Given graphs G, H, is it possible to find a matching which, when deleted from G, destroys all copies of H? The answer is obvious for some inputs—notably, when G is a large complete graph the answer is “no”—but in general this can be a very difficult question. In this thesis, we study this decision problem when H is a fixed tree or cycle; our aim is to identify those H for which it can be solved efficiently.

The H-transverse matching problem, TM(H) for short, asks whether an input graph admits a matching M such that no subgraph of G − M is isomorphic to H. The main goal of this thesis is the following dichotomy. When H is a triangle or one of a few small-diameter trees, there is a polynomial-time algorithm to find an H-transverse matching if one exists. However, TM(H) is NP-complete when H is any longer cycle or a tree of diameter ≥ 4. In addition, we study the restriction of these problems to structured graph classes.

On graph-transverse matchings. Ross Churchley. MSc thesis, University of Victoria. August 2012. (Senior supervisor: Jing Huang)