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The 3-Design Problem
Balachandran, Niranjan

2008, Doctor of Philosophy, Ohio State University, Mathematics.

This dissertation studies the ‘asymptotic existence’ conjecture for 3-designs with the primary goal of constructing new families of 3-designs. More specifically, this dissertation includes the following:

Firstly, by considering the action of the group PSL(2,q) on the finite projective line and the orbits of the action of this group to construct simple 3-designs. While the case q congruent to 3 modulo 4 is 3-homogeneous (so that orbits of any ‘base’ block’ would yield designs), the case q congruent to 1 modulo 4 does not work the same way. We overcome some of these issues by considering appropriate unions of orbits to produce new infinite families of 3-designs with PSL(2,q) acting as a group of automorphisms. We also prove that our constructions actually produce an abundance of simple 3-designs for any block size if q is sufficiently large and also construct a large set of Divisible designs as an application of our constructions.

We generalize the notion of a Candelabra system to more general structures, called Rooted Forest Set systems and prove a few general results on combinatorial constructions for these general set structures. Then, we specialize to the case of k=6 and extend a theorem of Hanani to produce new infinite families of Steiner 3-designs with block size 6.

Finally, we consider Candelabra systems and prove that a related incidence matrix has full row rank over the rationals. This leads to interesting possibilities for ‘lambda large’ theorems for Candelabra systems. While a ‘lambda large’ theorem for Candelabra systems do not directly yield any Steiner 3-design, it allows for constructions of new Steiner 3-designs on large sets using methods such as Block spreading.

Neil Robertson, PhD (Advisor)
Akos Seress, PhD (Committee Member)
Stephen Milne, PhD (Committee Member)
114 p.

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