(Nearly) Efficient Algorithms for the Graph Matching Problem on Correlated Random Graphs

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 32 (NeurIPS 2019)

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Boaz Barak, Chi-Ning Chou, Zhixian Lei, Tselil Schramm, Yueqi Sheng


We consider the graph matching/similarity problem of determining how similar two given graphs $G_0,G_1$ are and recovering the permutation $\pi$ on the vertices of $G_1$ that minimizes the symmetric difference between the edges of $G_0$ and $\pi(G_1)$. Graph matching/similarity has applications for pattern matching, vision, social network anonymization, malware analysis, and more. We give the first efficient algorithms proven to succeed in the correlated Erdös-Rényi model (Pedarsani and Grossglauser, 2011). Specifically, we give a polynomial time algorithm for the graph similarity/hypothesis testing task which works for every constant level of correlation between the two graphs that can be arbitrarily close to zero. We also give a quasi-polynomial ($n^{O(\log n)}$ time) algorithm for the graph matching task of recovering the permutation minimizing the symmetric difference in this model. This is the first algorithm to do so without requiring as additional input a ``seed'' of the values of the ground truth permutation on at least $n^{\Omega(1)}$ vertices. Our algorithms follow a general framework of counting the occurrences of subgraphs from a particular family of graphs allowing for tradeoffs between efficiency and accuracy.