A master’s thesis by Stephanie Potter, Spring 2017
Abstract: When one thinks of objects with a significant level of symmetry it is natural to expect there to be a simple classification. However, this leads to an interesting problem in that research has revealed the existence of highly symmetric objects which are very complex when considered within the framework of Borel complexity. The tension between these two seemingly contradictory notions leads to a wealth of natural questions which have yet to be answered.
Borel complexity theory is an area of logic where the relative complexities of classification problems are studied. Within this theory, we regard a classification problem as an equivalence relation on a Polish space. An example of such is the isomorphism relation on the class of countable groups. The notion of a Borel reduction allows one to compare complexities of various classification problems.
The central aim of this research is determine the Borel complexities of various classes of vertex-transitive structures, or structures for which every pair or elements are equivalent under some element of its automorphism group. John Clemens has shown that the class of vertex-transitive graphs has maximum possible complexity, namely Borel completeness. On the other hand, we show that the class of vertex- transitive linear orderings does not.
We explore this phenomenon further by considering other natural classes of vertex- transitive structures such as tournaments and partial orderings. In doing so, we discover that several other complexities arise for classes of vertex-transitive structures.