Two extensions of Ramsey's theorem

David Conlon, Jacob Fox, Benny Sudakov

Ramsey's theorem, in the version of Erd\H{o}s and Szekeres, states that every 2-coloring of the edges of the complete graph on {1, 2,...,n} contains a monochromatic clique of order 1/2\log n. In this paper, we consider two well-studied extensions of Ramsey's theorem. Improving a result of R\"odl, we show that there is a constant $c>0$ such that every 2-coloring of the edges of the complete graph on \{2, 3,...,n\} contains a monochromatic clique S for which the sum of 1/\log i over all vertices i \in S is at least c\log\log\log n. This is tight up to the constant factor c and answers a question of Erd\H{o}s from 1981. Motivated by a problem in model theory, V\"a\"an\"anen asked whether for every k there is an n such that the following holds. For every permutation \pi of 1,...,k-1, every 2-coloring of the edges of the complete graph on {1, 2, ..., n} contains a monochromatic clique a_1<...a_{\pi(2)+1}-a_{\pi(2)}>...>a_{\pi(k-1)+1}-a_{\pi(k-1)}. That is, not only do we want a monochromatic clique, but the differences between consecutive vertices must satisfy a prescribed order. Alon and, independently, Erd\H{o}s, Hajnal and Pach answered this question affirmatively. Alon further conjectured that the true growth rate should be exponential in k. We make progress towards this conjecture, obtaining an upper bound on n which is exponential in a power of k. This improves a result of Shelah, who showed that n is at most double-exponential in k.

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