# Chromatic number of planar graph with girth at least k

The four-color theorem claims that, any loopless planar graph is 4-colorable. However, it is NP-Complete to determine the chromatic number of planar graphs, even for those 4-regular ones.

Girth is the length of the smallest cycle in a graph. Planar graph with girth at least 4, i.e., triangle-free, is 3-colorable, shown in paper.

Question: Is it NP-Complete to find a 3-coloring of a planar graph with girth at least $k$, where $k$ is a fixed integer? Is there any result about this topic?

I find another post "graph families which have polynomial algorithms for chromatic number" might be related.

• I don't understand the question. Determining whether or not a graph is $2$-colorable is trivial, so it's only interesting when we want to determine whether the chromatic number is $3$ or $4$. You already said it can't be anything bigger than $3$ when $k \geq 4$, answering that case. If $k \leq 3$, this is the general problem on planar graphs and is, as you stated, NP-hard (the decision version being NP-complete). Mar 5 '14 at 2:15
• my comment says that the problem is linear-time solvable for $k=10$ (or any $k \geq 4$), meaning that it's almost certainly not NP-hard! In those cases, a graph (with at least one edge) has chromatic number 3 iff it doesn't have chromatic number 2. Mar 5 '14 at 2:36
• @YonatanN Thanks. I edited the question. I want to find such a 3-coloring. Mar 5 '14 at 2:43

This paper: http://www.mimuw.edu.pl/~kowalik/papers/grotzsch-full.pdf gives an $O(n\log{n})$-time 3-colouring algorithm for triangle-free planar graphs, improving on Thomassen's $O(n^2)$-time constructive proof.