Polygon-circle and word-representable graphs

Jessica Enright, Sergey Kitaev

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3 Citations (Scopus)
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We describe work on the relationship between the independently-studied polygon-circle graphs and word-representable graphs. A graph G = (V, E) is word-representable if there exists a word w over the alpha-bet V such that letters x and y form a subword of the form xyxy ⋯ or yxyx ⋯ iff xy is an edge in E. Word-representable graphs generalise several well-known and well-studied classes of graphs [S. Kitaev, A Comprehensive Introduction to the Theory of Word-Representable Graphs, Lecture Notes in Computer Science 10396 (2017) 36–67; S. Kitaev, V. Lozin, “Words and Graphs” Springer, 2015]. It is known that any word-representable graph is k-word-representable, that is, can be represented by a word having exactly k copies of each letter for some k dependent on the graph. Recognising whether a graph is word-representable is NP-complete ([S. Kitaev, V. Lozin, “Words and Graphs” Springer, 2015, Theorem 4.2.15]). A polygon-circle graph (also known as a spider graph) is the intersection graph of a set of polygons inscribed in a circle [M. Koebe, On a new class of intersection graphs, Ann. Discrete Math. (1992) 141–143]. That is, two vertices of a graph are adjacent if their respective polygons have a non-empty intersection, and the set of polygons that correspond to vertices in this way are said to represent the graph. Recognising whether an input graph is a polygon-circle graph is NP-complete [M. Pergel, Recognition of polygon-circle graphs and graphs of interval filaments is NP-complete, Graph-Theoretic Concepts in Computer Science: 33rd Int. Workshop, Lecture Notes in Computer Science, 4769 (2007) 238–247]. We show that neither of these two classes is included in the other one by showing that the word-representable Petersen graph and crown graphs are not polygon-circle, while the non-word-representable wheel graph W 5 is polygon-circle. We also provide a more refined result showing that for any k ≥ 3, there are k-word-representable graphs which are neither (k −1)-word-representable nor polygon-circle.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-8
Number of pages6
JournalElectronic Notes in Discrete Mathematics
Publication statusPublished - 20 Mar 2019
Event2nd IMA Conference on Theoretical and Computational Discrete Mathematics - University of Derby, Derby, United Kingdom
Duration: 14 Sept 201815 Sept 2018


  • Petersen graph
  • polygon-circle graph
  • word-representable graph
  • circle graphs
  • computation


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