@MISC{Nesetril_onnowhere, author = {Jaroslav Nesetril and Patrice Ossona de Mendez}, title = {ON NOWHERE DENSE GRAPHS}, year = {} }

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Abstract

A set A of vertices of a graph G is called d-scattered in G if no two d-neighborhoods of (distinct) vertices of A intersect. In other words, A is d-scattered if no two distinct vertices of A have distance at most 2d. This notion was isolated in the context of finite model theory by Gurevich and recently it played a prominent role in the study of homomorphism preservation theorems for special classes of structures (such as minor closed families). This in turn led to the notions of wide, semiwide and quasi-wide classes of graphs. It has been proved previously that minor closed classes and classes of graphs with locally forbidden minors are examples of such classes and thus (relativised) homomorphism preservation theorem holds for them. In this paper we show that (more general) classes with bounded expansion and (newly defined) classes with bounded local expansion and even (very general) classes of nowhere dense graphs are quasi wide. This not only strictly generalizes the previous results and solves several open problems but it also provides new proofs. It appears that bounded expansion and nowhere dense classes are perhaps a proper setting for investigation of wide-type classes as in several instances we obtain a structural characterization. This also puts classes of bounded expansion in the new context and we are able to prove a trichotomy result which separates classes of graphs which are dense (somewhere dense), nowhere dense and finite. Our motivation stems from finite dualities. As a corollary we obtain that any homomorphism closed first order definable property restricted to a bounded expansion class is a duality.