Reference Request: Suitability of a text and corresponding video lecture series request for "Matroid Theory"

Mathematics Educators Asked on September 5, 2021

I am an undergraduate student from the CS background.

While reading a portion of the text "Introduction to Algorithms" by Cormen et. al. I came across a section of Matroids. I was unable to understand it properly as I have not been lucky enough to have a formal matroid course.

I was recommended the following book "Matroid Theory" by John Oxley in this answer. Now I find the above book labelled as "Oxford Graduate Text In Mathematics" ,so with my current knowledge of as an undergraduate CS student (just completed 2nd year) I do not quite know whether I shall be able to comprehend the text, more-over the text is not quite short (a total of 719 page in the second edition). Moreover with the current tightness of the present curriculum, I cannot simply afford to start a text and leave it half way being unable to understand (it shall cause frustration).

So I request here to guide me as to whether I shall be able to understand the book given my current qualification. Moreover could a video lecture series be recommended to me so that I shall easily understand the concepts of matroid (in a considerably short time, given that I am planning to do self study and I shall not have any teacher support, without a teacher resolving doubts takes time).

One Answer

Wilson, Robin J. "An introduction to matroid theory." The American Mathematical Monthly 80, no. 5 (1973): 500-525. JStor link.

This is an elementary introduction, not even assuming much knowledge of graph theory. He explains enough transversal theory to proceed to matroids. He defines a matroid in several ways, so that you get different perspectives.

Of course it is out-of-date, but it is quite accessible, and might allow you to then move on to more recent expositions. For example, this text is explicitly written for undergraduates:

Gordon, Gary, and Jennifer McNulty. Matroids: A Geometric Introduction. Cambridge University Press, 2012. Cambridge link.


Answered by Joseph O'Rourke on September 5, 2021

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