Centre for Discrete and Applicable Mathematics

 CDAM Research Report, LSE-CDAM-2001-06

September 2001

Algebraic Methods for Chromatic Polynomials

N. L. Biggs, M. H. Klin, and P. Reinfeld


In this paper we discuss the chromatic polynomial of a `bracelet', when the base graph is a complete graph and arbitrary links between the copies are allowed. The resulting graph will be denoted by Ln(b). We show that the chromatic polynomial of Ln(b) can be written in the form

\begin{displaymath}P(L_n(b); k) \; = \; \sum_{\ell =0}^{b} \sum_{\pi \vdash \ell} m_{\pi}(k)
\; {\rm tr}(N_L^{\pi})^n.\end{displaymath}

Here the notation $\pi\vdash\ell$ means that $\pi$ is a partition of $\ell$, and $m_{\pi}(k)$ is a polynomial that does not depend on L. The square matrix $N_L^{\pi}$ has size $\binom{b}{\ell}n_{\pi}$, where $n_\pi$ is the degree of the representation $R^{\pi}$ of $Sym_{\ell}$ associated with $\pi$.
We derive an explicit formula for $m_{\pi}(k)$ and describe a method for calculating the matrices $N_L^{\pi}$. Examples are given. Finally, we discuss the application of these results to the problem of locating the chromatic zeros.

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