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Completions of epsilon-dense partial Latin squares


Bartlett, Padraic James (2013) Completions of epsilon-dense partial Latin squares. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology.


A classical question in combinatorics is the following: given a partial Latin square $P$, when can we complete $P$ to a Latin square $L$? In this paper, we investigate the class of textbf{$epsilon$-dense partial Latin squares}: partial Latin squares in which each symbol, row, and column contains no more than $epsilon n$-many nonblank cells. Based on a conjecture of Nash-Williams, Daykin and H"aggkvist conjectured that all $frac{1}{4}$-dense partial Latin squares are completable. In this paper, we will discuss the proof methods and results used in previous attempts to resolve this conjecture, introduce a novel technique derived from a paper by Jacobson and Matthews on generating random Latin squares, and use this novel technique to study $ epsilon$-dense partial Latin squares that contain no more than $delta n^2$ filled cells in total.

In Chapter 2, we construct completions for all $ epsilon$-dense partial Latin squares containing no more than $delta n^2$ filled cells in total, given that $epsilon < frac{1}{12}, delta < frac{ left(1-12epsilonright)^{2}}{10409}$. In particular, we show that all $9.8 cdot 10^{-5}$-dense partial Latin squares are completable. In Chapter 4, we augment these results by roughly a factor of two using some probabilistic techniques. These results improve prior work by Gustavsson, which required $epsilon = delta leq 10^{-7}$, as well as Chetwynd and H"aggkvist, which required $epsilon = delta = 10^{-5}$, $n$ even and greater than $10^7$.

If we omit the probabilistic techniques noted above, we further show that such completions can always be found in polynomial time. This contrasts a result of Colbourn, which states that completing arbitrary partial Latin squares is an NP-complete task. In Chapter 3, we strengthen Colbourn's result to the claim that completing an arbitrary $left(frac{1}{2} + epsilonright)$-dense partial Latin square is NP-complete, for any $epsilon > 0$.

Colbourn's result hinges heavily on a connection between triangulations of tripartite graphs and Latin squares. Motivated by this, we use our results on Latin squares to prove that any tripartite graph $G = (V_1, V_2, V_3)$ such that begin{itemize} item $|V_1| = |V_2| = |V_3| = n$, item For every vertex $v in V_i$, $deg_+(v) = deg_-(v) geq (1- epsilon)n,$ and item $|E(G)| > (1 - delta)cdot 3n^2$ end{itemize} admits a triangulation, if $epsilon < frac{1}{132}$, $delta < frac{(1 -132epsilon)^2 }{83272}$. In particular, this holds when $epsilon = delta=1.197 cdot 10^{-5}$.

This strengthens results of Gustavsson, which requires $epsilon = delta = 10^{-7}$.

In an unrelated vein, Chapter 6 explores the class of textbf{quasirandom graphs}, a notion first introduced by Chung, Graham and Wilson cite{chung1989quasi} in 1989. Roughly speaking, a sequence of graphs is called "quasirandom"' if it has a number of properties possessed by the random graph, all of which turn out to be equivalent. In this chapter, we study possible extensions of these results to random $k$-edge colorings, and create an analogue of Chung, Graham and Wilson's result for such colorings.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:Latin squares, partial Latin squares, quasirandom graphs
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Physics, Mathematics and Astronomy
Major Option:Mathematics
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Wilson, Richard M.
Thesis Committee:
  • Wilson, Richard M. (chair)
  • Wales, David B.
  • Kechris, Alexander S.
  • Omar, Mohamed
Defense Date:28 May 2013
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:06032013-015803040
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:7819
Deposited By: Padraic Bartlett
Deposited On:06 Jun 2013 19:00
Last Modified:27 Mar 2015 16:44

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