## Non-Uniqueness of Minimal Superpermutations

Abstract:

We examine the open problem of finding the shortest string that contains each of the n! permutations of n symbols as contiguous substrings (i.e., the shortest superpermutation on n symbols). It has been conjectured that the shortest superpermutation has length $\sum_{k=1}^n k!$ and that this string is unique up to relabelling of the symbols. We provide a construction of short superpermutations that shows that, if the conjectured minimal length is true, then uniqueness fails for all n ≥ 5. Furthermore, uniqueness fails spectacularly; we construct more than doubly-exponentially many distinct superpermutations of the conjectured minimal length.

Authors:

• Nathaniel Johnston