Phase transition for Glauber dynamics for independent sets on regular trees

R. Restrepo, D. Stefankovic, J.C. Vera Lizcano, E. Vigoda, L. Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


We study the effect of boundary conditions on the relaxation time (i.e., inverse spectral gap) of the Glauber dynamics for the hard-core model on the tree. The hard-core model is defined on the set of independent sets weighted by a parameter $\lambda$, called the activity or fugacity. The Glauber dynamics is the Markov chain that updates a randomly chosen vertex in each step. On the infinite tree with branching factor $b$, the hard-core model can be equivalently defined as a broadcasting process with a parameter $\omega$ which is the positive solution to $\lambda=\omega(1+\omega)^b$, and vertices are occupied with probability $\omega/(1+\omega)$ when their parent is unoccupied. This broadcasting process undergoes a phase transition between the so-called reconstruction and nonreconstruction regions at $\omega_r\approx \ln{b}/b$. Reconstruction has been of considerable interest recently since it appears to be intimately connected to the efficiency of local algorithms on locally tree-like graphs, such as sparse random graphs. In this paper we show that the relaxation time of the Glauber dynamics on regular trees $T_h$ of height $h$ with branching factor $b$ and $n$ vertices undergoes a phase transition around the reconstruction threshold. In particular, we construct a boundary condition for which the relaxation time slows down at the reconstruction threshold. More precisely, for any $\omega \le \ln{b}/b$, for $T_h$ with any boundary condition, the relaxation time is $\Omega(n)$ and $O(n^{1+o_b(1)})$. In contrast, above the reconstruction threshold we show that for every $\delta>0$, for $\omega=(1+\delta)\ln{b}/b$, the relaxation time on $T_h$ with any boundary condition is $O(n^{1+\delta + o_b(1)})$, and we construct a boundary condition where the relaxation time is $\Omega(n^{1+\delta/2 - o_b(1)})$. To prove this lower bound in the reconstruction region we introduce a general technique that transforms a reconstruction algorithm into a set with poor conductance.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)835-861
JournalSIAM Journal on Discrete Mathematics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • phase transition
  • mixing time
  • Glauber dynamics
  • Markov chain
  • Monte Carlo hard-core model
  • independent sets


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