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FriezeFest 2005
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Outreach Roadshow
Abstracts
Friday, 21 October 2005   Saturday, 22 October 2005
8:30 am

Continental Breakfast / Discussion

9:00 am

Noga Alon, Tel Aviv University
The Frieze-Kannan Decomposition method and Grothendieck type inequalities

Frieze and Kannan developed a general method that provides efficient approximation algorithms for various optimization problems for dense graphs.

It turns out that a classical inequality of Grothendieck can be useful in the analysis of this method. Moreover, one can define a new graph parameter, called the Grothendieck constant of a graph, which measures the integrality gap of a natural integer program associated with the graph.

The study of this parameter leads to several algorithmic applications, to various extensions of the classical inequality of Grothendieck, to an improvement of a recent result of Kashin and Szarek, and to a solution of a problem of Megretski and of Charikar and Wirth.

The lecture is based on two recent papers with A. Naor, and with K. Makarychev, Y. Makarychev, and A. Naor.

10:00 am Break
10:30 am

Jeff Kahn, Rutgers University
Some correlation inequalities

We show positive association (i.e. positive correlation of increasing events) for some families of random variables arising in percolation, the random cluster model and the "fractional fuzzy Potts model."

11:05 am

Mike Steele, University of Pennsylvania
Minimum Spanning Trees and the Zeta Theorems

This talk will survey the results that have grown out of Alan Frieze's remarkable discovery that for large n the length of the minimal weight spanning tree of the complete graph on n vertices with independent uniformly distributed edge weights is approximately equal to Zeta(3).

11:40 am

Boris Pittel, Ohio State University
Bootstrap percolation on the random regular graph

The bootstrap percolation on a graph is a model of an interacting particle system, which can also be viewed as a variant of a growth process of a cellular automata with a threshold k \ge 2. At the start each of the graph vertices is active with probability p and inactive with probability 1-p, independently of other vertices. Presence of active vertices triggers a percolation process controlled by the recursive rule: an active vertex remains active forever, and a currently inactive vertex becomes active when at least k of its neighbors have become active. The basic problem is to identify, for a given graph, p_1 < p_2 such that for p < p_ 1 (p > p_2 resp.) the probability that all, or almost all, vertices are eventually active is very close to 0 (1 resp.) The percolation process is a Markov chain on the space of subsets of the vertex set, which is easy to describe but hard to analyze rigorously in general. We study the percolation on the random d-regular graph, d\ge 3, via analysis of the process on its multigraph counterpart. This substitution works since the probability that random multigraph is in fact a graph is bounded away from zero. For the multigraph (the configuration model), thanks to a "principle of deferred decisions," the percolation dynamics is described by a much simpler Markov chain. Its generic state is formed by the counts of currently active and nonactive vertices having various degrees of percolation capabilities. We replace the chain by a deterministic dynamic system, and use its integrals to show -- via exponential supermartingales -- that the percolation process undergoes relatively small fluctuations around the deterministic trajectory. This approximation result allows us to show existence of the phase transition within an interval [p_1(n), p_2(n)], such that p(k,d)= lim p_1(n) =lim p_2(n) is 1 - min {y^2/R(y); y > 0}, R(y) being a certain polynomial of degree d. Here the transition width p_2(n) - p_1(n) is of order n^{-1/2} for k < d-1, and of order n^{-1/[2(d+5)]} for k = d-1.

This is joint work with Jozsef Balogh (University of Illinos at Urbana Champaign).

12:15 pm Lunch
2:00 pm

Ravi Kannan, Yale University
Low-Rank Approximations to Matrices and Tensors

I will describe a line of work started jointly with Alan Frieze ten years ago in which both traditional and new methods of finding low-rank approximations of matrices have been used in algorithms for combinatorial problems. These methods have been extended from matrices to higher-dimensional arrays (tensors), where, traditional Linear Algebra is not available. The applications fall broadly into two categories - numerical (an area which often goes under the name of Principal Component Analysis) and combinatorial (mainly, Maximum Constraint Satisfaction problems - Max-CSP.)

3:00 pm Break
3:30 pm

Colin Cooper, King's College London
The cover time of random walks on random graphs

Let $G=(V,E)$ be a connected graph with $|V|=n$. For $v\in V$ let $C_v$ be the expected time taken for a random walk on $G$ starting at $v$, to visit every vertex of $G$. The cover time $C_G$ of $G$ is defined as $C_G=\max_{v\in V}C_v$. We investigate the cover time of a random walk on some classes of sparse random graphs. In particular we prove the following for a random walk on the giant component of graphs $ G_{n,p}$. Let $np=c>1$ and $c=O(\log \log n)$. Let \[ t^*= \frac{cx(2-x)}{4(cx-\log c)} n (\log n)^2, \] where $x$ is the solution in $(0,1)$ of $x=1-e^{-cx}$. If $H$ denotes the giant component of $G_{n,p}$, then with high probability the cover time is asymptotic to $t^*$.

This is joint work with Alan Frieze.

4:05 pm

Aravind Srinivasan, University of Maryland
The Local Lemma for random variables with large support

One of the many areas that Alan Frieze has made major contributions to, is the existence and construction of low-congestion routing strategies. We present a tight sufficient condition for the existence of unsplittable flows in graphs. This relies on an extension of the Local Lemma that we have developed, which often works better than standard use of the Local Lemma when the underlying independent random variables have large supprts. We will illustrate this via an extension of a result of Noga Alon on structured independent sets in graphs.

This is joint work with Tom Leighton and Satish Rao.

4:40 pm -
5:15 pm

Eric Vigoda, Georgia Institute of Technology
Simulated Annealing for the Permanent and Binary Contingency Tables

I will describe some recent refinements of the simulated annealing algorithm for estimating the permanent of a non-negative matrix in polynomial time. The first result is an improved cooling schedule for the annealing process in the permanent algorithm. The second is an application to binary contingency tables (i.e., bipartite graphs with specified degree sequences)

Saturday, 22 October 2005   Friday, 21 October 2005
8:30 am

Continental Breakfast / Discussion

9:00 am

Eli Upfal, Brown University
The Combinatorics of Sequencing by Hybridization

Alan Frieze has also contributed to computational biology. Iíll describe a line of work related to the efficient use of SBH chips that started in a joint work Alan.

Sequencing by hybridization is a novel DNA sequencing technique in which an array (SBH chip) of short sequences of nucleotides (probes) is brought in contact with a solution of (replicas of) the target DNA sequence. A biochemical method determines the subset of probes that bind to the target sequence (the spectrum of the sequence), and a combinatorial method is used to reconstruct the DNA sequence from the spectrum.

Since technology limits the number of probes on the SBH chip, a challenging combinatorial question is the design of a smallest set of probes that can sequence almost all DNA string of a given length. We'll present combinatorial designs that improve the performance of SBH, using universal bases (bases that bind to any nucleotide), and related methods. The talk will focus on the combinatorial and algorithmic issues, with just a few words about the technical challenge of commercializing these methods.

10:00 am Break
10:30 am

Dimitris Achlioptas, Microsoft Research
Clustering of solutions in random constraint satisfaction problems

For a number of random constraint satisfaction problems, such as random k-SAT and random graph/hypergraph coloring, we now have good estimates of the largest constraint density for which solutions exist. Yet, known polynomial-time algorithms for these problems fail to find solutions even at much lower densities. To understand the origin of this gap we study how the structure of the space of solutions evolves in such problems as constraints are added. We prove that much before solutions disappear, they organize into an exponential number of clusters, each of which is relatively small and far apart from all other clusters. Moreover, inside each cluster the vast majority of variables is frozen, i.e., takes only one value. Our proof also establishes rigoroulsy one of the two main hypotheses underlying Survey Propagation, a heuristic introduced by physicists in recent few years that appears to perform extraordinarily well on random constraint satisfaction problems.

11:05 am

Andrei Broder, Yahoo! Research
Sampling Search Engine Results

We consider the problem of efficiently sampling Web search engine query results. In turn, using a small random sample instead of the full set of results leads to efficient approximate algorithms for several applications, such as:

- Determining the set of categories in a given taxonomy spanned by the search results;
- Finding the range of metadata values associated to the result set in order to enable "multi-faceted search;"
- Estimating the size of the result set;
- Data mining associations to the query terms.

We present and analyze an efficient algorithm for obtaining uniform random samples applicable to any search engine based on posting lists and document-at-a-time evaluation. (To our knowledge, all Web & large scale search engines, e.g. AllTheWeb, AltaVista, Inktomi, Google, OmniFind, Yahoo, belong to this class.)

This is joint work with Aris Anagnostopoulos (Brown University) and David Carmel (IBM Haifa Research Lab).

11:40 am

Richard M. Karp, University of California at Berkeley
Geometric Optics, Linear Programming and Congestion in Sensornets

We consider the problem of routing in a geographically distributed network of processors to minimize the maximum congestion at any node, or to optimize the trade-off between average path delay and maximum congestion. Instead of assuming a discrete model with nodes at known positions, we assume that the density of nodes is so large that we can adopt a continuous model, in which each communication path is a continuous curve in a region of the plane and congestion at a point corresponds to the density of paths in a neighborhood of the point. Using an argument based on linear programming, we show that the problem is isomorphic to a problem in geometric optics, in which we interpret the communication paths as the minimum-time paths followed by light rays in a medium where the speed of light varies continuously. Our problem is then to specify the speed of light as a function of position so that the resulting minimum-time paths minimize maximum congestion. Once this function has been specified the computation of minimum-time paths is a standard problem in the calculus of variations, but the problem of specifying the function is novel, and we give an approach based on the primal-dual algorithm of linear programming.

This is joint work with Christos Papadimitriou, Lucian Popa, and Afshin Rostami.

12:15 pm Lunch
1:30 pm

FOCS 2005 Tutorials
Separate registration is required for FOCS at http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~FOCS05/

4:00 pm

Martin Dyer, University of Leeds
Generating random colourings

A recent collaboration of mine with Alan Frieze concerned the problem of generating colourings of degree-bounded graphs almost uniformly at random. The objective of the work was to mitigate the pessimism of coupling (and similar) analyses for this problem. The resulting paper suggested an approach which subsequently proved quite successful, although the natural conjecture is not yet fully resolved. I will review the "history" of this problem as well as some more recent ideas.

5:00 pm

Nick Wormald, University of Waterloo
On the chromatic number of random regular graphs

In 1992, Frieze and Luczak determined the behaviour of the chromatic number of random d-regular graphs asymptotically, for d going to infinity slowly and the number of vertices going to infinity quickly. At the other end of the spectrum, and using different methods, we now know that almost all 4-regular graphs are 3-chromatic and almost all 6-regular are 4-chromatic. The proofs of these and similar results use systems of equations of right-hand derivatives.

This is based on recent work with L. Shi.

5:30 pm -
6:00 pm

Jeong Han Kim, Microsoft Research
Poisson Cloning Model and Giant Component of Random Graphs

Since P. Erdös and A. Rényi introduced random graphs in 1959-1968, the theory of random graphs has played a central role in probabilistic combinatorics. The emergence of the giant component is one of a few subjects with the most colorful history in the area. After introducing a new (essentially equivalent) model for the random graph, called the Poisson cloning model, we improve and/or reprove various results regarding the giant component. For instance, we prove that a tight Chernoff type bound for the size of the giant component for G(n,p) with p= (1+c)/n and n^{-1/3} \ll c <1.

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This material is based upon work supported by National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0122581.
Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the
National Science Foundation