Welcome to the posting for first month of 2024! We hope you had a good start to this year. Last month, we had 3 papers. So, without further delay, let’s get started.

**On locally-characterized expander graphs (a survey)** by Oded Goldreich (ECCC) In this paper, written in an expository style, Goldreich surveys the result of Adler, Kohler and Peng which we covered in our posts on May 2021 and August 2020. The survey begins by reminding the reader what a locally-characterizable graph property is. A family of graphs \(\mathcal{G}\) is said to be characterized by a finite class \(\mathcal{F}\) of graphs if every graph \(G \in \mathcal{G}\) is \(F\)-free for all \(F \in \mathcal{G}\). Thanks to its connections with expressibility in first order logic, one would expect the a locally-characterizable graph property to admit testers depending only on the proximity parameter (in the bounded degree graph model). So, it was quite a surprise when Adler, Kohler and Peng showed that there are locally characterizable graph properties which provably require testers whose query complexity increases with the size of the graph. The main theorem of Adler, Kohler and Peng describes the locally characterizable property that is hard to test. This characterization asserts that you can get your hands on a finite class \(\mathcal{F}\) of graphs so that \(\mathcal{F}\)-freeness of a graph \(G\) means that the graph is a (bounded-degree) expander. One of the key ingredients used in this proof is the Zig-Zag construction of Reingold, Vadhan and Wigderson.

**Fast Parallel Sampling under Isoperimetry** by Nima Anari, Sinho Chewi, and Thuy-Duong Vuong (arXiv) The featured paper considers the task of sampling (in parallel) from a continuous distribution \(\pi\) supported over \(\mathbb{R}^d\). The main result in the paper shows that for distributions which satisfy a log-Sobolev inequality, you can use parallelized Langevin Algorithms and obtain samples from a distribution \(\pi’\) where \(\pi’\) and \(\pi\) are close in KL-divergence. As an application of their techniques, the authors show that their results can be used to do obtain RNC samples for directed Eulerian Tours and asymmetric Determinantal Point Processes.

**Holey graphs: very large Betti numbers are testable** by Dániel Szabó, Simon Apers (arXiv) This paper considers the problem of testing whether an input graph \(G\) has a very large \(k\)-th Betti Number (at least \((1-\delta) d_k\) where \(d_k\) denotes the number of \(k\)-cliques in \(G\) and \(\delta > 0\) is sufficiently small) in the dense graph model. As the title indicates, the result says that this property is testable for constant \(k\). Earlier in 2010, Elek investigated this question in the bounded degree model. Elek’s main result showed that with a number of queries \(q = q(\varepsilon\), you can obtain an estimate to the \(k\)-th Betti Number which is within an additive \(\pm \varepsilon n\) of the true \(k\)-th Betti Number. Let us contrast this result with the setting of dense graphs. The authors note that in the dense graph model, getting an estimate to the \(k\)-th Betti Number which is within an additive $\pm \varepsilon d_k$ of the true value needs \(\Omega(n)\) queries. This is the reason why the authors consider the formulation above.