Frankl's union-closed sets conjecture

Importance: Medium ✭✭
Author(s): Frankl, Peter
Recomm. for undergrads: no
Posted by: tchow
on: September 25th, 2008
Conjecture   Let $ F $ be a finite family of finite sets, not all empty, that is closed under taking unions. Then there exists $ x $ such that $ x $ is an element of at least half the members of $ F $.

This conjecture is notoriously difficult, even though (or should we say `because'?) it involves almost no mathematical structure whatsoever. It was posed by Frankl in the late 1970's. The recent paper of Morris [M] provides a good illustration of the kind of partial results known: Morris extends earlier work to show that the conjecture holds for families containing three 3-subsets of a 5-set, four 3-subsets of a 6-set, or eight 4-subsets of a 6-set. In a different direction, Czédli [C] has proved the conjecture in the case when $ |F| \ge 2^n - 2^{n/2} $ where $ n = |\bigcup F| \ge 3 $.


[C] G. Czédli, On averaging Frankl's conjecture for large union-closed-sets, J. Combin. Theory Ser. A, to appear.

[M] R. Morris, FC-families and improved bounds for Frankl's conjecture, European J. Combin. 27 (2006), no. 2, 269–282.

[P] B. Poonen, Union-closed families, J. Combin. Theory Ser. A 59 (1992), no. 2, 253–268.

[V] T. P. Vaughan, Three-sets in a union-closed family, J. Combin. Math. Combin. Comput. 49 (2004), 73–84.

[W] P. Wójcik, Union-closed families of sets, Discrete Math. 199 (1999), no. 1–3, 173–182.

* indicates original appearance(s) of problem.

Frankl's conjecture

For mor einformation and many references see also West's account in:


Does anyone know if there is any linear bound known instead of 1/2?

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