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Recursive Random Contraction Revisited

by   David R. Karger, et al.
cornell university

In this note, we revisit the recursive random contraction algorithm of Karger and Stein for finding a minimum cut in a graph. Our revisit is occasioned by a paper of Fox, Panigrahi, and Zhang which gives an extension of the Karger-Stein algorithm to minimum cuts and minimum k-cuts in hypergraphs. When specialized to the case of graphs, the algorithm is somewhat different than the original Karger-Stein algorithm. We show that the analysis becomes particularly clean in this case: we can prove that the probability that a fixed minimum cut in an n node graph is returned by the algorithm is bounded below by 1/(2H_n-2), where H_n is the nth harmonic number. We also consider other similar variants of the algorithm, and show that no such algorithm can achieve an asymptotically better probability of finding a fixed minimum cut.


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