# Harmonic morphisms from cubic graphs of order 8 to a graph of order 4

There are five simple cubic graphs of order 8 (listed here) and there are 6 connected graphs of order 4 (listed here). But before we get started, I have a conjecture.

Let $\Gamma_1$ be a simple graph on n1 vertices, $\Gamma_2$ a simple graph on n2 vertices, and assume there is a harmonic morphism $\phi:\Gamma_1 \to \Gamma_2$. Call an n1-tuple of “colors” $\{0,1,2,..., n2-1\}$ a harmonic color list (HCL) if it’s attached to a harmonic morphism in the usual way (the ith coordinate is j if $\phi$ sends vertex i of $\Gamma_1$ to vertex j of $\Gamma_2$). Let S be the set of all such HCLs. The automorphism group $G_1$ of $\Gamma_1$ acts on S (by permuting coordinates associated to the vertices of $\Gamma_1$, as does the automorphism group $G_2$ of $\Gamma_2$ (by permuting the “colors” associated to the vertices of $\Gamma_2$). These actions commute. Clearly S decomposes as a disjoint union of distinct $G_1\times G_2$ orbits. The conjecture is that there is only one such orbit.

Note: Caroline Melles has disproven this conjecture. Still, the question of the number of orbits is an interesting one, IMHO.

Onto the topic of the post! The 6 connected graphs of order 4 are called P4 (the path graph), D3 (the star graph, also $K_{3,1}$), C4 (the cycle graph), K4 (the complete graph), Paw (C3 with a “tail”), and Diamond (K4 but missing an edge). All these terms are used on graphclasses.org. The results below were obtained using SageMath.

1. We start with the graph $\Gamma_1$ listed 1st on wikipedia’s Table of simple cubic graphs and defined using the sage code sage: Gamma1 = graphs.LCFGraph(8, [2, 2, -2, -2], 2). This graph $\Gamma_1$ has diameter 3, girth 3, and its automorphism group G is generated by (5,6), (1,2), (0,3)(4,7), (0,4)(1,5)(2,6)(3,7), $|G|=16$. This graph is not vertex transitive. Its characteristic polynomial is $x^8 - 12x^6 - 8x^5 + 38x^4 + 48x^3 - 12x^2 - 40x - 15$. Its edge connectivity and vertex connectivity are both 2. This graph has no non-trivial harmonic morphisms to D3 or P4 or C4 or Paw. However, there are 48 non-trivial harmonic morphisms to $\Gamma_2=K4$. For example,
(the automorphism group of K4, ie the symmetric group of degree 4, acts on the colors {0,1,2,3} and produces 24 total plots), and (again, the automorphism group of K4, ie the symmetric group of degree 4, acts on the colors {0,1,2,3} and produces 24 total plots). There are 8 non-trivial harmonic morphisms to $\Gamma_2={\rm Diamond}$. For example, and Here the automorphism group of K4, ie the symmetric group of degree 4, acts on the colors {0,1,2,3}, while the automorphism group of the graph $\Gamma_1$ acts by permuting some of the coordinates, for example, it can swap the 5th and 6th coordinates.Next, we take for $\Gamma_1$ the graph listed 2nd on wikipedia’s Table of simple cubic graphs and defined using the sage code sage: Gamma1 = graphs.LCFGraph(8, [4, -2, 4, 2], 2). This graph $\Gamma_1$ has diameter 3, girth 3, and its automorphism group G is generated by (1,7)(2,6)(3,5), (0,4)(1,3)(5,7), $|G|=4$ (obviously too small to act transitively on the vertices). Its characteristic polynomial is $x^8 - 12x^6 - 4x^5 + 38x^4 + 16x^3 - 36x^2 - 12x + 9$, its edge connectivity and vertex connectivity are both 3. This graph has no non-trivial harmonic morphisms to D3 or P4 or C4 or Paw or K4. However, it has 4 non-trivial harmonic morphisms to Diamond. They are:
Let $\Gamma_1$ denote the graph listed 3rd on wikipedia’s Table of simple cubic graphs and defined using the sage code sage: Gamma1 = graphs.LCFGraph(8, [2, 4, -2, 3, 3, 4, -3, -3], 1). This graph $\Gamma_1$ has diameter 2, girth 3, and its automorphism group G is generated by (4,6), (1,2)(3,5), (0,1)(5,7), $|G|=12$. It does not act transitively on the vertices. Its characteristic polynomial is $x^8 - 12x^6 - 2x^5 + 36x^4 - 31x^2 + 12x$ and its edge connectivity and vertex connectivity are both 3.
This graph has no non-trivial harmonic morphisms to P4 or C4 or Paw or K4 or Diamond. However, it has 6 non-trivial harmonic morphisms to D3, for example,

The automorphism group of D3 (the symmetric group of degree 3) acts by permuting the colors {0,1,2,3} and so yields a total of 6=3! such harmonic color plots.Let $\Gamma_1$ denote the graph listed 4th on wikipedia’s Table of simple cubic graphs and defined using the sage code sage: Gamma1 = graphs.LCFGraph(8, [4, -3, 3, 4], 2). This example is especially interesting. Otherwise known as the “cube graph” $Q_3$, this graph $\Gamma_1$ has diameter 3, girth 4, and its automorphism group G is generated by ((2,4)(5,7), (1,7)(4,6), (0,1,4,5)(2,3,6,7), $|G|=48$. It is vertex transitive. Its characteristic polynomial is $x^8 - 12x^6 + 30x^4 - 28x^2 + 9$ and its edge connectivity and vertex connectivity are both 3.
This graph has no non-trivial harmonic morphisms to D3 or P4 or Paw. However, it has 24 non-trivial harmonic morphisms to C4, 24 non-trivial harmonic morphisms to K4, and 24 non-trivial harmonic morphisms to Diamond. An example of a non-trivial harmonic morphism to K4:

A few examples of a non-trivial harmonic morphism to Diamond:
and
A few examples of a non-trivial harmonic morphism to C4:

The automorphism group of C4 acts by permuting the colors {0,1,2,3} cyclically, while the automorphism group G acts by permuting coordinates. These yield more harmonic color plots.