The Chromatic Number of Dense Random Graphs

9 February 2016
Annika Heckel

The chromatic number of the Erdős–Rényi random graph G(n,p) has been an intensely studied subject since at least the 1970s. A celebrated breakthrough by Bollobás in 1987 first established the asymptotic value of the chromatic number of G(n,1/2), and a considerable amount of effort has since been spent on refining Bollobás' approach, resulting in increasingly accurate bounds. Despite this, up until now there has been a gap of size O(1) in the denominator between the best known upper and lower bounds for the chromatic number of dense random graphs G(n,p) where p is constant. In contrast, much more is known in the sparse case.

In this talk, new upper and lower bounds for the chromatic number of G(n,p) where p is constant will be presented which match each other up to a term of size o(1) in the denominator. In particular, they narrow down the optimal colouring rate, defined as the average colour class size in a colouring with the minimum number of colours, to an interval of length o(1). These bounds were obtained through a careful application of the second moment method rather than a variant of Bollobás' method. Somewhat surprisingly, the behaviour of the chromatic number changes around p=1-1/e^2, with a different limiting effect being dominant below and above this value.

  • Combinatorial Theory Seminar