Colouring Lines in Projective Space

Research paper by Ameera Chowdhury, Chris Godsil, Gordon Royle

Indexed on: 15 Jul '05Published on: 15 Jul '05Published in: Mathematics - Combinatorics


Let $V$ be a vector space of dimension $v$ over a field of order $q$. The $q$-Kneser graph has the $k$-dimensional subspaces of $V$ as its vertices, where two subspaces $\alpha$ and $\beta$ are adjacent if and only if $\alpha\cap\beta$ is the zero subspace. This paper is motivated by the problem of determining the chromatic numbers of these graphs. This problem is trivial when $k=1$ (and the graphs are complete) or when $v<2k$ (and the graphs are empty). We establish some basic theory in the general case. Then specializing to the case $k=2$, we show that the chromatic number is $q^2+q$ when $v=4$ and $(q^{v-1}-1)/(q-1)$ when $v > 4$. In both cases we characterise the minimal colourings.