CS4423 - Networks

Prof. Götz Pfeiffer
School of Mathematics, Statistics and Applied Mathematics
NUI Galway

3. Random Networks

Lecture 13: Properties of Random Graphs.

In [ ]:
import numpy as np
import pandas as pd
import networkx as nx
import matplotlib.pyplot as plt

Probability Distributions

Denote by $G_n$ the set of all graphs on the $n$ points $X = \{1, \dots, n\}$. Regard the ER models $A$ and $B$ as probability distributions:

Notation: $N = \binom{n}{2}$, the maximal number of edges of a graph $G \in G_n$.

$m(G)$: the number of edges of a graph $G$.

$G(n,m)$: $$ P(G) = \begin{cases} \binom{N}{m}^{-1}, & \text{if } m(G) = m, \\ 0, & \text{else.} \end{cases} $$

$G(n, p)$: $$ P(G) = p^m (1-p)^{N-m}, $$ where $m = m(G)$.

Expected Values

In $G(n, m)$:

  • the expected size is $$ \bar{m} = m, $$ as every graph $G$ in $G(n, m)$ has exactly $m$ edges.

  • the expected average degree is $$ \bar{k} = \frac{2m}{n}, $$ as every graph has average degree $2m/n$.

Other properties of $G(n, m)$ are less straightforward, it is easier to work with the $G(n, p)$. However, in the limit (as $n$ grows larger) the differences between the two models can be neglected.

In $G(n, p)$, with $N = \binom{n}{2}$:

  • the expected size is $$ \bar{m} = pN, $$

  • and the variance is $$ \sigma_m^2 = N p (1-p); $$

  • the expected average degree is $$ \bar{k} = p (n-1). $$

  • and the standard deviation is $$ \sigma_k = \sqrt{p(1-p)n} $$

In particular, the relative standard deviation (or the coefficient of variation) of the size of a random model $B$ graph is $$ \frac{\sigma_m}{\bar{m}} = \sqrt{\frac{1-p}{pN}} = \sqrt{\frac{2(1-p)}{p n (n-1)}} = \sqrt{\frac{2}{n \bar{k}} - \frac{2}{n (n-1)}} , $$ a quantity that converges to $0$ as $n \to \infty$ if $p (n-1) = \bar{k}$, the average node degree, is kept constant.

In that sense, for large graphs, the fluctuations in the size of random graphs in model $B$ can be neglected.

Degree distribution

**Definition.** The **degree distribution** $p\colon \mathbb{N}_0 \to \mathbb{R},\, k \mapsto p_k$ of a graph $G$ is defined as $$ p_k = \frac{n_k}{n}, $$ where, for $k \geq 0$, $n_k$ is the number of nodes of degree $k$ in $G$.

This definition can be extended to ensembles of graphs with $n$ nodes (like the random graphs $G(n, m)$ and $G(n, p)$), by setting $$ p_k = \bar{n}_k/n, $$ where $\bar{n}_k$ denotes the expected value of the random variable $n_k$ over the ensemble of graphs.

  • The degree distribution in a random graph $G(n, p)$ is a binomial distribution: $$ p_k = \binom{n-1}{k}p^k (1-p)^{n-1-k} = \mathrm{Bin}(n-1, p, k) $$
  • In the limit $n \to \infty$, with $\bar{k} = p (n-1)$ kept constant, the binomial distribution $\mathrm{Bin}(n-1, p, k)$ is well approximated by the Poisson distribution: $$ p_k = e^{-\lambda} \frac{\lambda^k}{k!} = \mathrm{Pois}(\lambda, k), $$ where $\lambda = p (n-1)$.
In [ ]:
import math
$$\binom{n}{k} = \frac{n \cdot (n-1) \dotsm (n-k+1)}{1 \cdot 2 \dotsm k}$$
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def binomial(n, k):
    prd, top, bot = 1, n, 1
    for i in range(k):
        prd = (prd * top) // bot
        top, bot = top - 1, bot + 1
    return prd
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l = [binomial(16, k) for k in range(17)]
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df = pd.DataFrame(l)
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For $n$ larger than $k$, Stirlings formula $$ n! \sim \sqrt{2 \pi n} \left(\tfrac{n}{e}\right)^n $$ can be used to approximate a binomial coefficient as follows:

$$ \binom{n}{k} = \frac{n \cdot (n-1) \dots (n-k+1)}{k!} \approx \frac{(n-k/2)^k}{k^k e^{-k} \sqrt{2 \pi k}} = \frac{(n/k - 0.5)^k e^k}{\sqrt{2 \pi k}} $$
In [ ]:
from math import exp, sqrt, pi, log
def binom_approx(n, k):
    return (n/k - 0.5)**k * exp(k) / sqrt(2 * pi * k)
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n = binomial(100, 2)
k = 50
print(binomial(n, k))
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print(binom_approx(n, k))
print(binomial(n, k) / 10**120)

Phase Transitions

Point of view: for the random graph $G(n, p)$, suppose that $p = p(n)$ is a function of $n$, the number of nodes, and study the ensemble of graphs $G(n, p(n))$, as $n \to \infty$.

Then, to say that almost every graph has property $Q$ means that the probability of a graph in the ensemble to have property $Q$ tends to $1$, as $n \to \infty$.

**Theorem (Appearance of Subgraphs).** Let $F$ be a connected graph with $a$ nodes and $b$ edges. * If $p(n)/n^{-a/b} \to 0$ then almost every graph in the ensemble $G(n, p(n))$ does not contain a copy of $F$. * If $p(n)/n^{-a/b} \to \infty$ then almost every graph in the ensemble $G(n, p(n))$ does contain a copy of $F$. * If $p(n) = c n^{-a/b}$ then, as $n \to \infty$, the number $n_F$ of $F$-subgraphs in $G$ has distribution $\mathrm{Pois}(\lambda, r)$, where $\lambda = c^b/|\mathrm{Aut(F)}|$, with $|\mathrm{Aut}(F)|$ being the number of *automorphisms* of $F$.

For example:

  • Trees with $a$ nodes appear when $p(n) = c n^{-a/(a-1)}$.
  • Cycles of order $a$ appear when $p(n) = c n^{-1}$.
  • Complete subgraphs of order $a$ appear when $p(n) = c n^{-2/(a-1)}$.

Numbers of

  • triads: $3 \binom{n}{3} p^2 = \tfrac12 n(n-1)(n-2)p^2$,
  • triangles: $\binom{n}{3} p^3 = \tfrac16 n(n-1)(n-2)p^3$.

The Giant Connected Component

**Definition (Giant Component).** A connected component of a graph $G$ is called a giant component if its number of nodes increases with the order $n$ of $G$ as some positive power of $n$.

Suppose $p(n) = c (n-1)^{-1}$ for some positive constant $c$. (Then $\bar{k} = c$ remains fixed as $n \to \infty$.)

Theorem (Erdös-Rényi).

  • If $c < 1$ the graph contains many small components, orders bounded by $O(\ln n)$.
  • If $c = 1$ the graph has large components of order $O(n^{2/3})$.
  • If $c > 1$ there is a unique giant component of order $O(n)$.

Moreover, $p(n) = \frac1n \ln n$ is the threshold probability for $G$ to be connected. (This corresponds to $m = \frac12 n \ln n$ in model $A$.)


  1. Design an experiment with random graphs of suitable degree and size to verify the predicted numbers of triads and triangles above.
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