Degenerate crossing number and signed reversal distance

by   Niloufar Fuladi, et al.

The degenerate crossing number of a graph is the minimum number of transverse crossings among all its drawings, where edges are represented as simple arcs and multiple edges passing through the same point are counted as a single crossing. Interpreting each crossing as a cross-cap induces an embedding into a non-orientable surface. In 2007, Mohar showed that the degenerate crossing number of a graph is at most its non-orientable genus and he conjectured that these quantities are equal for every graph. He also made the stronger conjecture that this also holds for any loopless pseudotriangulation with a fixed embedding scheme. In this paper, we prove a structure theorem that almost completely classifies the loopless 2-vertex embedding schemes for which the degenerate crossing number equals the non-orientable genus. In particular, we provide a counterexample to Mohar's stronger conjecture, but show that in the vast majority of the 2-vertex cases, the conjecture does hold. The reversal distance between two signed permutations is the minimum number of reversals that transform one permutation to the other one. If we represent the trajectory of each element of a signed permutation under successive reversals by a simple arc, we obtain a drawing of a 2-vertex embedding scheme with degenerate crossings. Our main result is proved by leveraging this connection and a classical result in genome rearrangement (the Hannenhali-Pevzner algorithm) and can also be understood as an extension of this algorithm when the reversals do not necessarily happen in a monotone order.


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