Eliminating cycles in the torus via isoperimetric inequalities

Eliminating cycles in the torus via isoperimetric inequalities

-
Noga Alon, Tel-Aviv University and IAS
Fine Hall 224

Let $G_{\infty}=(C_m^d)_{\infty}$ denote the graph whose set of vertices is $\{1,\ldots ,m\}^d$, where two distinct vertices are adjacent iff they are either equal or adjacent in $C_m$ in each coordinate. Let $G_{1}=(C_m^d)_1$ denote the graph on the same set of vertices in which two vertices are adjacent iff they are adjacent in one coordinate in $C_m$ and equal in all others. Both graphs can be viewed as graphs of the $d$-dimensional torus. We prove that one can delete $O(\sqrt d m^{d-1})$ vertices of $G_1$ so that no topologically nontrivial cycles remain. This improves an $O(d^{\log_2 (3/2)}m^{d-1})$ estimate of Bollob\'as, Kindler, Leader and O'Donnell. We also give a short proof of a result implicit in a recent paper of Raz: one can delete an $O(\sqrt d/m)$ fraction of the edges of $G_{\infty}$ so that no topologically nontrivial cycles remain in this graph. The technique also yields a short proof of a recent result of Kindler, O'Donnell, Rao and Wigderson; there is a subset of the continuous $d$-dimensional torus of surface area $O(\sqrt d)$ that intersects all nontrivial cycles. All proofs are based on the same general idea: the consideration of random shifts of a body with small boundary and no nontrivial cycles, whose existence is proved by applying the isoperimetric inequality of Cheeger or its vertex or edge discrete analogues. Joint work with Bo'az Klartag.