Date of Original Version
Copyright © SIAM
Abstract or Description
We give an approximation algorithm for non-uniform sparsest cut with the following guarantee: For any ε, δ ∊ (0, 1), given cost and demand graphs with edge weights respectively, we can find a set T ⊆ V with at most times the optimal non-uniform sparsest cut value, in time 2r/(δε) poly(n) provided Λr ≥ Φ*/(1 − δ). Here Λr is the r'th smallest generalized eigenvalue of the Laplacian matrices of cost and demand graphs; C(T, V \ T) (resp. D(T, V \ T)) is the weight of edges crossing the (T, V \ T) cut in cost (resp. demand) graph and Φ* is the sparsity of the optimal cut. In words, we show that the non-uniform sparsest cut problem is easy when the generalized spectrum grows moderately fast. To the best of our knowledge, there were no results based on higher order spectra for non-uniform sparsest cut prior to this work.
Even for uniform sparsest cut, the quantitative aspects of our result are somewhat stronger than previous methods. Similar results hold for other expansion measures like edge expansion, normalized cut, and conductance, with the r'th smallest eigenvalue of the normalized Laplacian playing the role of Λr(G) in the latter two cases.
Our proof is based on an ℓ1-embedding of vectors from a semi-definite program from the Lasserre hierarchy. The embedded vectors are then rounded to a cut using standard threshold rounding. We hope that the ideas connecting ℓ1-embeddings to Lasserre SDPs will find other applications. Another aspect of the analysis is the adaptation of the column selection paradigm from our earlier work on rounding Lasserre SDPs  to pick a set of edges rather than vertices. This feature is important in order to extend the algorithms to non-uniform sparsest cut.
Proceedings of the ACM-SIAM Symposium on Discrete Algorithms (SODA), 2013, 295-305.