Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Bela Bollobas


In this dissertation, we consider a wide range of problems in algebraic and extremal graph theory. In extremal graph theory, we will prove that the Tree Packing Conjecture is true for all sequences of trees that are 'almost stars'; and we prove that the Erdos-Sos conjecture is true for all graphs G with girth at least 5. We also conjecture that every graph G with minimal degree k and girth at least $2t+1$ contains every tree T of order $kt+1$ such that $\Delta(T)\leq k.$ This conjecture is trivially true for t = 1. We Prove the conjecture is true for t = 2 and that, for this value of t, the conjecture is best possible. We also provide supporting evidence for the conjecture for all other values of t. In algebraic graph theory, we are primarily concerned with isomorphism problems for vertex-transitive graphs, and with calculating automorphism groups of vertex-transitive graphs. We extend Babai's characterization of the Cayley Isomorphism property for Cayley hypergraphs to non-Cayley hypergraphs, and then use this characterization to solve the isomorphism problem for every vertex-transitive graph of order pq, where p and q distinct primes. We also determine the automorphism groups of metacirculant graphs of order pq that are not circulant, allowing us to determine the nonabelian groups of order pq that are Burnside groups. Additionally, we generalize a classical result of Burnside stating that every transitive group G of prime degree p, is doubly transitive or contains a normal Sylow p-subgroup to all $p\sp k,$ provided that the Sylow p-subgroup of G is one of a specified family. We believe that this result is the most significant contained in this dissertation. As a corollary of this result, one easily gives a new proof of Klin and Poschel's result characterizing the automorphism groups of circulant graphs of order $p\sp k,$ where p is an odd prime.