Change ringing and Hamiltonian cycles: The search for Erin and Stedman triples

Michael Haythorpe, Andrew Johnson


A very old problem in campanology is the search for peals. The latter can be thought of as a heavily constrained sequence of all possible permutations of a given size, where the exact nature of the constraints depends on which method of ringing is desired. In particular, we consider the methods of bobs-only Stedman Triples and Erin Triples; the existence of the latter is still an open problem. We show that this problem can be viewed as a similarly constrained (but not previously considered) form of the Hamiltonian cycle problem (HCP). Through the use of special subgraphs, we convert this to a standard instance of HCP. The original problem can be partitioned into smaller instances, and so we use this technique to produce smaller instances of HCP as well. We note that the instances known to have solutions provide exceptionally difficult instances of HCP.


change ringing, triples, Stedman, Erin, Hamiltonian cycles

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