Graphs that are critical for the packing chromatic number

Research paper by Boštjan Brešar, Jasmina Ferme

Indexed on: 14 Aug '19Published on: 23 Apr '19Published in: arXiv - Mathematics - Combinatorics


Given a graph $G$, a coloring $c:V(G)\longrightarrow \{1,\ldots,k\}$ such that $c(u)=c(v)=i$ implies that vertices $u$ and $v$ are at distance greater than $i$, is called a packing coloring of $G$. The minimum number of colors in a packing coloring of $G$ is called the packing chromatic number of $G$, and is denoted by $\chi_\rho(G)$. In this paper, we propose the study of $\chi_\rho$-critical graphs, which are the graphs $G$ such that for any proper subgraph $H$ of $G$, $\chi_\rho(H)<\chi_\rho(G)$. We characterize $\chi_\rho$-critical graphs with diameter 2, and $\chi_\rho$-critical block graphs with diameter 3. Furthermore, we characterize $\chi_\rho$-critical graphs with small packing chromatic numbers, and we also consider $\chi_\rho$-critical trees. In addition, we prove that for any graph $G$ with $e\in E(G)$, we have $(\chi_\rho(G)+1)/2\le \chi_\rho(G-e)\le \chi_\rho(G)$, and provide a corresponding realization result, which shows that $\chi_\rho(G-e)$ can achieve any of the integers between the bounds.