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# Faster Monte-Carlo Algorithms for Fixation Probability of the Moran Process on Undirected Graphs

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## Cite As

Krishnendu Chatterjee, Rasmus Ibsen-Jensen, and Martin A. Nowak. Faster Monte-Carlo Algorithms for Fixation Probability of the Moran Process on Undirected Graphs. In 42nd International Symposium on Mathematical Foundations of Computer Science (MFCS 2017). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 83, pp. 61:1-61:13, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2017)
https://doi.org/10.4230/LIPIcs.MFCS.2017.61

## Abstract

Evolutionary graph theory studies the evolutionary dynamics in a population structure given as a connected graph. Each node of the graph represents an individual of the population, and edges determine how offspring are placed. We consider the classical birth-death Moran process where there are two types of individuals, namely, the residents with fitness 1 and mutants with fitness r. The fitness indicates the reproductive strength. The evolutionary dynamics happens as follows: in the initial step, in a population of all resident individuals a mutant is introduced, and then at each step, an individual is chosen proportional to the fitness of its type to reproduce, and the offspring replaces a neighbor uniformly at random. The process stops when all individuals are either residents or mutants. The probability that all individuals in the end are mutants is called the fixation probability, which is a key factor in the rate of evolution. We consider the problem of approximating the fixation probability. The class of algorithms that is extremely relevant for approximation of the fixation probabilities is the Monte-Carlo simulation of the process. Previous results present a polynomial-time Monte-Carlo algorithm for undirected graphs when \$r\$ is given in unary. First, we present a simple modification: instead of simulating each step, we discard ineffective steps, where no node changes type (i.e., either residents replace residents, or mutants replace mutants). Using the above simple modification and our result that the number of effective steps is concentrated around the expected number of effective steps, we present faster polynomial-time Monte-Carlo algorithms for undirected graphs. Our algorithms are always at least a factor O(n^2/log n) faster as compared to the previous algorithms, where n is the number of nodes, and is polynomial even if r is given in binary. We also present lower bounds showing that the upper bound on the expected number of effective steps we present is asymptotically tight for undirected graphs.
##### Keywords
• Graph algorithms
• Evolutionary biology
• Monte-Carlo algorithms

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## References

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