2)-incidence coloring σ. We extend σ to a ( (G) + 2, 2)-incidence coloring σ of G. Let a i = σ (w i, w i u i ), 1 i 5. Since we hae (G) colors, there is a color x distinct from a i for eery i, 1 i 5. Since F σ G (u i, u i w i ) = σ (I wi ) (G) we hae two possible colors for the incidence (u i, u i w i ) for eery i, 1 i 5. So, we can suppose that σ (u i, u i w i ) x for eery i, 1 i 5. We set σ(u i, u i ) = x for eery i, 1 i 5. Since FG σ(, u i) = {x, σ (u i, u i w i )} for eery i, 1 i 5, and since we hae at least 7 colors, there is 5 distinct colors c 1, c 2,..., c 5 such that c i / {x, σ (u i, u i w i )}, 1 i 5, and we set σ(, u i ) = c i for eery i, 1 i 5.

9 Maximum aerage degree and incidence chromatic number 211 It is easy to check that in eery case we hae obtained a ( (G) + 2, 2)-incidence coloring of G, which contradicts our assumption. We now associate with each ertex of G an initial charge d() = d G (), and we use the following discharging procedure: each ertex of degree at least 5 gies 1/2 to each of its 2-neighbors. We shall proe that the modernized degree d of each ertex of G is at least 3 which contradicts the assumption mad(g) < 3 (since u G d (u) = u G d(u)). Let be a ertex of G; we consider the possible cases for old degree d G () of (since G does not contain the configuration 2(1), we hae d G () 2): d G () = 2. Since G does not contain the configuration 2(2) the two neighbors of are of degree at least 5. Therefore, receies 1/2 from each of its neighbors so that d () = 2 + 1/2 + 1/2 = 3. 3 d G () 4. In this case we hae d () = d G () 3. d G () = 5. Since G does not contain the configuration 2(3) at least one of the neighbors of is of degree at least 3 and gies at most 4 1/2 = 2. We obtain d () 5 2 = 3. d G () = k 6. In this case gies at most k (1/2) so that d () k k/2 = k/2 6/2 = 3. Therefore, eery ertex in G gets a modernized degree of at least 3 and the theorem is proed. Remark 9 The preious result also holds for graphs with maximum degree 2 and for graphs with maximum degree 3 (by the result from (6)) but the question remains open for graphs with maximal degree 4. As preiously, for planar graphs we obtain: Corollary 10 Eery planar graph G of girth g 6 with (G) 5 admits a ( (G) + 2, 2)-incidence coloring. Therefore, χ i (G) (G) + 2. For graphs with maximum aerage degree less than 22/9, we hae: Theorem 11 Eery graph G with mad(g) < 22/9 admits a ( (G)+2, 2)-incidence coloring. Therefore, χ i (G) (G) + 2. Proof: It is enough to consider the case of graphs with maximum degree at most 4, since for graphs with maximum degree at least 5 the theorem follows from Theorem 8. Suppose that the theorem is false and let G be a minimal counter-example (with respect to the number of ertices and edges). Obsere first that we hae (G) 3 since otherwise we obtain by Theorem 1 that χ i (G) 2 (G) (G)+2 and eery ( (G) + 2)-incidence coloring of G is obiously a ( (G) + 2, 2)-incidence coloring. We first show that G cannot contain any of the configurations depicted in Figure 3. (1) This case is similar to case 1 of Theorem 8.

10 212 Mohammad Hosseini Dolama and Eric Sopena u a b u 1 u 2 u 3 c d a 1 a 2 a 3 u x y w 1 w 2 w 3 (1) (2) (3) Fig. 3: Forbidden configurations for the proof of Theorem 11 (2) Let x (resp. y) denote the other neighbor of u (resp. ) in G. Due to the minimality of G, the graph G = G\u admits a ( (G)+2, 2)-incidence coloring σ. We extend σ to a ( (G)+2, 2)-incidence coloring σ of G. Suppose σ (u, ux) = a, σ (, y) = b, σ (x, xu) = c and σ (y, y) = d. Suppose first that {a, b, c, d} = 4. In that case, we set σ(u, u) = d and σ(, u) = c. Now, if {a, b, c, d} 3, we set σ(u, u) = e and σ(, u) = f for any e, f / {a, b, c, d}. (3) Let u 1, u 2 and u 3 denote the three neighbors of and w i denotes the other neighbor of u i, 1 i 3, in G. Due to the minimality of G, the graph G = G \ admits a ( (G) + 2, 2)-incidence coloring σ. We extend σ to a ( (G) + 2, 2)-incidence coloring σ of G. Suppose that a i = σ (w i, w i u i ), 1 i 3. Since we hae (G) colors, there is a color x distinct from a i for eery i, 1 i 3. Since F σ G (u i, u i w i ) = σ (I wi ) (G) we hae at least two colors for the incidence (u i, u i w i ) for eery i, 1 i 3. Thus, we can suppose σ (u i, u i w i ) x for eery i, 1 i 3. We then set σ(u i, u i ) = x for eery i, 1 i 3. Since FG σ(, u i) = {x, σ (u i, u i w i )} for eery i, 1 i 3, and since we hae at least 5 colors, there are 3 distinct colors c 1, c 2 et c 3 such that c i / {x, σ (u i, u i w i )}, 1 i 3. We then set σ(, u i ) = c i for eery i, 1 i 3. Therefore, in all cases we obtain a ( (G) + 2, 2)-incidence coloring of G, which contradicts our assumption. We now associate with each ertex of G an initial charge d() = d G (), and we use the following discharging procedure: each ertex of degree at least 3 gies 2/9 to each of its 2-neighbors. We shall proe that the modernized degree d of each ertex of G is at least 22/9 which contradicts the assumption mad(g) < 22/9. Let be a ertex of G; we consider the possible cases for old degree d G () of (since G does not contain the configuration 3(1), we hae d G () 2): d G () = 2. Since G does not contain the configuration 3(2) the two neighbors of are of degree at least 3. Therefore, receies then 2/9 from each of its neighbors so that d () = 2 + 2/9 + 2/9 = 22/9.

11 Maximum aerage degree and incidence chromatic number 213 w (1) d G() = 1 u u 1 u 2 u 3 1 u 2 b d x 1 x 2 x 3 b 1 b 2 b 3 a c a 1 a 2 a 3 w 1 w 2 w 1 w 2 w 3 (2) d G(w 1) < (G) (3) d G(w 2) = d G(w 3) = 3 Fig. 4: Forbidden configurations for the proof of Theorem 13 d G () = 3. Since G does not contain the configuration 3(3), is adjacent to at most two 2-ertices and gies at most 2 2/9 = 4/9. We obtain d () 3 4/9 = 23/9 22/9. d G () = 4. In this case, gies at most 4 2/9 = 8/9 so that d () 4 8/9 = 28/9 22/9. Therefore, eery ertex in G gets a modernized degree of at least 3 and the theorem is proed. By considering cycles of length l 0 (mod 3), we get that the upper bound of Theorem 11 is tight. As preiously, for planar graphs we obtain: Corollary 12 Eery planar graph G of girth g 11 admits a ( (G) + 2, 2)-incidence coloring. Therefore, χ i (G) (G) + 2. Finally, for graphs with maximum aerage degree less than 16/7, we hae: Theorem 13 Eery graph G with mad(g) < 16/7 and (G) 4 admits a ( (G) + 1, 1)-incidence coloring. Therefore, χ i (G) = (G) + 1. Proof: Since for eery graph G, χ i (G) (G) + 1, it is enough to proe that G admits a ( (G) + 1, 1)- incidence coloring. Suppose that the theorem is false and let G be a minimal counter-example (with respect to the number of ertices). We first show that G cannot contain any of the configurations depicted in Figure 4. (1) This case is similar to case 1 of Theorem 8. (2) Let u i, i = 1, 2, be the two neighbors of and w i denote the other neighbor of u i in G. Due to the minimality of G, the graph G = G \ admits a ( (G) + 1, 1)-incidence coloring σ. We extend σ to a ( (G) + 1, 1)-incidence coloring σ of G. Suppose that σ (w 1, w 1 u 1 ) = a, σ (u 1, u 1 w 1 ) = b, σ (w 2, w 2 u 2 ) = c and σ (u 2, u 2 w 2 ) = d. Since FG σ (w 1, w 1 u 1 ) {c} = σ (I w1 ) \ {a} σ (A w1 ) {c} (G) = (G), we can suppose that a c. We then set σ(, u 1 ) = a and σ(, u 2 ) = c. Now, since F σ G (u 1, u 1 ) F σ G (u 2, u 2 ) = {a, b, c, d} and since we hae at least (G) colors, there is a color x such that x / {a, b, c, d}. We then set σ(u 1, u 1 ) = σ(u 2, u 2 ) = x.

13 Maximum aerage degree and incidence chromatic number One of the u i s is of degree at least 3, say u 1. In this case gies at most 2/7 to u 2 and 2/7 to u 3 so that d () 3 2/7 2/7 = 17/7 16/7. 2. All the u i s are of degree 2. Let x i be the other neighbor of u i in G, 1 i 3. d G () = k 4. (a) One of the x i s is of degree at least 3, say x 1. In this case gies 1/7 to u 1, at most 2/7 to u 2 and at most 2/7 to u 3. We then hae d () 3 1/7 2/7 2/7 = 16/7. (b) All the x i s are of degree 2. Let w i be the other neighbor of x i in G, 1 i 3. Since G does not contain the configuration 4(2) we hae d G (w i ) 3 for eery i, 1 i 3, and since G does not contain the configuration 4(3), at most one of the w i s, 1 i 3, can be of degree 3. Thus, we can suppose without loss of generality that d G (w 1 ) and d G (w 2 ) 4. In this case, gies 1/7 to w 1, 1/7 to w 2 and at most 2/7 to w 3. We then hae d () 3 1/7 1/7 2/7 = 17/7 16/7. In this case, gies at most k (2/7 + 1/7) = 3k/7 so that d () k 3k/7 = 4k/7 16/7. Therefore, eery ertex in G gets a modernized degree of at least 16/7 and the theorem is proed. Considering the lower bound discussed in Section 1, we get that the upper bound of Theorem 13 is tight. Remark 14 For eery graph G, the square of G, denoted by G 2, is the graph obtained from G by linking any two ertices at distance at most 2. It is easy to obsere that proiding a (k, 1)-incidence coloring of G is the same as proiding a proper k-ertex-colouring of G 2, for eery k (by identifying for eery ertex the color of A in G with the color of in G 2 ). By considering the cycle C 4 on 4 four ertices (note that C 2 4 = K 4 ) we get that the preious result cannot be extended to the case = 2. Consider now the graph H obtained from the cycle C 5 on fie ertices by adding one pending edge with a new ertex. Since H 2 contains a subgraph isomorphic to K 5, we similarly get that the preious result cannot be extended to the case = 3. As preiously, for planar graphs we obtain: Corollary 15 Eery planar graph G of girth g 16 and with (G) 4 admits a ( (G) + 1, 1)- incidence coloring. Therefore, χ i (G) = (G) + 1.

14 216 Mohammad Hosseini Dolama and Eric Sopena References [1] I. Algor and N. Alon, The star arboricity of graphs, Discrete Math. 75 (1989) [2] O.V. Borodin, A.V. Kostochka, J. Ne set ril, A. Raspaud and E. Sopena, On the maximum aerage degree and the oriented chromatic number of a graph, Discrete Math. 206 (1999) [3] R.A. Brualdi and J.J.Q. Massey, Incidence and strong edge colorings of graphs, Discrete Math. 122 (1993) [4] B. Guiduli, On incidence coloring and star arboricity of graphs, Discrete Math. 163 (1997) [5] M. Hosseini Dolama, E. Sopena and X. Zhu, Incidence coloring of k-degenerated graphs, Discrete Math. 283 (2004) [6] M. Maydanskiy, The incidence coloring conjecture for graphs of maximum degree 3, Discrete Math. 292 (2005) [7] W.C. Shiu, P.C.B. Lam and D.L. Chen, On incidence coloring for some cubic graphs, Discrete Math. 252 (2002) [8] S.D. Wang, D.L. Chen and S.C. Pang, The incidence coloring number of Halin graphs and outerplanar graphs, Discrete Math. 256 (2002)

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