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Conductance and Congestion in Power Law Graphs

Christos Gkantsidis, Milena Mihail, and Amin Saberi


It has been observed that the degrees of the topologies of several communication networks follow heavy tailed statistics. What is the impact of such heavy tailed statistics on the performance of basic communication tasks that a network is presumed to support? How does performance scale with the size of the network? We study routing in families of sparse random graphs whose degrees follow heavy tailed distributions. Instantiations of such random graphs have been proposed as models for the topology of the Internet at the level of Autonomous Systems as well as at the level of routers. Let n be the number of nodes. Suppose that for each pair of nodes with degrees du and dv we have O(du dv) units of demand. Thus the total demand is O(n2). We argue analytically and experimentally that in the considered random graph model such demand patterns can be routed so that the flow through each link is at most O(n log2 n). This is to be compared with a bound O(n2) that holds for arbitrary graphs. Similar results were previously known for sparse random regular graphs, a.k.a. "expander graphs." The significance is that Internet-like topologies, which grow in a dynamic, decentralized fashion and appear highly inhomogeneous, can support routing with performance characteristics comparable to those of their regular counterparts, at least under the assumption of uniform demand and capacities. Our proof uses approximation algorithms for multicommodity flow and establishes strong bounds of a generalization of "expansion," namely "conductance." Besides routing, our bounds on conductance have further implications, most notably on the gap between first and second eigenvalues of the stochastic normalization of the adjacency matrix of the graph.


Publication typeInproceedings
PublisherACM Press
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