Switching with more than two colours

Peter J. Cameron*, Sam Tarzi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


The operation of switching a finite graph was introduced by Seidel, in the study of strongly regular graphs. We may conveniently regard a graph as being a 2-colouring of a complete graph; then the extension to switching of an m-coloured complete graph is easy to define. However, the situation is very different. For m>2, all m-coloured graphs lie in the same switching class. However, there are still interesting things to say, especially in the infinite case.This paper presents the basic theory of switching with more than two colours. In the finite case, all graphs on a given set of vertices are equivalent under switching, and we determine the structure of the switching group and show that its extension by the symmetric group on the vertex set is primitive.In the infinite case, there is more than one switching class; we determine all those for which the group of switching automorphisms is the symmetric group. We also exhibit some other cases (including the random m-coloured complete graph) where the group of switching-automorphisms is highly transitive.Finally we consider briefly the case where not all switchings are allowed. For convenience, we suppose that there are three colours of which two may be switched. We show that, in the case of almost all finite random graphs, the analogue of the bijection between switching classes and two-graphs holds.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)169-177
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Journal of Combinatorics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2004


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