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    Approximate Counting via Correlation Decay in Spin Systems
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    Update time: 2011-12-12
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    Title: Approximate Counting via Correlation Decay in Spin Systems
    Speaker: Dr. Yin Yitong, Nangjing University
    Inviter: Dr. Sun Xiaoming, Center for Advanced Computing Research, ICT
    Time: 14:00pm-15:00pm, December 13th, 2011 (Tuesday)
    Place: Room 446, Institute of Computing Technology, Chinese Academy of Sciences
    Abstract:
    We give the first deterministic fully polynomial-time approximation scheme (FPTAS) for computing the partition function of a two-state spin system on an arbitrary graph, when the parameters of the system satisfy the uniqueness condition on infinite regular trees. This condition is of physical significance and is believed to be the right boundary between approximable and inapproximable.
    The FPTAS is based on the correlation decay technique introduced by Bandyopadhyay and Gamarnik [SODA 06] and Weitz [STOC 06]. The classic correlation decay is defined with respect to graph distance. Although this definition has natural physical meanings, it does not directly support an FPTAS for systems on arbitrary graphs, because for graphs with unbounded degrees, the local computation that provides a desirable precision by correlation decay may take super-polynomial time. We introduce a notion of computationally efficient correlation decay, in which the correlation decay is measured in a refined metric instead of graph distance. We use a potential method to analyze the amortized behavior of this correlation decay and establish a correlation decay that guarantees an inverse-polynomial precision by polynomial-time local computation. This gives us an FPTAS for spin systems on arbitrary graphs. This new notion of correlation decay properly reflects the algorithmic aspect of the spin systems, and may be used for designing FPTAS for other counting problems.
     

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