Large discrete structures : statistical inference, combinatorics and limits

  • Studying large discrete systems is of central interest in, non-exclusively, discrete mathematics, computer sciences and statistical physics. The study of phase transitions, e.g. points in the evolution of a large random system in which the behaviour of the system changes drastically, became of interest in the classical field of random graphs, the theory of spin glasses as well as in the analysis of algorithms [78,82, 121]. It turns out that ideas from the statistical physics’ point of view on spin glass systems can be used to study inherently combinatorial problems in discrete mathematics and theoretical computer sciences(for instance, satisfiability) or to analyse phase transitions occurring in inference problems (like the group testing problem) [68, 135, 168]. A mathematical flaw of this approach is that the physical methods only render mathematical conjectures as they are not known to be rigorous. In this thesis, we will discuss the results of six contributions. For instance, we will explore how the theory of diluted mean-field models for spin glasses helps studying random constraint satisfaction problems through the example of the random 2−SAT problem. We will derive a formula for the number of satisfying assignments that a random 2−SAT formula typically possesses [2]. Furthermore, we will discuss how ideas from spin glass models (more precisely, from their planted versions) can be used to facilitate inference in the group testing problem. We will answer all major open questions with respect to non-adaptive group testing if the number of infected individuals scales sublinearly in the population size and draw a complete picture of phase transitions with respect to the complexity and solubility of this inference problem [41, 46]. Subsequently, we study the group testing problem under sparsity constrains and obtain a (not fully understood) phase diagram in which only small regions stay unexplored [88]. In all those cases, we will discover that important results can be achieved if one combines the rich theory of the statistical physics’ approach towards spin glasses and inherent combinatorial properties of the underlying random graph. Furthermore, based on partial results of Coja-Oghlan, Perkins and Skubch [42] and Coja-Oghlan et al. [49], we introduce a consistent limit theory for discrete probability measures akin to the graph limit theory [31, 32, 128] in [47]. This limit theory involves the extensive study of a special variant of the cut-distance and we obtain a continuous version of a very simple algorithm, the pinning operation, which allows to decompose the phase space of an underlying system into parts such that a probability measure, restricted to this decomposition, is close to a product measure under the cut-distance. We will see that this pinning lemma can be used to rigorise predictions, at least in some special cases, based on the physical idea of a Bethe state decomposition when applied to the Boltzmann distribution. Finally, we study sufficient conditions for the existence of perfect matchings, Hamilton cycles and bounded degree trees in randomly perturbed graph models if the underlying deterministic graph is sparse [93].

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Author:Maximilian Grischa Hahn-KlimrothORCiDGND
Referee:Amin Coja-OghlanORCiDGND, Uriel Feige
Advisor:Amin Coja-Oghlan, Yury Person
Document Type:Doctoral Thesis
Date of Publication (online):2021/05/27
Year of first Publication:2021
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Granting Institution:Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität
Date of final exam:2021/11/05
Release Date:2021/08/17
Page Number:259
Institutes:Informatik und Mathematik
Dewey Decimal Classification:5 Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik / 51 Mathematik / 510 Mathematik
Licence (German):License LogoDeutsches Urheberrecht