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Constructing a spanning tree of a graph is one of the most basic tasks in graph theory. We consider a relaxed version of this problem in the setting of local algorithms. The relaxation is that the constructed subgraph is a sparse spanning subgraph containing at most (1+ϵ)n edges (where n is the number of vertices and ϵ is a given approximation/sparsity parameter). In the local setting, the goal is to quickly determine whether a given edge e belongs to such a subgraph, without constructing the whole subgraph, but rather by inspecting (querying) the local neighborhood of e. The challenge is to maintain consistency. That is, to provide answers concerning different edges according to the same spanning subgraph. We first show that for general boundeddegree graphs, the query complexity of any such algorithm must be Ω(n−−√). This lower bound holds for constantdegree graphs that have high expansion. Next we design an algorithm for (boundeddegree) graphs with high expansion, obtaining a result that roughly matches the lower bound. We then turn to study graphs that exclude a fixed minor (and are hence nonexpanding). We design an algorithm for such graphs, which may have an unbounded maximum degree. The query complexity of this algorithm is poly(1/ϵ,h) (independent of n and the maximum degree), where h is the number of vertices in the excluded minor. Though our two algorithms are designed for very different types of graphs (and have very different complexities), on a highlevel there are several similarities, and we highlight both the similarities and the differences.more » « less

Constructing a spanning tree of a graph is one of the most basic tasks in graph theory. Motivated by several recent studies of local graph algorithms, we consider the following variant of this problem. Let G be a connected boundeddegree graph. Given an edge e in G we would like to decide whether e belongs to a connected subgraph math formula consisting of math formula edges (for a prespecified constant math formula), where the decision for different edges should be consistent with the same subgraph math formula. Can this task be performed by inspecting only a constant number of edges in G? Our main results are: We show that if every tvertex subgraph of G has expansion math formula then one can (deterministically) construct a sparse spanning subgraph math formula of G using few inspections. To this end we analyze a “local” version of a famous minimumweight spanning tree algorithm. We show that the above expansion requirement is sharp even when allowing randomization. To this end we construct a family of 3regular graphs of high girth, in which every tvertex subgraph has expansion math formula. We prove that for this family of graphs, any local algorithm for the sparse spanning graph problem requires inspecting a number of edges which is proportional to the girth.more » « less