Learn Graph Coloring Theory and Help Marvel Superteams

The Wolverine Problem

This is an instructional video on graph coloring, which you may better know as the four-color map problem. (That says that you can color any map with four colors without areas of the same color touching.) It’s the technique of figuring out how many different colors you need to cover a graph (a collection of dots and lines) without any of the dots with the same color being connected.

After an explanation of how Sudoku is a transformation of 9-coloring an 81-vertex graph, the host, Kelsey Houston-Edwards, gets into why I’m linking to this here. One of the real-world applications is handling scheduling problems, as when several people are on several different committees. Or, in this case, superhero teams.

Beginning at 5:24, she starts talking about the “Wolverine problem”, how to manage his membership on four different superhero teams when seven different supervillains attack. Look how cute their icons for the heroes and villains are!

The Wolverine Problem: Superhero Icons

The Wolverine Problem: Supervillains

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