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Concept# Edge coloring

Summary

In graph theory, a proper edge coloring of a graph is an assignment of "colors" to the edges of the graph so that no two incident edges have the same color. For example, the figure to the right shows an edge coloring of a graph by the colors red, blue, and green. Edge colorings are one of several different types of graph coloring. The edge-coloring problem asks whether it is possible to color the edges of a given graph using at most k different colors, for a given value of k, or with the fewest possible colors. The minimum required number of colors for the edges of a given graph is called the chromatic index of the graph. For example, the edges of the graph in the illustration can be colored by three colors but cannot be colored by two colors, so the graph shown has chromatic index three.
By Vizing's theorem, the number of colors needed to edge color a simple graph is either its maximum degree Δ or Δ+1. For some graphs, such as bipartite grap

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We extend the traditional spectral invariants (spectrum and angles) by a stronger polynomial time computable graph invariant based on the angles between projections of standard basis vectors into the eigenspaces (in addition to the usual angles between standard basis vectors and eigenspaces). The exact power of the new invariant is still an open problem. We also define combinatorial invariants based on standard graph isomorphism heuristics and compare their strengths with the spectral invariants. In particular, we show that a simple edge coloring invariant is at least as powerful as all these spectral invariants. (C) 2009 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Vizing's celebrated theorem asserts that any graph of maximum degree Delta admits an edge coloring using at most Delta + 1 colors. In contrast, Bar-Noy, Motwani and Naor showed over a quarter century ago that the trivial greedy algorithm, which uses 2 Delta - 1 colors, is optimal among online algorithms. Their lower bound has a caveat, however: it only applies to low-degree graphs, with Delta = O(log n), and they conjectured the existence of online algorithms using Delta (1+o(1)) colors for Delta = omega(log n). Progress towards resolving this conjecture was only made under stochastic arrivals (Aggarwal et al., FOCS'03 and Bahmani et al., SODA'10). We resolve the above conjecture for adversarial vertex arrivals in bipartite graphs, for which we present a (1+o(1))Delta-edge-coloring algorithm for Delta = omega(log n) known a priori. Surprisingly, if Delta is not known ahead of time, we show that no (e/e-1 - Omega(1)) Delta-edge-coloring algorithm exists. We then provide an optimal, (e/e-1 + o(1))Delta-edge-coloring algorithm for unknown Delta = omega(log n). To obtain our results, we study a nonstandard fractional relaxation for edge coloring, for which we present optimal fractional online algorithms and a near-lossless online rounding scheme, yielding our optimal randomized algorithms.

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