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# Derandomizing Algorithms via Spectral Graph Theory

## February 28, 2020 @ 4:45 pm - 5:45 pm

**Speaker:** Salil Vadhan (Harvard)

**Title:**Derandomizing Algorithms via Spectral Graph Theory

**Abstract:**Randomization is a powerful tool for algorithms; it is often easier to design efficient algorithms if we allow the algorithms to “toss coins” and output a correct answer with high probability. However, a longstanding conjecture in theoretical computer science is that every randomized algorithm can be efficiently “derandomized” — converted into a deterministic algorithm (which always outputs the correct answer) with only a polynomial increase in running time and only a constant-factor increase in space (i.e. memory usage). In this talk, I will describe an approach to proving the space (as opposed to time) version of this conjecture via spectral graph theory. Specifically, I will explain how randomized space-bounded algorithms are described by random walks on directed graphs, and techniques in algorithmic spectral graph theory (e.g. solving Laplacian systems) have yielded deterministic space-efficient algorithms for approximating the behavior of such random walks on undirected graphs and Eulerian directed graphs (where every vertex has the same in-degree as out-degree). If these algorithms can be extended to general directed graphs, then the aforementioned conjecture about derandomizing space-efficient algorithms will be resolved.

Joint works with Jack Murtagh, Omer Reingold, Aaron Sidford, AmirMadhi Ahmadinejad, Jon Kelner, and John Peebles.