Illinois Journal of Mathematics

Lusternik–Schnirelmann category for simplicial complexes

Seth Aaronson and Nicholas A. Scoville

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The discrete version of Morse theory due to Robin Forman is a powerful tool utilized in the study of topology, combinatorics, and mathematics involving the overlap of these fields. Inspired by the success of discrete Morse theory, we take the first steps in defining a discrete version of the Lusternik–Schnirelmann category suitable for simplicial complexes. This invariant is based on collapsibility as opposed to contractibility, and is defined in the spirit of the geometric category of a topological space. We prove some basic results of this theory, showing where it agrees and differs from that of the smooth case. Our work culminates in a discrete version of the Lusternik–Schnirelmann theorem relating the number of critical points of a discrete Morse function to its discrete category.

Article information

Illinois J. Math., Volume 57, Number 3 (2013), 743-753.

First available in Project Euclid: 3 November 2014

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Mathematical Reviews number (MathSciNet)

Zentralblatt MATH identifier

Primary: 55M30: Ljusternik-Schnirelman (Lyusternik-Shnirelʹman) category of a space 55U05: Abstract complexes
Secondary: 57M15: Relations with graph theory [See also 05Cxx]


Aaronson, Seth; Scoville, Nicholas A. Lusternik–Schnirelmann category for simplicial complexes. Illinois J. Math. 57 (2013), no. 3, 743--753.

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