Constructing near spanning trees with few local inspections

Reut Levi, Guy Moshkovitz, Dana Ron, Ronitt Rubinfeld, Asaf Shapira

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Constructing a spanning tree of a graph is one of the most basic tasks in graph theory. Motivated by several recent studies of local graph algorithms, we consider the following variant of this problem. Let G be a connected bounded-degree graph. Given an edge e in G we would like to decide whether e belongs to a connected subgraph G’ consisting of (1+ ε)n edges (for a prespecified constant ε>0), where the decision for different edges should be consistent with the same subgraph G’. Can this task be performed by inspecting only a constant number of edges in G? Our main results are: We show that if every t-vertex subgraph of G has expansion 1/(log t)1+o(1) then one can (deterministically) construct a sparse spanning subgraph G’of G using few inspections. To this end we analyze a “local” version of a famous minimum-weight spanning tree algorithm. We show that the above expansion requirement is sharp even when allowing randomization. To this end we construct a family of 3-regular graphs of high girth, in which every t-vertex subgraph has expansion 1/(log t)1−o(1). We prove that for this family of graphs, any local algorithm for the sparse spanning graph problem requires inspecting a number of edges which is proportional to the girth.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)183-200
Number of pages18
JournalRandom Structures and Algorithms
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2017


  • graph expansion
  • local algorithms
  • sparse spanning graph


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