The overlap number of a finite (d + 1)-uniform hypergraph H is the largest constant c(H) ∈ (0, 1] such that no matter how we map the vertices of H into ℝd, there is a point covered by at least a c(H)-fraction of the simplices induced by the images of its hyperedges. Motivated by the search for an analogue of the notion of graph expansion for higher dimensional simplicial complexes, we address the question whether or not there exists a sequence of arbitrarily large (d + 1)-uniform hypergraphs with bounded degree for which . Using both random methods and explicit constructions, we answer this question positively by constructing infinite families of (d + 1)-uniform hypergraphs with bounded degree such that their overlap numbers are bounded from below by a positive constant c = c(d). We also show that, for every d, the best value of the constant c = c(d) that can be achieved by such a construction is asymptotically equal to the limit of the overlap numbers of the complete (d + 1)-uniform hypergraphs with n vertices, as n → ∞. For the proof of the latter statement, we establish the following geometric partitioning result of independent interest. For any h, s and any ɛ > 0, there exists K = K(ɛ, h, s) satisfying the following condition. For any k ≧ K and for any semi-algebraic relation R on h-tuples of points in a Euclidean space ℝd with description complexity at most s, every finite set P ⫅ ℝd has a partition P = P1 ∪ ⋯ ∪ Pk into k parts of sizes as equal as possible such that all but at most an ɛ-fraction of the h-tuples (Pi1, … , Pih) have the property that either all h-tuples of points with one element in each Pij are related with respect to R or none of them are.
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