On matroids that are transversal and cotransversal
There are distinct differences between classes of matroids that are closed under principal extensions and those that are not Finite-field-representable matroids are not closed under principal extensions and they exhibit attractive properties like well-quasi-ordering and decidable theories (at least for subclasses with bounded branch-width). Infinite-field-representable matroids, on the other hand, are closed under principal extensions and exhibit none of these behaviours. For example, the class of rank-3 real representable matroids is not well-quasi-ordered and has an undecidable theory. The class of matroids that are transversal and cotransversal is not closed under principal extensions or coprincipal coextentions, so we expect it to behave more like the class of finite-field-representable matroids. This thesis is invested in exploring properties in the aforementioned class. A major idea that has inspired the thesis is the investigation of well-quasi-ordered classes in the world of matroids that are transversal and cotransversal. We conjecture that any minor-closed class with bounded branch-width containing matroids that are transversal and cotransversal is well-quasi-ordered. In Chapter 8 of the thesis, we prove this is true for lattice-path matroids, a well-behaved class that falls in this intersection. The general class of lattice-path matroids is not well-quasi-ordered as it contains an infinite antichain of so-called ‘notch matroids’. The interesting phenomenon that we observe is that this is essentially the only antichain in this class, that is, any minor-closed family of lattice-path matroids that contains only finitely many notch matroids is well-quasi-ordered. This answers a question posed by Jim Geelen. Another question that drove the research was recognising fundamental transversal matroids, since these matroids are also cotransversal. We prove that this problem in general is in NP and conjecture that it is NP-complete. We later explore this question for the classes of lattice-path and bicircular matroids. We are successful in finding polynomial-time algorithms in both classes that identify fundamental transversal matroids. We end this part by investigating the intersection of bicircular and cobicircular matroids. We define a specific class - whirly-swirls - and conjecture that eventually any matroid in the above mentioned intersection belongs to this class.