# connected poset

Let $P$ be a poset. Write $a\perp b$ if either $a\leq b$ or $b\leq a$. In other words, $a\perp b$ if $a$ and $b$ are comparable. A poset $P$ is said to be connected if for every pair $a,b\in P$, there is a finite sequence $a=c_{1},c_{2},\ldots,c_{n}=b$, with each $c_{i}\in P$, such that $c_{i}\perp c_{i+1}$ for each $i=1,2,\ldots,n-1$.

For example, a poset with the property that any two elements are either bounded from above or bounded from below is a connected poset. In particular, every semilattice is connected. A fence is always connected. If $P$ has more than one element and contains an element that is both maximal and minimal, then it is not connected. A connected component in a poset $P$ is a maximal connected subposet. In the last example, the maximal-minimal point is a component in $P$. Any poset can be written as a disjoint union of its components.

It is true that a poset is connected if its corresponding Hasse diagram is a connected graph. However, the converse is not true. Before we see an example of this, let us recall how to construct a Hasse diagram from a poset $P$. The diagram so constructed is going to be an undirected graph (since this is all we need in our discussion). Draw an edge between $a,b\in P$ if either $a$ covers $b$ or $b$ covers $a$. Let us denote this relation between $a$ and $b$ by $a\asymp b$. Let $E$ be the collection of all these edges. Then $G=(P,E)$ is a graph where elements of $P$ serve as vertices and $E$ as the constructed edges. From this construction, one sees that a finite path exists between $a,b\in V(G)=P$ if there is a finite sequence $a=d_{0},d_{1},\ldots,d_{m}=b$, with each $d_{i}\in V(G)$, such that $d_{i}\asymp d_{i+1}$ for $i=1,\ldots,m-1$. In other words, $a$ and $b$ can be “joined” by a finite number of edges, such that $a$ is a vertex on the first edge and $b$ is the vertex on the last edge.

As promised, here is an example of a connected poset whose underlying Hasse diagram is not connected. take the real line $\mathbb{R}$ with $\infty$ adjoined to the right (meaning every element $r\in\mathbb{R}$ is less than or equal to $\infty$). Then the resulting poset is connected, but its underlying Hasse diagram is not, since no element in $\mathbb{R}$ can be joined to $\infty$ by a finite path.

Title connected poset ConnectedPoset 2013-03-22 17:08:31 2013-03-22 17:08:31 CWoo (3771) CWoo (3771) 6 CWoo (3771) Definition msc 06A07 ConnectedGraph connected connected component