Weak Coloring Numbers of Intersection Graphs

Authors Zdeněk Dvořák , Jakub Pekárek, Torsten Ueckerdt, Yelena Yuditsky

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Author Details

Zdeněk Dvořák
  • Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic
Jakub Pekárek
  • Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic
Torsten Ueckerdt
  • Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany
Yelena Yuditsky
  • Université Libre de Bruxelles, Brussels, Belgium


This research was carried out at the workshop on Generalized Coloring Numbers organized by Michał Pilipczuk and Piotr Micek in February 2021. We would like to thank the organizers and all participants for creating a friendly and productive environment. Special thanks go to Stefan Felsner for fruitful discussions.

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Zdeněk Dvořák, Jakub Pekárek, Torsten Ueckerdt, and Yelena Yuditsky. Weak Coloring Numbers of Intersection Graphs. In 38th International Symposium on Computational Geometry (SoCG 2022). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 224, pp. 39:1-39:15, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2022)


Weak and strong coloring numbers are generalizations of the degeneracy of a graph, where for a positive integer k, we seek a vertex ordering such that every vertex can (weakly respectively strongly) reach in k steps only few vertices that precede it in the ordering. Both notions capture the sparsity of a graph or a graph class, and have interesting applications in structural and algorithmic graph theory. Recently, Dvořák, McCarty, and Norin observed a natural volume-based upper bound for the strong coloring numbers of intersection graphs of well-behaved objects in ℝ^d, such as homothets of a compact convex object, or comparable axis-aligned boxes. In this paper, we prove upper and lower bounds for the k-th weak coloring numbers of these classes of intersection graphs. As a consequence, we describe a natural graph class whose strong coloring numbers are polynomial in k, but the weak coloring numbers are exponential. We also observe a surprising difference in terms of the dependence of the weak coloring numbers on the dimension between touching graphs of balls (single-exponential) and hypercubes (double-exponential).

Subject Classification

ACM Subject Classification
  • Mathematics of computing → Combinatoric problems
  • Mathematics of computing → Graph coloring
  • geometric intersection graphs
  • weak and strong coloring numbers


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