Coloring hypergraphs of low connectivity

Thomas Schweser, Michael Stiebitz, Bjarne Toft

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskning


For a hypergraph $G$, let $\chi(G), \Delta(G),$ and $\lambda(G)$ denote the chromatic number, the maximum degree, and the maximum local edge connectivity of $G$, respectively. A result of Rhys Price Jones from 1975 says that every connected hypergraph $G$ satisfies $\chi(G) \leq \Delta(G) + 1$ and equality holds if and only if $G$ is a complete graph, an odd cycle, or $G$ has just one (hyper-)edge. By a result of Bjarne Toft from 1970 it follows that every hypergraph $G$ satisfies $\chi(G) \leq \lambda(G) + 1$. In this paper, we show that a hypergraph $G$ with $\lambda(G) \geq 3$ satisfies $\chi(G) = \lambda(G) + 1$ if and only if $G$ contains a block which belongs to a family $\mathcal{H}_{\lambda(G)}$. The class $\mathcal{H}_3$ is the smallest family which contains all odd wheels and is closed under taking Haj\'os joins. For $k \geq 4$, the family $\mathcal{H}_k$ is the smallest that contains all complete graphs $K_{k+1}$ and is closed under Haj\'os joins. For the proofs of the above results we use critical hypergraphs. A hypergraph $G$ is called $(k+1)$-critical if $\chi(G)=k+1$, but $\chi(H)\leq k$ whenever $H$ is a proper subhypergraph of $G$. We give a characterization of $(k+1)$-critical hypergraphs having a separating edge set of size $k$ as well as a a characterization of $(k+1)$-critical hypergraphs having a separating vertex set of size $2$.
TidsskriftJournal of Combinatorics (Somerville)
StatusAfsendt - 22. jun. 2018


  • math.CO
  • 05C15