# hypergraph

A hypergraph  $\mathcal{H}$ is an ordered pair $(V,\mathcal{E})$ where $V$ is a set of vertices and $\mathcal{E}$ is a set of edges such that $\mathcal{E}\subseteq\mathcal{P}(V)$. In other words, an edge is nothing more than a set of vertices. A hypergraph is the same thing as a simple incidence structure, but with terminology that focuses on the relationship with graphs.

Sometimes it is desirable to restrict this definition more. The empty hypergraph is not very interesting, so we usually accept that $V\not=\emptyset$. Singleton edges are allowed in general, but not the empty one. Most applications consider only finite hypergraphs, but occasionally it is also useful to allow $V$ to be infinite  .

Many of the definitions of graphs carry verbatim to hypergraphs.

$\mathcal{H}$ is said to be $k$-uniform if every edge $e\in\mathcal{E}$ has cardinality $k$, and is uniform if it is $k$-uniform for some $k$. An ordinary graph is merely a $2-$uniform hypergraph.

The degree of a vertex $v$ is the number of edges in $\mathcal{E}$ that contain this vertex, often denoted $d(v)$. $\mathcal{H}$ is $k$-regular    if every vertex has degree $k$, and is said to be regular if it is $k$-regular for some $k$.

Let $V=\{v_{1},v_{2},~{}\ldots,~{}v_{n}\}$ and $\mathcal{E}=\{e_{1},e_{2},~{}\ldots,~{}e_{m}\}$. Associated to any hypergraph is the $n\times m$ incidence matrix $A=(a_{ij})$ where

 $a_{ij}=\begin{cases}1&\text{ if }~{}v_{i}\in e_{j}\\ 0&\text{ otherwise }\end{cases}$

For example, let $\mathcal{H}=(V,\mathcal{E})$, where $V=\{a,b,c\}$ and $\mathcal{E}=\{\{a\},\{a,b\},\{a,c\},\{a,b,c\}\}$. Defining $v_{i}$ and $e_{j}$ in the obvious manner (as they are listed in the sets), we have

$A=\begin{pmatrix}1&1&1&1\\ 0&1&0&1\\ 0&0&1&1\end{pmatrix}$

Notice that the sum of the entries in any column is the cardinality of the corresponding edge. Similarly, the sum of the entries in a particular row is the degree of the corresponding vertex.

The transpose $A^{t}$ of the incidence matrix also defines a hypergraph $\mathcal{H}^{*}$, the dual of $\mathcal{H}$, in an obvious manner. To be explicit, let $\mathcal{H}^{*}=(V^{*},\mathcal{E}^{*})$ where $V^{*}$ is an $m$-element set and $\mathcal{E}^{*}$ is an $n$-element set of subsets of $V^{*}$. For $v^{*}_{j}\in V^{*}$ and $e^{*}_{i}\in\mathcal{E}^{*},~{}v^{*}_{j}\in e^{*}_{i}$ if and only if $a_{ij}=1$.

Continuing from the example above, the dual $\mathcal{H}^{*}$ of $\mathcal{H}$ consists of $V^{*}=\{x,y,z,t\}$ and $\mathcal{E}^{*}=\{\{x,y,z,t\},\{y,t\},\{z,t\}\}$, where $v^{*}_{j}$ and $e^{*}_{i}$ are defined in the obvious manner.

By the remark immediately after the definition of the incidence matrix of a hypergraph, it is easy to see that the dual of a uniform hypergraph is regular and vice-versa. It is not rare to see fruitful results emerge by considering the dual of a hypergraph.

 Title hypergraph Canonical name Hypergraph Date of creation 2013-03-22 13:05:29 Last modified on 2013-03-22 13:05:29 Owner CWoo (3771) Last modified by CWoo (3771) Numerical id 24 Author CWoo (3771) Entry type Definition Classification msc 05C65 Synonym metacategory Synonym multi-graph Synonym colored graph Related topic SteinerSystem Related topic IncidenceStructures Related topic ToposAxioms Related topic TopicEntryOnTheAlgebraicFoundationsOfMathematics Related topic GraphTheory Related topic ETAS Related topic AxiomsOfMetacategoriesAndSupercategories Defines incidence matrix Defines uniform hypergraph Defines regular hypergraph