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Homomorphism bounds of signed bipartite K4-minor-free graphs and edge-colorings of 2k-regular K4-minor-free multigraphs

Abstract : A signed graph $(G, \Sigma)$ is a graph $G$ and a subset $\Sigma$ of its edges which corresponds to an assignment of signs to the edges: edges in $\Sigma$ are negative while edges not in $\Sigma$ are positive. A closed walk of a signed graph is balanced if the product of the signs of its edges (repetitions included) is positive, and unbalanced otherwise. The unbalanced-girth of a signed graph is the length of a shortest unbalanced closed walk (if such a walk exists). A homomorphism of $(G,\Sigma)$ to $(H,\Pi)$ is a homomorphism of $G$ to $H$ which preserves the balance of closed walks. In this work, given a signed bipartite graph $(B, \Pi)$ of unbalanced-girth $2k$, we give a necessary and sufficient condition for $(B, \Pi)$ to admit a homomorphism from any signed bipartite graph of unbalanced-girth at least $2k$ whose underlying graph is $K_4$-minor-free. The condition can be checked in polynomial time with respect to the order of $B$. Let $SPC(2k)$ be the signed bipartite graph on vertex set $\mathbb{Z}_2^{2k-1}$ where vertices $u$ and $v$ are adjacent with a positive edge if their difference is in $\{e_1,e_2, \ldots, e_{2k-1}\}$ (where the $e_i$'s form the standard basis), and adjacent with a negative edge if their difference is $J$ (that is, the all-1 vector). As an application of our work, we prove that every signed bipartite $K_4$-minor-free graph of unbalanced-girth $2k$ admits a homomorphism to $SPC(2k)$. This supports a conjecture of Guenin claiming that every signed bipartite planar graph of unbalanced-girth $2k$ admits a homomorphism to $SPC(2k)$ (this would be an extension of the four-color theorem). We also give an application of our work to edge-coloring $2k$-regular $K_4$-minor-free multigraphs.
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Laurent Beaudou, Florent Foucaud, Reza Naserasr. Homomorphism bounds of signed bipartite K4-minor-free graphs and edge-colorings of 2k-regular K4-minor-free multigraphs. Discrete Applied Mathematics, Elsevier, 2019, 261, pp.40-51. ⟨10.1016/j.dam.2018.09.004⟩. ⟨hal-01915269⟩

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