Greedy Routing and the Algorithmic Small-World Phenomenon

Karl Bringmann, Ralph Keusch, Johannes Lengler, Yannic Maus, Anisur Rahaman Molla

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


The algorithmic small-world phenomenon, empirically established by Milgram's letter forwarding experiments from the 60s, was theoretically explained by Kleinberg in 2000. However, from today's perspective his model has several severe shortcomings that limit the applicability to real-world networks. In order to give a more convincing explanation of the algorithmic small-world phenomenon, we study decentralized greedy routing in a more flexible random graph model (geometric inhomogeneous random graphs) which overcomes all previous shortcomings. Apart from exhibiting good properties in theory, it has also been extensively experimentally validated that this model reasonably captures real-world networks. In this model, the greedy routing protocol is purely distributed as each vertex only needs to know information about its direct neighbors. We prove that it succeeds with constant probability, and in case of success almost surely finds an almost shortest path of length Θ(log log n), where our bound is tight including the leading constant. Moreover, we study natural local patching methods which augment greedy routing by backtracking and which do not require any global knowledge. We show that such methods can ensure success probability 1 in an asymptotically tight number of steps.

These results also address the question of Krioukov et al. whether there are efficient local routing protocols for the internet graph. There were promising experimental studies, but the question remained unsolved theoretically. Our results give for the first time a rigorous and analytical affirmative answer.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes
EventACM Symposium on Principles of Distributed Computing: PODC 2017 - Washington, United States
Duration: 25 Jul 201727 Jul 2017


ConferenceACM Symposium on Principles of Distributed Computing
Abbreviated titlePODC '17
Country/TerritoryUnited States


Dive into the research topics of 'Greedy Routing and the Algorithmic Small-World Phenomenon'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this