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Complete directed minors and chromatic number

Mészáros, Tamás; Steiner, Raphael

FG Diskrete Mathematik

The dichromatic number χ→(D) of a digraph D is the smallest k for which it admits a k‐coloring where every color class induces an acyclic subgraph. Inspired by Hadwiger's conjecture for undirected graphs, several groups of authors have recently studied the containment of complete directed minors in digraphs with a given dichromatic number. In this note we exhibit a relation of these problems to Hadwiger's conjecture. Exploiting this relation, we show that every directed graph excluding the complete digraph K↔t of order t as a strong minor or as a butterfly minor is O(t(log log t)6)‐colorable. This answers a question by Axenovich, Girão, Snyder, and Weber, who proved an upper bound of t4t for the same problem. A further consequence of our results is that every digraph of dichromatic number 22n contains a subdivision of every n‐vertex subcubic digraph, which makes progress on a set of problems raised by Aboulker, Cohen, Havet, Lochet, Moura, and Thomassé.