Thresholds and the structure of sparse random graphs
In this thesis, we obtain approximations to the non-3-colourability threshold of sparse random graphs and we investigate the structure of random graphs near the region where the transition from 3-colourability to non-3-colourability seems to occur. It has been observed that, as for many other properties, the property of non-3-colourability of graphs exhibits a sharp threshold behaviour. It is conjectured that there exists a critical average degree such that when the average degree of a random graph is around this value the probability of the random graph being non-3-colourable changes rapidly from near 0 to near 1. The difficulty in calculating the critical value arises because the number of proper 3-colourings of a random graph is not concentrated: there is a `jackpot' effect. In order to reduce this effect, we focus on a sub-family of proper 3-colourings, which are called rigid 3-colourings. We give precise estimates for their expected number and we deduce that when the average degree of a random graph is bigger than 5, then the graph is asymptotically almost surely not 3-colourable. After that, we investigate the non-$k$-colourability of random regular graphs for any $k \geq 3$. Using a first moment argument, for each $k \geq 3$ we provide a bound so that whenever the degree of the random regular graph is bigger than this, then the random regular graph is asymptotically almost surely not $k$-colourable. Moreover, in a (failed!) attempt to show that almost all 5-regular graphs are not 3-colourable, we analyse the expected number of rigid 3-colourings of a random 5-regular graph. Motivated by the fact that the transition from 3-colourability to non-3-colourability occurs inside the subgraph of the random graph that is called the 3-core, we investigate the structure of this subgraph after its appearance. Indeed, we do this for the $k$-core, for any $k \geq 2$; and by extending existing techniques we obtain the asymptotic behaviour of the proportion of vertices of each fixed degree. Finally, we apply these results in order to obtain a more clear view of the structure of the 2-core (or simply the core) of a random graph after the emergence of its giant component. We determine the asymptotic distributions of the numbers of isolated cycles in the core as well as of those cycles that are not isolated there having any fixed length. Then we focus on its giant component, and in particular we give the asymptotic distributions of the numbers of 2-vertex and 2-edge-connected components.