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Edge-Coloring Geometric Graphs(Problem 75)


  • For a set of n points in the plane in general position, draw a straight segment between every pair of points. What is the minimum number of colors that suffice to color the edges such that no two edges that cross have the same color?
  • It has been conjectured that (1 – ε)*n is an upper bound for some ε > 0.
approaching the problem
Approaching The Problem
  • Even Complete Graphs [n = 2x]
    • Does every such graph have a partition of its edge set into plane spanning trees?
    • The complete graph of n vertices has edges
    • A spanning tree has edges, so can have trees (lower bound)
    • Then color each spanning tree a separate color
  • n = 6, complete graph
  • 3 spanning trees
approaching the problem1
Approaching The Problem
  • Convex Graphs – a geometric graph with the vertices in convex position
  • Partition the graph into spanning caterpillar trees.
  • A caterpillar is a tree such that deleting its leaves and leaf edges leaves a path.
approaching the problem2
Approaching The Problem
  • What about a general complete even graph?
  • Sufficient Condition: partition graph into spanning double stars.
  • Double Star – A graph with at most two non-leaf vertices.
  • Proof – in fig.8, assume a circle C and set of lines L,s.t. pts. of graph lie in the interior of C,s.t. only one pt. in each partition of C by L=> can make spanning double star:
  • Graphs with arbitrary no. of vertices
    • Using non-spanning trees
    • Every complete graph with k crossings can be partitioned into (n-k) plane trees. [lemma-14, [2]]
    • Aronov et al. [3] proved that every complete geometric graph Kn has at least √n/12 pairwise crossing edges (called a crossing family).
    • (n - √n/12) plane trees
  • Is there an ϵ > 0, such that every complete geometric graph Kn can be partitioned into at most (1 − ϵ )n plane subgraphs?


  • G. Araujo, Adrian Gumitrescu, Ferran Hurtado, M. Noy, and J. Urrutia, “On the chromatic number of some geometric type Kneser graphs.” Comput. Geom. Theory Appl., 32(1):59-69, 2005.
  • Prosenjit Bose, Ferran Hurtado, Eduardo Rivera-Campo, and David R. Wood, “Partitions of complete geometric graphs into plane trees.” Comput. Geom. Theory Appl., 34(2):116-125, 2006.
  • B. Arronov, P. Erds, W. Goddard, D. J. Kleitman, M. Klugerman, J. Pach, and L. J. Schulman, “Crossing Families.” Combinatorica 14 (1994), 127-134;