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Abstract:In this paper we address the problem of testing whether two observed trees $(t,t')$ are sampled either independently or from a joint distribution under which they are correlated. This problem, which we refer to as correlation detection in trees, plays a key role in the study of graph alignment for two correlated random graphs. Motivated by graph alignment, we investigate the conditions of existence of one-sided tests, i.e. tests which have vanishing type I error and non-vanishing power in the limit of large tree depth. For the correlated Galton-Watson model with Poisson offspring of mean $\lambda>0$ and correlation parameter $s \in (0,1)$, we identify a phase transition in the limit of large degrees at $s = \sqrt{\alpha}$, where $\alpha \sim 0.3383$ is Otter's constant. Namely, we prove that no such test exists for $s \leq \sqrt{\alpha}$, and that such a test exists whenever $s > \sqrt{\alpha}$, for $\lambda$ large enough. This result sheds new light on the graph alignment problem in the sparse regime (with $O(1)$ average node degrees) and on the performance of the MPAlign method studied in Ganassali et al. (2021), Piccioli et al. (2021), proving in particular the conjecture of Piccioli et al. (2021) that MPAlign succeeds in the partial recovery task for correlation parameter $s>\sqrt{\alpha}$ provided the average node degree $\lambda$ is large enough.

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Abstract:Message passing algorithms have proved surprisingly successful in solving hard constraint satisfaction problems on sparse random graphs. In such applications, variables are fixed sequentially to satisfy the constraints. Message passing is run after each step. Its outcome provides an heuristic to make choices at next step. This approach has been referred to as `decimation,' with reference to analogous procedures in statistical physics. The behavior of decimation procedures is poorly understood. Here we consider a simple randomized decimation algorithm based on belief propagation (BP), and analyze its behavior on random k-satisfiability formulae. In particular, we propose a tree model for its analysis and we conjecture that it provides asymptotically exact predictions in the limit of large instances. This conjecture is confirmed by numerical simulations.

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