For a graph $G$, the $k$-colour Ramsey number $R_k(G)$ is the least integer $N$ such that every $k$-colouring of the edges of the complete graph $K_N$ contains a monochromatic copy of $G$. Let $C_n$ denote the cycle on $n$ vertices. We show that for fixed $k\geq2$ and $n$ odd and sufficiently large,

$$

R_k(C_n)=2^{k-1}(n-1)+1.

$$

This resolves a conjecture of Bondy and Erdős for large $n$. The proof is analytic in nature, the first step of which is to use the regularity method to relate this problem in Ramsey theory to one in nonlinear optimisation. This allows us to prove a stability-type generalisation of the above and establish a correspondence between extremal $k$-colourings for this problem and perfect matchings in the $k$-dimensional hypercube $Q_k$.

# Past Combinatorial Theory Seminar

In joint work with Olof Sisask, we establish new quantitative bounds for Roth's theorem on arithmetic progressions, showing that a set of integers with no three-term arithmetic progressions must have density O(1/(log N)^{1+c}) for some absolute constant c>0. This is the integer analogue of a result of Bateman and Katz for the model setting of vector spaces over a finite field, and the proof follows a similar structure.

The threshold for existence of a giant component in a random graph with given vertex degrees was found by Molloy and Reed (1995), and several authors have since studied the size of the largest and other components in various cases. The critical window was found by Hatami and Molloy (2012), and has a width that depends on whether the asymptotic degree distribution has a finite third moment or not. I will describe some new results (joint work with Remco van der Hofstad and Malwina Luczak) on the barely supercritical case, where this difference between finite and infinite third moment also is seen.

'Erdős-Ko-Rado type problems' are well-studied in extremal combinatorics; they concern the sizes of families of objects in which any two (or any $r$) of the objects in the family 'agree', or 'intersect', in some way.

If $X$ is a finite set, the '$p$-biased measure' on the power-set of $X$ is defined as follows: choose a subset $S$ of $X$ at random by including each element of $X$ independently with probability $p$. If $\mathcal{F}$ is a family of subsets of $X$, one can consider the $p$-biased measure of $\mathcal{F}$, denoted by $\mu_p(\mathcal{F})$, as a function of $p$. If $\mathcal{F}$ is closed under taking supersets, then this function is an increasing function of $p$. Seminal results of Friedgut and Friedgut-Kalai give criteria under which this function has a 'sharp threshold'. Perhaps surprisingly, a careful analysis of the behaviour of this function also yields some rather strong results in extremal combinatorics which do not explicitly mention the $p$-biased measure - in particular, in the field of Erdős-Ko-Rado type problems. We will discuss some of these, including a recent proof of an old conjecture of Frankl that a symmetric three-wise intersecting family of subsets of $\{1,2,\ldots,n\}$ has size $o(2^n)$, and some 'stability' results characterizing the structure of 'large' $t$-intersecting families of $k$-element subsets of $\{1,2,\ldots,n\}$. Based on joint work with (subsets of) Nathan Keller, Noam Lifschitz and Bhargav Narayanan.

A Steiner Triple System on a set X is a collection T of 3-element subsets of X such that every pair of elements of X is contained in exactly one of the triples in T. An example considered by Plücker in 1835 is the affine plane of order three, which consists of 12 triples on a set of 9 points. Plücker observed that a necessary condition for the existence of a Steiner Triple System on a set with n elements is that n be congruent to 1 or 3 mod 6. In 1846, Kirkman showed that this necessary condition is also sufficient. In 1974, Wilson conjectured an approximate formula for the number of such systems. We will outline a proof of this

conjecture, and a more general estimate for the number of Steiner systems. Our main tool is the technique of Randomised Algebraic Construction, which

we introduced to resolve a question of Steiner from 1853 on the existence of designs.

We purify and generalize some techniques which were successful in the limit theory of graphs and other discrete structures. We demonstrate how this technique can be used for solving different combinatorial problems, by defining the limit problems of the Manickam--Miklós--Singhi Conjecture, the Kikuta–Ruckle Conjecture and Alpern's Caching Game.

Many of the fastest known algorithms for factoring large integers rely on finding subsequences of randomly generated sequences of integers whose product is a perfect square. Motivated by this, in 1994 Pomerance posed the problem of determining the threshold of the event that a random sequence of N integers, each chosen uniformly from the set

{1,...,x}, contains a subsequence, the product of whose elements is a perfect square. In 1996, Pomerance gave good bounds on this threshold and also conjectured that it is sharp.

In a paper published in Annals of Mathematics in 2012, Croot, Granville, Pemantle and Tetali significantly improved these bounds, and stated a conjecture as to the location of this sharp threshold. In recent work, we have confirmed this conjecture. In my talk, I shall give a brief overview of some of the ideas used in the proof, which relies on techniques from number theory, combinatorics and stochastic processes. Joint work with Béla Bollobás and Robert Morris.

For a fixed degree sequence D=(d_1,...,d_n), let G(D) be a uniformly chosen (simple) graph on {1,...,n} where the vertex i has degree d_i. The study of G(D) is of special interest in order to model real-world networks that can be described by their degree sequence, such as scale-free networks. While many aspects of G(D) have been extensively studied, most of the obtained results only hold provided that the degree sequence D satisfies some technical conditions. In this talk we will introduce a new approach (based on the switching method) that allows us to study the random graph G(D) imposing no conditions on D. Most notably, this approach provides a new criterion on the existence of a giant component in G(D). Moreover, this method is also useful to determine whether there exists a percolation threshold in G(D). The first part of this talk is joint work with F. Joos, D. Rautenbach and B. Reed, and the second part, with N. Fountoulakis and F. Joos.

For any given graph H, we may define a natural corresponding functional ||.||_H. We then say that H is norming if ||.||_H is a semi-norm. A similar notion ||.||_{r(H)} is defined by || f ||_{r(H)}:=|| | f | ||_H and H is said to be weakly norming if ||.||_{r(H)} is a norm. Classical results show that weakly norming graphs are necessarily bipartite. In the other direction, Hatami showed that even cycles, complete bipartite graphs, and hypercubes are all weakly norming. Using results from the theory of finite reflection groups, we demonstrate that any graph which is edge-transitive under the action of a certain natural family of automorphisms is weakly norming. This result includes all previous examples of weakly norming graphs and adds many more. We also include several applications of our results. In particular, we define and compare a number of generalisations of Gowers' octahedral norms and we prove some new instances of Sidorenko's conjecture. Joint work with David Conlon.

In the theory of random graphs, the behaviour of the typical largest component was studied a lot. The initial results on G(n,m), the random graph on n vertices and m edges, are due to Erdős and Rényi. Recently, similar results for planar graphs were obtained by Kang and Łuczak.

In the first part of the talk, we will extend these results on the size of the largest component further to graphs embeddable on the orientable surface S_g of genus g>0 and see how the asymptotic number and properties of cubic graphs embeddable on S_g are used to obtain those results. Then we will go through the main steps necessary to obtain the asymptotic number of cubic graphs and point out the main differences to the corresponding results for planar graphs. In the end we will give a short outlook to graphs embeddable on surfaces with non-constant genus, especially which results generalise and which problems are still open.