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Poisson convergence and random graphs

  • A. D. Barbour (a1)

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Approximation by the Poisson distribution arises naturally in the theory of random graphs, as in many other fields, when counting the number of occurrences of individually rare and unrelated events within a large ensemble. For example, one may be concerned with the number of times that a particular small configuration is repeated in a large graph, such questions being considered, amongst others, in the fundamental paper of Erdös and Rényi (4). The technique normally used to obtain such approximations in random graph theory is based on showing that the factorial moments of the quantity concerned converge to those of a Poisson distribution as the size of the graph tends to infinity. Since the rth factorial moment is just the expected number of ordered r-tuples of events occurring, it is particularly well suited to evaluation by combinatorial methods. Unfortunately, such a technique becomes very difficult to manage if the mean of the approximating Poisson distribution is itself increasing with the size of the graph, and this limits the scope of the results obtainable.

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(1)Barbour, A. D. and Eagleson, G. K. Poisson approximation for some statistics based on exchangeable trials. (1982).
(2)Bollobá;s, B.Threshold functions for small subgraphs. Math. Proc. Cambridge Phil. Soc. 90 (1981), 197206.
(3)Chen, L. H. Y.Poisson approximation for dependent trials. Ann. Prob. 3 (1975), 534545.
(4)Erdös, P. and Rényi, A.On the evolution of random graphs. Publ. Math. Inst. Hung. Acad. Sci. V, (1960), 1761.
(5)Schürger, K.Limit theorems for complete subgraphs of random graphs. Period. Mat. Hung. 10 (1979), 4753.
(6)Stein, C.A bound for the error in the normal approximation to the distribution of a sum of dependent random variables. Proc. Vlth Berk. Symp. Math. Slat. Prob. 2 (1970), 583602.

Poisson convergence and random graphs

  • A. D. Barbour (a1)

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