Randomized Near Neighbor Graphs, Giant Components, and Applications in Data Science

13 Nov 2017  ·  George C. Linderman, Gal Mishne, Yuval Kluger, Stefan Steinerberger ·

If we pick $n$ random points uniformly in $[0,1]^d$ and connect each point to its $k-$nearest neighbors, then it is well known that there exists a giant connected component with high probability. We prove that in $[0,1]^d$ it suffices to connect every point to $ c_{d,1} \log{\log{n}}$ points chosen randomly among its $ c_{d,2} \log{n}-$nearest neighbors to ensure a giant component of size $n - o(n)$ with high probability. This construction yields a much sparser random graph with $\sim n \log\log{n}$ instead of $\sim n \log{n}$ edges that has comparable connectivity properties. This result has nontrivial implications for problems in data science where an affinity matrix is constructed: instead of picking the $k-$nearest neighbors, one can often pick $k' \ll k$ random points out of the $k-$nearest neighbors without sacrificing efficiency. This can massively simplify and accelerate computation, we illustrate this with several numerical examples.

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