On the structure of subsets of the discrete cube with small edge boundary

Research paper by David Ellis, Nathan Keller, Noam Lifshitz

Indexed on: 20 Dec '16Published on: 20 Dec '16Published in: arXiv - Mathematics - Combinatorics


The edge isoperimetric inequality in the discrete cube specifies, for each pair of integers $m$ and $n$, the minimum size $g_n(m)$ of the edge boundary of an $m$-element subset of $\{0,1\}^{n}$; the extremal families (up to automorphisms of the discrete cube) are initial segments of the lexicographic ordering on $\{0,1\}^n$. We show that for any $m$-element subset $\mathcal{F} \subset \{0,1\}^n$ and any integer $l$, if the edge boundary of $\mathcal{F}$ has size at most $g_n(m)+l$, then there exists an extremal family $\mathcal{G} \subset \{0,1\}^n$ such that $|\mathcal{F} \Delta \mathcal{G}| \leq Cl$, where $C$ is an absolute constant. This is best-possible, up to the value of $C$. Our result can be seen as a `stability' version of the edge isoperimetric inequality in the discrete cube, and as a discrete analogue of the seminal stability result of Fusco, Maggi and Pratelli concerning the isoperimetric inequality in Euclidean space.