We give a deterministic, nearly logarithmic-space algorithm that given an undirected graph G, a positive integer r, and a set S of vertices, approximates the conductance of S in the r-step random walk on G to within a factor of 1+epsilon, where epsilon>0 is an arbitrarily small constant. More generally, our algorithm computes an epsilon-spectral approximation to the normalized Laplacian of the r-step walk.

Our algorithm combines the derandomized square graph operation [Eyal Rozenman and Salil Vadhan, 2005], which we recently used for solving Laplacian systems in nearly logarithmic space [Murtagh et al., 2017], with ideas from [Cheng et al., 2015], which gave an algorithm that is time-efficient (while ours is space-efficient) and randomized (while ours is deterministic) for the case of even r (while ours works for all r). Along the way, we provide some new results that generalize technical machinery and yield improvements over previous work. First, we obtain a nearly linear-time randomized algorithm for computing a spectral approximation to the normalized Laplacian for odd r. Second, we define and analyze a generalization of the derandomized square for irregular graphs and for sparsifying the product of two distinct graphs. As part of this generalization, we also give a strongly explicit construction of expander graphs of every size.