Polynomial Mixing of the Edge-Flip Markov Chain for Unbiased Dyadic Tilings

Authors Sarah Cannon, David A. Levin, Alexandre Stauffer

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Sarah Cannon
David A. Levin
Alexandre Stauffer

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Sarah Cannon, David A. Levin, and Alexandre Stauffer. Polynomial Mixing of the Edge-Flip Markov Chain for Unbiased Dyadic Tilings. In Approximation, Randomization, and Combinatorial Optimization. Algorithms and Techniques (APPROX/RANDOM 2017). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 81, pp. 34:1-34:21, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2017)


We give the first polynomial upper bound on the mixing time of the edge-flip Markov chain for unbiased dyadic tilings, resolving an open problem originally posed by Janson, Randall, and Spencer in 2002. A dyadic tiling of size n is a tiling of the unit square by n non-overlapping dyadic rectangles, each of area 1/n, where a dyadic rectangle is any rectangle that can be written in the form [a2^{-s}, (a+1)2^{-s}] x [b2^{-t}, (b+1)2^{-t}] for a,b,s,t nonnegative integers. The edge-flip Markov chain selects a random edge of the tiling and replaces it with its perpendicular bisector if doing so yields a valid dyadic tiling. Specifically, we show that the relaxation time of the edge-flip Markov chain for dyadic tilings is at most O(n^{4.09}), which implies that the mixing time is at most O(n^{5.09}). We complement this by showing that the relaxation time is at least Omega(n^{1.38}), improving upon the previously best lower bound of Omega(n*log n) coming from the diameter of the chain.
  • Random dyadic tilings
  • spectral gap
  • rapid mixing


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