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How To Explore a Fast Changing World. (On the Cover Time of Dynamic Graphs). Chen Avin Ben Gurion University Joint work with Michal Koucky & Zvi Lotker (ICALP-08). Motivation.

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How To Explore a Fast Changing World

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How To Explore a Fast Changing World

(On the Cover Time of Dynamic Graphs)

Chen Avin

Ben Gurion University

Joint work with Michal Koucky & Zvi Lotker (ICALP-08)


  • Today’s communication networks are dynamic: mobility, communication fluctuations, duty cycles, clients joining and leaving, etc.

  • Structure-base schemes (e.g., spanning tress, routing tables) are thus problematic.

  • Turning attention to structure-free solutions.

  • Random-walk-based protocols are simple, local, distributed and robust to topology changes.

    • Robust to topology changes ??!!

RW on Static Graphs

  • The Simple Random Walk on Graph.

  • Cover Time, hitting time arebounded by n3.

  • Random walk can be efficient for some applications/networks, i.e., the time to visit a subset of N nodes, can be linear in N.

    • Partial cover time.

  • Tempting to use on dynamic networks

Main Results

  • Question: What will be the expected number of steps for a random walk on dynamic network to visit every node in the network (i.e., Cover Time).

  • Answers in short:

    • Bad, very bad (compare to static network).

    • Can be fixed by the “Lazy Random Walk”.

G1 G2 G3 G4 G5 ...

Dynamic Model

  • Evolving Graphs:

  • Random walk on dynamic graph

  • Worst case analysis: a game between the walker and an oblivious adversary that controls the network dynamics.

“Sisyphus Wheel”

  • The adversary has a simple (deterministic) strategy to increase h(1,n):

  • The Cover Time of this dynamic graph is exponential!









The Lazy Random Walk

  • Lazy random walk: At each step of the walk pick a vertex v from V(G) uniformly at random and if there is an edge from the current vertex to the vertex v then move to v otherwise stay at the current vertex.

  • Theorem: For any connected evolving graphG the cover time of the lazy random walk onG is O(n5ln2n).

  • ?? Slower is faster ?? :-)


  • Demonstrate that the cover time of the simple random walk on dynamic graphs is significantly different from the case of static graphs: exponential vs. polynomial.

  • The cover time is bounded to be polynomial by the use of lazy random walk.

  • Gives some theoretical justification for the use of random-walks-techniques in dynamic networks, but careful attention is required.

Thank You!

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