The Sperner Property

Part of the Undergraduate Texts in Mathematics book series (UTM)


In this chapter we consider a surprising application of certain adjacency matrices to some problems in extremal set theory. An important role will also be played by finite groups in Chap.5, which is a continuation of the present chapter. In general, extremal set theory is concerned with finding (or estimating) the most or least number of sets satisfying given set-theoretic or combinatorial conditions. For example, a typical easy problem in extremal set theory is the following: what is the most number of subsets of an n-element set with the property that any two of them intersect? (Can you solve this problem?) The problems to be considered here are most conveniently formulated in terms of partially ordered sets or posets for short. Thus we begin with discussing some basic notions concerning posets.


Sperner Property Surprising Application Graded Poset Symmetric Chain Decomposition Maximal Chain 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of MathematicsMassachusetts Institute of TechnologyCambridgeUSA

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