The Cover Time of Deterministic Random Walks

  • Tobias Friedrich
  • Thomas Sauerwald


The rotor router model is a popular deterministic analogue of a random walk on a graph. Instead of moving to a random neighbor, the neighbors are served in a fixed order. We examine how quickly this "deterministic random walk" covers all vertices (or all edges). We present general techniques to derive upper bounds for the vertex and edge cover time and derive matching lower bounds for several important graph classes. Depending on the topology, the deterministic random walk can be asymptotically faster, slower or equally fast as the classic random walk. We also examine the short term behavior of deterministic random walks, that is, the time to visit a fixed small number of vertices or edges.

Article Number