# Extremal Graphs without Three-Cycles or Four-Cycles

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1 Extremal Graphs without Three-Cycles or Four-Cycles David K. Garnick Department of Computer Science Bowdoin College Brunswick, Maine Y. H. Harris Kwong Department of Mathematics and Computer Science SUNY College at Fredonia Fredonia, New York Felix Lazebnik Department of Mathematical Sciences University of Delaware Newark, Delaware Abstract. We derive bounds for f(v), the maximum number of edges in a graph on v vertices that contains neither three-cycles nor four-cycles. Also, we give the exact value of f(v) for all v up to 24 and constructive lower bounds for all v up to Introduction This paper investigates the values of f(v), the maximum number of edges in a graph of order v and girth at least 5. For small values of v we also enumerate the set of extremal graphs. This problem has been mentioned several times by P. Erdős (for instance, in [6]) who conjectured that f(v) = (1/2 + o(1)) 3/2 v 3/2. We begin with some basic definitions. Let G be a simple graph with order v = V (G) and size e = E(G). Let d(x) = d G (x) denote the degree of a vertex x of G, and let δ(g) and (G) be the minimum and maximum degrees of vertices of G. Given x V, N(x) = N G (x) and N[x] = N G [x] = N(x) {x} denote the (open) neighborhood and closed neighborhood, respectively, of x. For V V, define N(V ) = x V N(x) and V as the subgraph induced by V. By C n, n 3, we denote an n-cycle, i.e. a cycle with n vertices. We will also refer to a 3-cycle as a triangle and to a 4-cycle as a quadrilateral. P n denotes a path on n vertices. The girth of graph G, g(g), is the length of the shortest cycle in G. The argument G will be left off when the intended graph is clear. Given graphs G 1, G 2,..., G k, let ex(v; G 1, G 2,..., G k ) denote the greatest size of a graph of order v that contains no subgraph isomorphic to some G i, 1 i k. One of the main classes of problems in extremal graph theory, known as Turán-type problems, is for given v, G 1, G 2,..., G k to determine explicitly the function ex(v; G 1, G 2,..., G k ), or to find its asymptotic behavior. Thus, the problem we consider in this paper, that of finding the maximum size of a graph of girth at least 5, can be stated as finding the value of ex(v; C 3, C 4 ). Exact results for all values of v are known for only a few instances of Turán-type problems. Asymptotic results are quite satisfactory if each graph G i, 1 i k, has chromatic number χ(g i ) at least 3. Let this be the case, and let χ = min{χ(g i ) : 1 i k}. Then ( ex(v; G 1, G 2,..., G k ) 1 1 ) ( ) v, v. (1.1) χ 1 2 If at least one of the G i s is bipartite, then χ = 2, and there is no general result similar to (1.1). Excellent references on the subject are [1] and [19] (pp ). It is well known that ex(v; C 3 ) = v 2 /4, and the extremal graph is the complete bipartite graph K v/2, v/2. The exact value of ex(v; C 4 ) is known for all values of v of the form v = q 2 + q + 1, where q is a power of 2 [8], or a prime power exceeding 13 [9], and it is equal to q(q + 1) 2 /2. The extremal graphs for these values of v are known, and were constructed in [3, 7]. For 1 v 21, the values of ex(v; C 4 ) and the corresponding extremal graphs can be found in [4]. It is well known that ex(v; C 4 ) = (1/2 + o(1))v 3/2 (see 1

2 [1, 7]). It is important to note that attempts to construct extremal graphs for ex(v; C 3, C 4 ) by destroying all 4-cycles in the extremal graphs for ex(v; C 3 ), or by destroying all 3-cycles in the extremal graphs for ex(v; C 4 ), fail; neither method yields graphs of order v with f(v) edges. In Section 2 we derive upper and lower bounds on the value of f(v), and provide some remarks on the structure of extremal graphs. In Section 3 we present the exact values of f(v) for all v up to 24; we also enumerate all of the extremal graphs of order less than 11. In Section 4 we provide a table of constructive lower bounds for f(v), 25 v 200, that are better than the theoretical lower bounds. 2 Theoretical Results In this section we present some theoretical results about f(v) and the structure of the extremal graphs. Many of them will be used in the subsequent sections. We call a graph G of order v extremal if g(g) 5 and e = e(g) = f(v). Proposition 2.1 Let G be an extremal graph of order v. Then 1. The diameter of G is at most If d(x) = δ(g) = 1, then the graph G {x} has diameter at most 2. Proof: Let x, y be two vertices of G of distance at least 4. Since xy is not an edge of G we can add this edge to E(G). The obtained graph G = G + xy has girth g(g ) 5 and one more edge than G. This contradicts the assumption that G is extremal and proves part 1. Let a, b be two vertices of G {x} of distance at least 3. By deleting the only edge of G incident to x and introducing two new edges xa and xb, we obtain a graph G of order v having one more edge than G and girth at least 5. This contradicts the assumption that G is extremal and proves part 2. It turns out that the extremal graphs of diameter 2 are very rare. In fact, it was claimed in [2] that the only graphs of order v with no 4-cycles and of diameter 2 are: 1. The star K 1,v 1 ; 2. Moore graphs: C 5, Petersen graph (the only 3-regular graph of order 10, diameter 2 and girth 5, see G 10 in Figure 1), Hoffman-Singleton graph [14] (the only 7-regular graph of order 50, diameter 2 and girth 5), and a 57-regular graph of order 3250, diameter 2 and girth 5 if such exists (its existence is still an open problem [14]); 3. Polarity graphs (see [3, 7]). Remark: The only graphs from the list above that in addition contain no triangles and are regular are the Moore graphs. It is also known that a graph of diameter k 1 and girth 2k + 1 must be regular [20]. We now derive an upper bound on f(v). Let d = d G = 1 v x V (G) d(x) be the average degree of G, and let σ 2 = x V (G) [ d d(x)] 2. By D i = D i (G) we denote the number of unordered pairs of vertices of G of distance i apart. Theorem 2.2 Let G be an extremal graph of order v and size e. Then f(v) = e = 1 2 v2 (v 1) vσ 2 2vD v v 1 (2.1) The inequality in (2.1) becomes an equality if and only if G is an isolated vertex or G is regular and of diameter 2, i.e., G is a Moore graph. Proof: According to Proposition 2.1 G is connected and of diameter at most 3. Since G is {C 3, C 4 }-free, we have D 2 = ( d(x) ) x V (G) 2. Therefore ( ) v = D 1 + D 2 + D 3 = e + ( ) d(x) + D 3. (2.2) 2 2 x V (G) 2

3 Since d = 2e/v and x V (G) d(x)2 = σ 2 + 4e 2 /v, we can rewrite (2.2) as ( ) v = σ 2 /2 + 2e 2 /v + D 3. (2.3) 2 Solving (2.3) with respect to e we obtain (2.1). The statement about the equality sign in the inequality (2.1) follows immediately from the proof above and the Remark following Proposition 2.1. The inequality (2.1) was found independently by Dutton and Brigham [5]. The following result can be obtained via more accurate estimates of σ 2 and D 3 in some particular cases. The proof appears in [12]. Corollary 2.3 Let G be an extremal graph of order v, size e, diameter 3, and not regular; then f(v) = e 1 2 If, in addition, the average degree of G is an integer, then v 2 (v 1) 5 2 v. f(v) = e 1 2 v2 (v 1) 4v. Now we derive a lower bound for f(v). Let q be a prime power, and let v q = q 2 +q+1, and e q = (q+1)v q. By B q we denote the point-line incidence bipartite graph of the projective plane P GL(2, q). More precisely, the partite sets of B q represent the set of points and the set of lines of P GL(2, q), and the edges of B q correspond to the pairs of incident points and lines. Then B q is a (q + 1)-regular bipartite graph of order 2v q and size e q. It is easy to show that g(b q ) = 6. By adding vertices and edges to B q, one can easily derive the following proposition; the proof is given in [12]. Proposition 2.4 Let G be an extremal graph of order v and size e. Let q be the largest prime power such that 2v q v. Then f(v) = e e q + 2(v 2v q ) = 2v + (q 3)v q. Combining the results of Theorem 2.2 and Proposition 2.4, we obtain the well known Corollary lim inf v f(v) v 3/2 f(v) lim sup v v 1 3/2 2. We next define a restricted type of tree; many of the proofs in Section 3 rely on the presence of these trees in the extremal graphs. Consider a vertex x of maximum degree in a {C 3, C 4 }-free graph G. Let the neighborhood of x be N(x) = {x 1, x 2,..., x }. Clearly, N(x) is an independent set of vertices. Furthermore, the sets of vertices N(x i ) {x}, 1 i, are pairwise disjoint; otherwise there would be a quadrilateral in G. This motivates the notion of an (m, n)-star S m,n, that is defined to be the tree in which the root has m children, and each of the root s children has n 1 children, all of which are leaves. The subtree containing a child of the root and all its n children is called a branch of S m,n. We adopt the following notation. Given a rooted tree T of height 2, denote its root by r, the children of r by r 1, r 2,..., and the children of r i (that is, the leaves of T in the i-th branch) by r i,1, r i,2,.... Denote by R i the set of leaves in the i-th branch, that is, R i = N(r i ) {r}. Define R = i R i as the set of leaves in T. We will use the following easily established facts: 1. V (S m,n ) = 1 + m + mn and E(S m,n ) = m + mn. 2. Every {C 3, C 4 }-free graph G with at least 5 vertices contains S,δ For any nonadjacent vertices t and u in S m,n that are not both leaves, S m,n + tu contains a C 3 or C Suppose a {C 3, C 4 }-free graph G contains an (m, n)-star S and a vertex z V (S). Then either (i) z is adjacent to only one vertex in S, or (ii) z is adjacent to two leaves from different branches in S. If r i z E(G), then we will also consider z as a vertex in S; that is, z is regarded as a leaf in R i. Under this convention, every child of the root in any S m,n has at least n children of its own. 3

4 As an immediate consequence we have the following propositions. extensively to determine precise values of f(v). As simple as they are, we use them Proposition 2.6 For all {C 3, C 4 }-free graphs G, v 1 + δ 1 + δ 2. Proposition 2.7 For all {C 3, C 4 }-free graphs G on v 1 vertices and e edges, δ e f(v 1) and 2e/v. Proposition 2.8 For any {C 3, C 4 }-free graph G of order v 1, we have v 1 + 2f(v)/v (f(v) f(v 1)). 3 Values of f(v) for v 24 and v = 50 Let F v denote the set of {C 3, C 4 }-free graphs of order v, and let Fv denote the set of extremal graphs of order v. Define F (v) = Fv. We now determine the values of f(v) for 1 v 24. We also determine the values of F (v) for 1 v 10 and v = 19, 20, 50. The authors of [13] determined the remaining values of f(v) for v 30 and F (v) for v 21; for the sake of completeness we include those values as well in the following theorem. Theorem 3.1 f(v) and F (v) have the following values: v f(v) F (v) v f(v) F (v) Proof: For 1 v 10, we have constructed {C 3, C 4 }-free graphs with v v 1/2 edges, which is the upper bound on f(v) from Theorem 2.2. These graphs are shown in Figure 1. It is not difficult to verify that Figure 1 provides a complete enumeration of the extremal graphs up to order 10. G G G G G G G a 4b 5 6a G 6b G 7 G G G Figure 1: All extremal graphs for the orders up to 10 We now provide the exact value of f(v), 11 v 24, with a case-by-case proof based on the values of v. To show that f(v) = m, we use the following strategy. First, with the aid of computer programs (as described in [11]), we generate a graph G v F v with m edges to show that f(v) m. Next, assume that there is a graph G F v with more than m edges. Using Propositions , we compute the possible values of δ and. Finally, assuming that G contains S,δ 1, we obtain a contradiction. Below we prove 4

6 G 19 has a unique set of three vertices that are mutually distance 3 apart (the shaded vertices outside the dodecagon in G 19 in Figure 2). By Propositions 2.6 and 2.7, δ = 3 for any extremal graph G of order 20. So G has a degree 3 vertex x such that G x is isomorphic to G 19. In addition, N(x) consists of the three vertices in G 19 that are pairwise distance 3 apart. Hence F (20) = 1. f(50) = 175 and F (50) = 1. The Hoffman-Singleton graph is {C 3, C 4 }-free and attains the upper bound on f(50) from Theorem 2.2. The uniqueness of the graph was shown in [14], [15], and by Cong and Schwenk in [18]. We note that some recent results of Professor McKay [16], who used an exhaustive computer search in several related problems, confirm our values of f(v). 4 Constructive lower bounds on f(v) for v 200 We have developed and implemented algorithms, combining hill-climbing [21] and backtracking techniques, that attempt to find maximal graphs without triangles or quadrilaterals; the algorithms are described in [11]. We have succeeded in generating graphs, with sizes greater than the lower bound presented in Section 2, for all orders from 25 to 200. We present these results in Table 1. Adjacency lists for the graphs appear f(v) Table 1: Constructive lower bounds on f(v) in [10]. We include in Table 1 the exact values of f(v) where they are known; those values are in bold face. The values of f(v) for 25 v 30 are determined in [13]. The fact that our algorithm repeatedly finds the unique extremal graph of order 50 in several seconds on a DECstation 5000 rated at 24 mips leads us to believe that these computed lower bounds are good. Figure 3 compares the computational and theoretical bounds. The upper bound is attained for v = 50, but after that point our computational results fall away. It is not clear whether the upper or lower bound seems to be closer to the asymptotic value of f(v); the upper bound might be attained on 3250 vertices. 6

7 G 15 G 11 G 12 G 13 G 14 G 18 G 16 G 17 G 19 G 21 G 22 G 23 G 24 Figure 2: Extremal graphs of orders 11 to 24 7

8 1500 Theoretical upper bound 1000 Computational lower bound Theoretical lower bound f(v) v Figure 3: Computational and theoretical bounds on f(v) Erdős conjecture that f(v) = (1/2 + o(1)) 3/2 v 3/2 remains unsolved. We hope this paper sheds some light on the problem. To improve the theoretical bounds of f(v), more properties of the extremal graphs need to be recognized. The extremal graphs seem to have a highly symmetric structure; it may be worthwhile to study the groups associated with them. Another interesting topic concerns the values of F (v). In particular, what are the necessary and/or sufficient conditions for F (v) = 1? Acknowledgment We would like to express our gratitude to Professor Simonovits for his valuable information and provision of many references. Special thanks are due to Dr. Werman, with whom the last two authors enjoyed many stimulating discussions during the early stage of the research. We are grateful to the referees for their useful comments, and especially to one of them for suggestions for improving the proof of f(16) = 28. The research of DKG was supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant CCR References [1] B. Bollobás, Extremal Graph Theory, Academic Press, New York, [2] J. A. Bondy, P. Erdős and S. Fajtlowicz, Graphs of diameter two with no 4-cycles, Research Report CORR 79/11, Dept. of Combinatorics & Optimization, Univ. of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, March 29, [3] W. G. Brown, On graphs that do not contain a Thomsen graph, Canad. Math. Bull. 9 (1966), [4] C. R. J. Clapham, A. Flockhart and J. Sheehan, Graphs without four-cycles, J. Graph Theory 13 (1989), [5] R. D. Dutton and R. C. Brigham, Edges in graphs with large girth, Graphs Combin. 7 (1991), [6] P. Erdős, Some recent progress on extremal problems in graph theory, Congres. Numer. 14 (1975), [7] P. Erdős, A. Rényi and V. T. Sós, On a problem of graph theory, Studia Sci. Math. Hungar. 1 (1966), [8] Z. Füredi, Graphs without quadrilaterals, J. Combin. Theory Ser. B 34 (1983), [9] Z. Füredi, Quadrilateral-free graphs with maximum number of edges, preprint. [10] D. K. Garnick, Y. H. Kwong, and F. Lazebnik, Graphs without three-cycles or four-cycles for each order from 25 to 200, Computer Science Research Rep. 91-2, Bowdoin College, Brunswick, ME,

9 [11] D. K. Garnick, Y. H. Kwong, and F. Lazebnik, Algorithmic search for extremal graphs of girth five, preprint. [12] D. K. Garnick, Y. H. Kwong, and F. Lazebnik, Extremal graphs of girth five, Research report 93-1, Dept. of Mathematical Sciences, U. Delaware, Newark, DE, Feb [13] D. K. Garnick and N. A. Nieuwejaar, Non-isomorphic extremal graphs without three-cycles or fourcycles, J. Combin. Math. Combin. Comput. 12 (1992), [14] A. J. Hoffman and R. R. Singleton, On Moore graphs with diameters 2 and 3, IBM J. Res. Develop. 4 (1960), [15] L. O. James, A combinatorial proof that the Moore (7, 2) graph is unique, Util. Math. 5 (1974), [16] B. D. McKay, Isomorph-free exhaustive generation, preprint. [17] N. Robertson, The smallest graph of girth 5 and valency 4, Bull. Amer. Math. Soc. 70 (1964), [18] A. J. Schwenk, Structure of the Hoffman-Singleton graph, Abstr. of Papers AMS 13 (1992), 423. [19] M. Simonovits, Extremal graph theory, in Selected Topics in Graph Theory Vol. 2, L. W. Beineke and R. R. Wilson, eds., Academic Press, New York, [20] R. Singleton, There is no irregular Moore graph, Amer. Math. Monthly 75 (1968), [21] D. Stinson, Hill-climbing algorithms for the construction of combinatorial designs, Ann. Discrete Math. 26 (1985), [22] P. K. Wong, Cages a survey, J. Graph Theory 6 (1982),

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