Design Theory from the Viewpoint of Algebraic Combinatorics

Eiichi Bannai, Etsuko Bannai, Hajime Tanaka, Yan Zhu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


We give a survey on various design theories from the viewpoint of algebraic combinatorics. We will start with the following themes.(i)The similarity between spherical t-designs and combinatorial t-designs, as well as t-designs in Q-polynomial association schemes.(ii)Euclidean t-designs as a two-step generalization of spherical t-designs.(iii)Relative t-designs as a two-step generalization of t-designs in Q-polynomial association schemes, and the similarity with Euclidean t-designs.(iv)Fisher type lower bounds for the sizes of these designs as well as the classification problems of some of tight t-designs and/or tight relative t-designs. Our emphasis will be focused on the proposal to study relative t-designs, mostly tight relative t-designs, in known classical examples of P- and Q-polynomial association schemes. We relate our study with the representation theoretical aspect of the relevant association schemes and permutation groups, due to Charles Dunkl and Dennis Stanton and others. We propose several open problems, which seem to play a key role in this research direction. We also put emphasis on the future research directions in this research area and not on presenting the details of the established results on the study of design theory. In particular, we propose to study t-designs in each shell of these classical P- and Q-polynomial association schemes. In general, each shell is not Q-polynomial. It may be even non-commutative in some cases. The importance of the use of Terwilliger algebras in the study of relative t-designs in such association schemes will also be highlighted.

Original languageEnglish
JournalGraphs and Combinatorics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Jan 1


  • Association scheme
  • Euclidean design
  • Relative t-design
  • Spherical design
  • Terwilliger algebra
  • Tight design
  • t-design

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • Discrete Mathematics and Combinatorics


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