Random regular graphs: from spectrum to geometry and back

ACO Seminar
Friday, October 23, 2009 - 15:05
1 hour (actually 50 minutes)
Skiles 255
Microsoft Research, Redmond, WA
The class of random regular graphs has been the focus of extensive study highlighting the excellent expansion properties of its typical instance. For instance, it is well known that almost every regular graph of fixed degree is essentially Ramanujan, and understanding this class of graphs sheds light on the general behavior of expanders. In this talk we will present several recent results on random regular graphs, focusing on the interplay between their spectrum and geometry. We will first discuss the relation between spectral properties and the abrupt convergence of the simple random walk to equilibrium, derived from precise asymptotics of the number of paths between vertices. Following the study of the graph geometry we proceed to its random perturbation via exponential weights on the edges (first-passage-percolation). We then show how this allows the derivation of various properties of the classical Erd\H{o}s-R\'enyi random graph near criticality. Finally, returning to the spectrum of random regular graph, we discuss the question of how close they really are to being Ramanujan and conclude with related problems involving random matrices. Based on joint works with Jian Ding, Jeong Han Kim and Yuval Peres, with Allan Sly and with Benny Sudakov and Van Vu.