Mathematics | Independent Sets, Covering and Matching

1. Independent Sets –

  • A set of vertices I is called independent set if no two vertices in set I are adjacent to each other or in other words the set of non-adjacent vertices is called independent set.
  • It is also called a stable set.
  • The parameter α0(G) = max { |I|: I is an independent set in G } is called independence number of G i.e the maximum number of non-adjacent vertices.
  • Any independent set I with |I| = α0(G) is called a maximum independent set.
  • For above given graph G, Independent sets are:

    I1 = {1}, I2 = {2}, I3 = {3}, I4 = {4}
    I5 = {1, 3} and I6 = {2, 4} 

    Therefore, maximum number of non-adjacent vertices i.e Independence number α0(G) = 2.

2. Vertex Covering –



  • A set of vertices K which can cover all the edges of graph G is called a vertex cover of G i.e. if every edge of G is covered by a vertex in set K.
  • The parameter β0(G) = min { |K|: K is a vertex cover of G } is called vertex covering number of G i.e the minimum number of vertices which can cover all the edges.
  • Any vertex cover K with |K| = β0(G) is called a minimum vertex cover.
  • For above given graph G, Vertex cover is:

    V1 = {1, 3}, V2 = {2, 4}, 
    V3 = {1, 2, 3}, V4 = {1, 2, 3, 4}, etc.  

    Therefore, minimum number of vertices which can cover all edges, i.e., Vertex covering number β0(G) = 2.


Notes –

  • I is an independent set in G iff V(G) – I is vertex cover of G.
  • For any graph G, α0(G) + β0(G) = n, where n is number of vertices in G.

Edge Covering –

  • A set of edges F which can cover all the vertices of graph G is called a edge cover of G i.e. if every vertex in G is incident with a edge in G.
  • The parameter β1(G) = min { |F|: F is an edge cover of G } is called edge covering number of G i.e sum of minimum number of edges which can cover all the vertices and number of isolated vertices(if exist).
  • Any edge cover F with |F| = β1(G) is called a minimum edge cover.

For above given graph G, Edge cover is:

E1 = {a, b, c, d}, 
E2 = {a, c} and E3 = {b, d}.  

Therefore, minimum number of edges which can cover all vertices, i.e., Edge covering number β1(G) = 2.


Note – For any graph G, α1(G) + β1(G) = n, where n is number of vertices in G.

3. Matching –

  • The set of non-adjacent edges is called matching i.e independent set of edges in G such that no two edges are adjacent in the set.
  • he parameter α1(G) = max { |M|: M is a matching in G } is called matching number of G i.e the maximum number of non-adjacent edges.
  • Any matching M with |M| = α1(G) is called a maximum matching.

For above given graph G, Matching are:

M1 = {a}, M2 = {b}, M3 = {c}, M4 = {d}
M5 = {a, c} and M6 = {b, d} 

Therefore, maximum number of non-adjacent edges i.e matching number α1(G) = 2.



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