Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Document Type



Matroids were introduced by Whitney to provide an abstract notion of independence.

In this work, after giving a brief survey of matroid theory, we describe structural results for various classes of matroids. A connected matroid $M$ is unbreakable if, for each of its flats $F$, the matroid $M/F$ is connected%or, equivalently, if $M^*$ has no two skew circuits. . Pfeil showed that a simple graphic matroid $M(G)$ is unbreakable exactly when $G$ is either a cycle or a complete graph. We extend this result to describe which graphs are the underlying graphs of unbreakable frame matroids. A laminar family is a collection $\A$ of subsets of a set $E$ such that, for any two intersecting sets, one is contained in the other. For a capacity function $c$ on $\A$, let $\I$ be %the set $\{I:|I\cap A| \leq c(A)\text{ for all $A\in\A$}\}$. Then $\I$ is the collection of independent sets of a (laminar) matroid on $E$. We characterize the class of laminar matroids by their excluded minors and present a way to construct all laminar matroids using basic operations. %Nested matroids were introduced by Crapo in 1965 and have appeared frequently in the literature since then. A flat of a matroid $M$ is Hamiltonian if it has a spanning circuit. A matroid $M$ is nested if its Hamiltonian flats form a chain under inclusion; $M$ is laminar if, for every $1$-element independent set $X$, the Hamiltonian flats of $M$ containing $X$ form a chain under inclusion. We generalize these notions to define the classes of $k$-closure-laminar and $k$-laminar matroids. The second class is always minor-closed, and the first is if and only if $k \le 3$. We give excluded-minor characterizations of the classes of 2-laminar and 2-closure-laminar matroids.



Committee Chair

Oxley, James