Adjacency Graphs of Polyhedral Surfaces

Authors Elena Arseneva , Linda Kleist , Boris Klemz , Maarten Löffler, André Schulz , Birgit Vogtenhuber , Alexander Wolff

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Author Details

Elena Arseneva
  • Saint Petersburg State University, Russia
Linda Kleist
  • Technische Universität Braunschweig, Germany
Boris Klemz
  • Universität Würzburg, Germany
Maarten Löffler
  • Utrecht University, The Netherlands
André Schulz
  • FernUniversität in Hagen, Germany
Birgit Vogtenhuber
  • Technische Universität Graz, Austria
Alexander Wolff
  • Universität Würzburg, Germany


We thank the organizers of Dagstuhl Seminar 19352 "Computation in Low-Dimensional Geometry and Topology" for bringing us together. We are particularly indebted to seminar participant Arnaud de Mesmay for asking a question that initiated our research. We also thank the anonymous referees of our EuroCG 2020 submission for their helpful comments.

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Elena Arseneva, Linda Kleist, Boris Klemz, Maarten Löffler, André Schulz, Birgit Vogtenhuber, and Alexander Wolff. Adjacency Graphs of Polyhedral Surfaces. In 37th International Symposium on Computational Geometry (SoCG 2021). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 189, pp. 11:1-11:17, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2021)


We study whether a given graph can be realized as an adjacency graph of the polygonal cells of a polyhedral surface in ℝ³. We show that every graph is realizable as a polyhedral surface with arbitrary polygonal cells, and that this is not true if we require the cells to be convex. In particular, if the given graph contains K_5, K_{5,81}, or any nonplanar 3-tree as a subgraph, no such realization exists. On the other hand, all planar graphs, K_{4,4}, and K_{3,5} can be realized with convex cells. The same holds for any subdivision of any graph where each edge is subdivided at least once, and, by a result from McMullen et al. (1983), for any hypercube. Our results have implications on the maximum density of graphs describing polyhedral surfaces with convex cells: The realizability of hypercubes shows that the maximum number of edges over all realizable n-vertex graphs is in Ω(n log n). From the non-realizability of K_{5,81}, we obtain that any realizable n-vertex graph has 𝒪(n^{9/5}) edges. As such, these graphs can be considerably denser than planar graphs, but not arbitrarily dense.

Subject Classification

ACM Subject Classification
  • Mathematics of computing → Graphs and surfaces
  • Mathematics of computing → Combinatoric problems
  • polyhedral complexes
  • realizability
  • contact representation


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