Subdesigns in Steiner quadruple systems

Andrew Granville, Alan Hartman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A Steiner quadruple system of order v, denoted SQS(v), is a pair (X, B), where X is a set of cardinality v, and B is a set of 4-subsets of C (called blocks), with the property that any 3-subset of X is contained in a unique block. If (X, B) is an SQS(v) and (Y, C) is an SQS(w) with Y ⊆ X and C ⊆ B, we say that (Y, C) is a subdesign of (X, B). Hanani has shown that an SQS(v) exists for all v ≡ 2 or 4 (mod 6) and when v ∈ {0, 1}; such integers v are said to be admissible. A necessary condition for the existence of an SQS(v) with a subdesign of order w is that v = w or v ≥ 2w. In this paper we show the existence of an explicitly computable constant k (independent of w) such that for all admissible v and all admissible w with v ≥ kw there exists an SQS(v) containing a subdesign of order w. We also show that for any sufficiently large w we can take k = 12.54. To establish these results we introduce several new constructions for SQS, and we also consider the subdesign problem for related classes of designs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)239-270
Number of pages32
JournalJournal of Combinatorial Theory - Series A
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1991
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • Discrete Mathematics and Combinatorics
  • Computational Theory and Mathematics


Dive into the research topics of 'Subdesigns in Steiner quadruple systems'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this