Sublinear-time distributed algorithms for detecting small cliques and even cycles

Talya Eden, Nimrod Fiat, Orr Fischer, Fabian Kuhn, Rotem Oshman

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


In this paper we give sublinear-time distributed algorithms in the CONGEST model for subgraph detection for two classes of graphs: cliques and even-length cycles. We show for the first time that all copies of 4-cliques and 5-cliques in the network graph can be listed in sublinear time, O(n5/6+o(1)) rounds and O(n21/22+o(1)) rounds, respectively. Prior to our work, it was not known whether it was possible to even check if the network contains a 4-clique or a 5-clique in sublinear time. For even-length cycles, C2k, we give an improved sublinear-time algorithm, which exploits a new connection to extremal combinatorics. For example, for 6-cycles we improve the running time from Õ(n5/6) to Õ(n3/4) rounds. We also show two obstacles on proving lower bounds for C2k-freeness: First, we use the new connection to extremal combinatorics to show that the current lower bound of Ω(√n) rounds for 6-cycle freeness cannot be improved using partition-based reductions from 2-party communication complexity, the technique by which all known lower bounds on subgraph detection have been proven to date. Second, we show that there is some fixed constant δ ∈ (0,1/2) such that for any k, a Ω(n1/2+δ) lower bound on C2k-freeness implies new lower bounds in circuit complexity. For general subgraphs, it was shown in [14] that for any fixed k, there exists a subgraph H of size k such that H-freeness requires Ω(n2−Θ(1/k)) rounds. It was left as an open problem whether this is tight, or whether some constant-sized subgraph requires truly quadratic time to detect. We show that in fact, for any subgraph H of constant size k, the H-freeness problem can be solved in O(n2−Θ(1/k)) rounds, nearly matching the lower bound of [14].

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication33rd International Symposium on Distributed Computing, DISC 2019
EditorsJukka Suomela
PublisherSchloss Dagstuhl- Leibniz-Zentrum fur Informatik GmbH, Dagstuhl Publishing
ISBN (Electronic)9783959771269
StatePublished - Oct 2019
Event33rd International Symposium on Distributed Computing, DISC 2019 - Budapest, Hungary
Duration: 14 Oct 201918 Oct 2019

Publication series

NameLeibniz International Proceedings in Informatics, LIPIcs
ISSN (Print)1868-8969


Conference33rd International Symposium on Distributed Computing, DISC 2019


  • Distributed computing
  • Subgraph freeness


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