We study resistance sparsification of graphs, in which the goal is to find a sparse subgraph (with reweighted edges) that approximately preserves the effective resistances between every pair of nodes. We show that every dense regular expander admits a (1+epsilon)-resistance sparsifier of size ~O(n/epsilon), and conjecture this bound holds for all graphs on n nodes. In comparison, spectral sparsification is a strictly stronger notion and requires Omega(n/epsilon^2) edges even on the complete graph.

Our approach leads to the following structural question on graphs: Does every dense regular expander contain a sparse regular expander as a subgraph? Our main technical contribution, which may of independent interest, is a positive answer to this question in a certain setting of parameters. Combining this with a recent result of von Luxburg, Radl, and Hein (JMLR, 2014) leads to the aforementioned resistance sparsifiers.