# A CHARACTERIZATION OF TREE TYPE

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1 A CHARACTERIZATION OF TREE TYPE LON H MITCHELL Abstract Let L(G) be the Laplacian matrix of a simple graph G The characteristic valuation associated with the algebraic connectivity a(g) is used in classifying trees as Type I and Type II We show a tree T is Type I if and only if its algebraic connectivity a(t ) belongs to the spectrum of some branch B of T 0 Acknowledgements This paper is the result of undergraduate research done at Central Michigan University under the guidance of Dr Sivaram K Narayan, and was made possible in part by a grant from the Dean of the College of Science and Technology during the summer of 1998, and a CMU Summer Research Scholarship in the summer of 1999 I am very greatful to Dr Narayan for his devotion to undergraduate education and research, and the effort and time he spent working with me 1 Introduction 11 The Laplacian Matrix A graph G(V, E) is an ordered pair of a set of vertices V = {v 1, v 2,, v n } and a set of edges, E, which consists of unordered pairs of vertices For the purposes of this paper, a graph G will mean a finite, simple (without multiple edges or loops) graph The number of edges incident to a vertex v is called the degree of that vertex, and is denoted d(v) The Laplacian matrix of a graph G with n vertices, denoted by L(G), is the n n matrix [L ij ] where d(v i ), if i = j; L ij = 1, if {v i, v j } E; 0, otherwise A tree T is a connected graph that does not contain a cycle A branch B of a tree T at vertex v is a connected component of the subgraph T v of T obtained by deleting v and all edges incident to it The vertex of B which is adjacent in T to v is called the root of B, and is denoted by r(b) We also call B a rooted branch at r(b) 2000 Mathematics Subject Classification Primary: 05C50; Secondary: 05C05 Key words and phrases Laplacian matrix, algebraic connectivity, types of trees The author is greatful for the referee s help and suggestions 1

2 2 L MITCHELL Let B be a rooted branch with vertex set {u 1, u 2,, u r }, and let u r be the root r(b) of B Denote by ˆL(B) = [a ij ] the r r matrix given by: d(u r ) + 1, if i = j = r; d(u i ), if i = j r; a ij = 1, if {u i, u j } is an edge of B; 0, otherwise Suppose v is a vertex of a graph G The neighborhood N(v) of v in G is the set of all vertices of G that are adjacent to v Vertex v is called a pendant vertex of G if and only if N(v) = 1 Following [2], if we wish to think of a particular vertex of a tree as special, we will designate it the root vertex or root of the tree We will say the length of a branch is the maximum length of paths from the root of the branch to a pendant vertex in the branch and define the size of a tree T, denoted T, as the maximum of the lengths of all branches at a designated root vertex of T Given a vertex v in a branch B of a tree T, another vertex u in T is said to be an upper vertex of v if the path from v to the root r(b) of B goes through u A vertex l is said to be a lower vertex of v if v is an upper vertex of l Remark 11 If a vertex v has an upper (lower) vertex u which belongs to N(v), then u is said to be an upper (lower) neighbor of v In a tree, an upper neighbor of a given vertex v must be unique 12 The Algebraic Connectivity and Characteristic Valuation The Laplacian matrix L(G) is a symmetric, positive semidefinite, singular, matrix The eigenvalues of L(G) can be written as 0 = λ 1 λ 2 λ n It can be shown that λ 2 > 0 if and only if G is connected Because of this, λ 2 is called the algebraic connectivity of G and is denoted a(g) More details about graphs and the Laplacian matrix can be found in [1], [8], and [9] Let us assume that the graph G is connected Then a(g) > 0 Let ξ(g) denote the set of eigenvectors corresponding to a(g) Fix an eigenvector x = (x 1, x 2,, x n ) ξ(g) Define f : V R by f(v i ) = x i, 1 i n, and write f ξ(g) to mean (x 1, x 2,, x n ) ξ(g) The function f which assigns the coordinates of an eigenvector corresponding to a(g) to the vertices of G is called a characteristic valuation or Fiedler vector of G Note that f ξ(g) is independent of the labeling of the vertices since relabeling results in a matrix that is permutation similar to the original matrix Theorem 12 [4], [7] If T (V, E) is a tree, then, for a characteristic valuation f ξ(g), only one of two cases may occur: Case 1 For V f = {v V f(v) = 0}, the graph T f = ( V f, E f ) induced by T on V f is connected and there is exactly one vertex u V f which is adjacent in T to a vertex not belonging to V f Moreover, the values of f along any path in T starting at u are either increasing, decreasing, or identically zero Case 2 For f(v) 0 for all v V, T contains exactly one edge {u, w} such that f(u) > 0 and f(w) < 0 Moreover, the values of f along any path which starts at u and does not contain w increase while the values of f along any path starting at w and not containing u decrease

3 A CHARACTERIZATION OF TREE TYPE 3 Figure 1 A Symmetric Tree Figure 2 A Multi-symmetric Tree In the first case, the tree is said to be Type I and to have a unique characteristic vertex, u, denoted as u ch In the second case, the tree is said to be Type II and to have a unique characteristic edge, {u, w} Theorem 13 [3] Let T (V, E) be a tree Suppose f ξ(t ) If a(t ) is a multiple eigenvalue of L(T ), then there is a vertex v V such that f(v) = 0 2 Symmetric Trees The ideas and results of this section started with the work of Rong Zhang who looked at symmetric trees as part of a master s thesis at Central Michigan University with Sivaram K Narayan [10] The results of our development of this idea are given, but the proofs for some are omitted as they are corollaries of later results Definition 21 A tree T (V, E) is said to be symmetric if there exists a vertex v such that all the branches of T at v are isomorphic The vertex v is called the root of T, and is denoted v c Definition 22 A tree T (V, E) is said to be multi-symmetric if there exists a vertex v c, called the root of T, such that all the branches of T at v c can be partitioned into r classes C 1, C 2,, C r which satisfy the following conditions: (1) Each class consists of two or more branches (2) Any two branches from the same class are isomorphic (3) Any two branches from different classes are not isomorphic

4 4 L MITCHELL Theorem 23 Every multi-symmetric tree is Type I Moreover, the root of the tree is the characteristic vertex of the tree Proof Let T (V, E) be a multi-symmetric tree that can be partitioned into r classes Let B i1, B i2,, B isi denote the s i isomorphic branches of the class C i, each of which contains n i vertices, 1 i r Since s i 2 for 1 i r, the Laplacian matrix of T, L(T ), can be written in the following form: L(C 1 ) 0 X1 t 0 L(C 2 ) X t 2 X 1 X 2 d(v c ) where for 1 i r ˆL(B i1 ) ˆL(Bi2 ) 0 L(C i ) = 0 0 ˆL(Bisi ) and X i = [ c i1 c i2 ] c isi and, labeling the last vertex of each branch as its root, the row vector c ij for 1 j s i is c ij = [ ] Take f ξ(t ) such that f = ( x 11,, x 1s1, x 21,, x 2s2, x rsr, x c) where x c is a scalar and x ij is a row vector of length n i for 1 i r and 1 j s i By definition, L(T )f t = a(t)f t Using block multiplication of matrices, we have: (1) ) (ˆL(Bij ) a(t ) ( x ij ) t = (0, 0,, 0, x c ) t, 1 i r and 1 j s i and (2) i=r j=s i i=1 j=1 f(r(b ij )) = (d(v c ) a(t)) x c Suppose that T (V, E) is a Type II tree Therefore, f(v) 0 for all v V By Theorem 13, a(t ) is simple and f is unique apart from its multiples We first prove the following: Claim Suppose f ξ(t ) = ( x 11,, x 1s1, x 21,, x 2s2, x rsr, x c) each i, 1 i r, x ij = x ik for all j, k, 1 j, k s i Then for Proof of Claim Assume for some i there exists j and k, 1 j, k s i, such that x ij x ik Now take g which is the same as f except that x ij and x ik are interchanged Then f and g are two linearly independent vectors satisfying (1) and (2) above This implies a(t ) is not simple, which is a contradiction of the assumption that a(t ) is simple Therefore, the Claim must be true Since we have assumed T (V, E) is a Type II tree, there must be a unique characteristic edge {u, w} such that f(u)f(w) < 0 This edge may only be found in one of two possible places: either both vertices are part of a branch, or one of the vertices is v c

5 A CHARACTERIZATION OF TREE TYPE 5 Suppose that the edge belongs to some branch B ij But, as we have seen above, x ij = x ik, 1 j, k s i This means each B ik must contain this edge as well Since every class C i has at least two branches, this contradicts the uniqueness of this edge The edge then must have v c as one of its vertices, and the root of some branch, r(b ij ), as the other Then f(v c )f(r(b ij )) < 0 But, because there exists another branch B ik where f(r(b ik ))f(r(b ij )) > 0, f(v c )f(r(b ik )) < 0 is also true, again contradicting the uniqueness of the characteristic edge As the characteristic edge cannot exist uniquely, the tree cannot be Type II Therefore, every multi-symmetric tree is Type I To prove the root of the tree must be the characteristic vertex, a similar argument may be used, as assuming the vertex was in one of the branches would contradict its uniqueness using Theorem Multiplicity of the algebraic connectivity Let T be a Type I tree, and let f ξ(t ) be a characteristic valuation of T A branch B of T is said to be passive if f(r(b)) = 0 Otherwise, the branch is said to be active Theorem 24 [5] Let T be a Type I tree with characteristic vertex v ch and algebraic connectivity a(t ) Let B be a branch at v ch with root r(b) Then B is active if and only if a(t ) is an eigenvalue of ˆL(B) Moreover, if a(t ) is an eigenvalue of ˆL(B), then it is simple and it is the smallest eigenvalue of ˆL(B) Theorem 25 [5] Let T be a Type I tree with characteristic vertex v ch and algebraic connectivity a(t ) Let m be the multiplictiy of a(t ) as an eigenvalue of L(T ) Then exactly m + 1 branches at v ch are active In the following theorem, we prove the converse of Theorem 25 for a Type I tree First, however, we note the following: Remark 26 Let T be a tree with root vertex v c Denote the branches at v c by B 1, B 2,, B d(vc) By labeling v c as the last vertex and labeling the other vertices of T so that those of B i precede those of B i+1, i = 1,, d(v c ) 1, L(T ) takes the following partitioned form ˆL(B 1 ) 0 0 c 1 (3) 0 ˆL(B2 ) 0 c ˆL(Bd(vc)) c d(vc) c t 1 c t 2 c t d(v c) d(v c ) where c i = ( ) t is a 1 by V (Bi ) vector, 1 i d(v c ) Definition 27 For a tree T, if L(T ) is of the form (3) and if each vertex is labeled before its upper neighbor, then we shall say L(T ) is in standard form Theorem 28 Let T be a Type I tree with characteristic vertex v ch and algebraic connectivity a(t ) Let m be the number of active branches of T Then the multiplicity of a(t ) is equal to m 1 Proof With L(T ) in standard form, and using p(m) to mean the characteristic polynomial of matrix M, we can write the characteristic polynomial of L(T ) as:

6 6 L MITCHELL (4) p(l(t )) = (d(v ch ) λ) q p(ˆl(b j )) + j=1 q c t k c k k=1 q j=1,j k p(ˆl(b j )) By Theorem 24, a(t ) is a simple eigenvalue of ˆL(B) for every active branch B of T Therefore, (λ a(t )) is a factor of the characteristic polynomial of ˆL(B) for every active branch B of T If there are m active branches of T, where 2 m q, it follows from (4) that (λ a(t )) m 1 is a factor of the characteristic polynomial of L(T ) Since a(t ) is an eigenvalue of ˆL(B) if and only if B is an active branch, we conclude that the multiplicity of a(t ) is m 1 Remark 29 Just as we are able to factor (λ a(t )) from the characteristic polynomial of a tree T (m 1) times from m active branches, if q is the number of branches B for which λ B is a simple eigenvalue of ˆL(B), we are able to factor (λ λ B ) from the characteristic polynomial of L(T ) (q 1) times Note Theorem 23 and Theorem 28 for the special case where T is a symmetric tree can be found in [10] 22 Algebraic Symmetry Although, from Theorem 23, multi-symmetric trees must be Type I, it is not the case that a tree with no visual symmetry must be Type II In fact, a tree with two branches which are not isomorphic may be either Type I or Type II So, even though two branches may not be isomorphic, they may act isomorphic in their influence on tree classificaiton Because the authors like the idea of Type I trees having some sort of symmetry, we introduce the following defintions: Definition 210 Two branches B 1, B 2 are said to be algebraically equivalent if, using σ(m) to denote the set of eigenvalues (spectrum) of a matrix M, ( )) ( )) min σ (ˆL(B1 ) = min σ (ˆL(B2 ) Definition 211 A tree T (V, E) is said to be algebraically symmetric if there exists a root vertex v of T such that all the branches of T at v can be partitioned into r classes C 1, C 2,, C r which satisfy the following conditions: (1) Each class consists of two or more branches (2) Any two branches from the same class are algebraically equivalent (3) Any two branches from different classes are not algebraically equivalent Example 212 The tree found in Figure 3 is Type I [5] Calling the vertex whose characteristic valuation is 0 the root vertex v of the tree, the two branches B 1, B 2 which are rooted at v satisfy min ( σ (ˆL(B1 ) )) Therefore it is algebraically symmetric ( )) = min σ (ˆL(B2 ) Definition 213 Given a tree T whose branches {B j } are partitioned into classes {C i }, the spectrum of the class C i, written σ(c i ), is defined as σ(c i ) = σ(ˆl(b j )) B j C i

7 A CHARACTERIZATION OF TREE TYPE Figure 3 An Algebraically Symmetric Tree Lemma 214 Given an algebraically-symmetric tree T, the algebraic connectivity of T, a(t ), will belong to the spectrum of one class Furthermore, it will be the minimum eigenvalue of that spectrum Proof Suppose that T is an algebraically symmetric tree whose branches are partitioned into m classes C 1, C 2,, C m Consider a new tree T created from T as follows: if B i1, B i2,, B isi are the branches of T in class C i, 1 i m, then root an isomorphic copy of each branch to the root vertex v of T The tree T now consists of classes {C ij } where two copies of B ij of T are in C ij for 1 i m and 1 j s i Therefore, T is a multi-symmetric tree associated with the given algebraically-symmetric tree T By Theorem 23, T is Type I Suppose B is a branch of T and λ B σ(ˆl(b)) By Remark 29, we can factor (λ λ B ) from the characteristic polynomial of L(T ) Therefore, the characteristic polynomial of L(T ) is related to the characteristic polynomial of L(T ) as follows: (5) p(l(t )) = λ B σ( ˆL(B)) (λ λ B ) p(l(t )) when the product is taken over all branches B of T Since T is Type I, by Theorem 24, a(t ) is a simple eigenvalue of ˆL(B) for every active branch B of T Because T is algebraically symmetric, T has at least four active branches that belong to two classes of T Suppose a(t ) σ(c pq) and a(t ) σ(c rs) Because T is algebraically symmetric, a(t ) σ(c p ) and a(t ) σ(c r ) Finally, by (5), a(t ) is the smallest positive eigenvalue of σ(l(t )) Hence a(t ) = a(t ) and so a(t ) belongs to the spectrum of a class of T Moreover, a(t ) is the minimum of the spectrum of that class The following theorem follows from Lemma 214 and Theorem 32 Theorem 215 Every algebraically symmetric tree is Type I 3 Type I Trees Although we have not yet given a necessary and sufficent condition for a tree to be Type I, it turns out that algebraic symmetry is closer than one might guess

8 8 L MITCHELL In what follows, if L(T ) is the Laplacian matrix of a tree and x is an eigenvector corresponding to an eigenvalue λ of L(T ), then we denote by x v the coordinate of x corresponding to a vertex v of T with respect to some labeling of the vertices Theorem 31 Suppose x is an eigenvector corresponding to an eigenvalue λ of L(T ) Let p(ˆl(b)) denote the characteristic polynomial of ˆL(B), and let p(ˆl(b)) λ denote the value of p( ˆL(B)) evaluated at λ For any vertex u of a tree T with (designated) root vertex v c, if B v is the branch at vertex u with root v, then (6) [ nv p(ˆl(b li )) ] λ x u = p(ˆl(b v )) λ x v i=1 where l i are the n v lower neighbors of v in T Proof We begin by using elementary row operations to reduce L(T ) λi to an upper-triangular form Let D v represent the diagonal element of the upper-triangular form of L(T ) λi corresponding to v We show that (7) D v = p(ˆl(b v )) for every v in T, with the exception of the root vertex v c, where D vc = p(l(t )) We shall consider a vertex v to be pure when the row of L(T ) λi corresponding to v has only zeros to the left of its diagonal entry Writing L(T ) in standard form, we note that pendant vertices are pure Also, pendant vertices trivially satisfy (7) Consider the equation resulting from multiplying the row corresponding to any pendant vertex with the vector x This gives (6) for the coordinate of the pendant vertex We proceed by induction on the distance from the root vertex At distance T, all vertices are pendant, so we are done from above Assume, then, that all vertices of distance T k, k 0 from the root satisfy (7) and are pure Consider any vertex v of distance T (k + 1) from the root If v is a pendant vertex, we are done If not, by the assumption, all n v lower neighbors l 1,, l nv satisfy (7) and are pure Proceed (without division) using elementary row operations to purify v The new diagonal entry for v becomes n v n v (d(v) λ) p(ˆl(b li )) i=1 j=1 n lj i=1 p(ˆl(b lj,i )) n v i=1 p(ˆl(b li )) p(ˆl(b lj )) where the l j,i are the n lj lower neighbors of l j As the above is the characteristic polynomial of ˆL(B v ), it is easily seen that (7) holds for v Because v is pure, consider the equation resulting from multiplying the row corresponding to v with the vector x This gives (6) for x v By induction, the lemma holds Although Theorem 31 is true for any choice of vertex v c, we shall find that for some trees, the right choice of v c and application of the theorem will show them to be Type I, in which case v c is indeed the characteristic vertex and deserves the subscript Theorem 32 A tree T is Type I if and only if its algebraic connectivity a(t ) belongs to the spectrum of ˆL(B) for some branch B of T

9 A CHARACTERIZATION OF TREE TYPE 9 Proof If T is a Type I tree, a(t ) must belong to ˆL(B) for some active branch B of T by Theorem 24 Suppose a(t ) belongs to the spectrum of ˆL(B) for some branch B of T at vertex v c From Lemma 31, x vc = 0 if a(t ) does not belong to the spectrum of any sub-branch of B If a(t ) belongs to a sub-branch of B, apply Lemma 31 to this sub-branch If repeated, this process must eventually reach a pendant vertex Here, however, we find that, since the pendant vertex has no sub-branches, the characteristic valuation of the upper neighbor must be zero Hence, by Theorem 12, we conclude that T must be a Type I tree Remark 33 The method of the proof of Theorem 31 also gives the following stronger result Let T be a tree and M(T ) a Hermitian matrix whose graph is T If B is a branch of T, let M[B] denote the principal submatrix of M(T ) resulting from retention of the rows and columns corresponding to vertices of B Suppose x is an eigenvector corresponding to an eigenvalue λ of M[B] Let p(m[b]) denote the characteristic polynomial of M[B], and let p(m[b]) λ denote the value of p(m[b]) evaluated at λ For any vertex u of a tree T with root vertex v c, if B v is the branch at vertex u with root v, then (8) [ nv p(m[b li ]) ] λ x u = p(m[b v ]) λ x v i=1 where l i are the n v lower neighbors of v in T Thus we may conclude that valuations other than the characteristic valuation need not satisfy Theorem 12 For a result which characterizes trees in terms of the spectra of the inverses of submatrices corresponding to the branches of T, see Corollary 21 in [6] References [1] J A Bondy and U S R Murty Graph theory with applications American Elsevier Publishing Co, Inc, New York, 1976 [2] Reinhard Diestel Graph theory, volume 173 of Graduate Texts in Mathematics Springer- Verlag, New York, second edition, 2000 [3] Miroslav Fiedler Algebraic connectivity of graphs Czechoslovak Math J, 23(98): , 1973 [4] Miroslav Fiedler A property of eigenvectors of nonnegative symmetric matrices and its application to graph theory Czechoslovak Math J, 25(100)(4): , 1975 [5] Robert Grone and Russell Merris Algebraic connectivity of trees Czechoslovak Math J, 37(112)(4): , 1987 [6] Steve Kirkland, Michael Neumann, and Bryan L Shader Characteristic vertices of weighted trees via Perron values Linear and Multilinear Algebra, 40(4): , 1996 [7] Russell Merris Characteristic vertices of trees Linear and Multilinear Algebra, 22(2): , 1987 [8] Russell Merris Laplacian matrices of graphs: a survey Linear Algebra Appl, 197/198: , 1994 Second Conference of the International Linear Algebra Society (ILAS) (Lisbon, 1992) [9] Russell Merris A survey of graph Laplacians Linear and Multilinear Algebra, 39(1-2):19 31, 1995 [10] R Zhang Shapes of trees and the eigenvalues of the laplacian matrix Master s thesis, Central Michigan University, 1996 Department of Mathematics, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS

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