Sandpile Prediction on Structured Undirected Graphs

by   Ruinian Chang, et al.

We present algorithms that compute the terminal configurations for sandpile instances in O(n log n) time on trees and O(n) time on paths, where n is the number of vertices. The Abelian Sandpile model is a well-known model used in exploring self-organized criticality. Despite a large amount of work on other aspects of sandpiles, there have been limited results in efficiently computing the terminal state, known as the sandpile prediction problem. Our algorithm improves the previous best runtime of O(n log^5 n) on trees [Ramachandran-Schild SODA '17] and O(n log n) on paths [Moore-Nilsson '99]. To do so, we move beyond the simulation of individual events by directly computing the number of firings for each vertex. The computation is accelerated using splittable binary search trees. We also generalize our algorithm to adapt at most three sink vertices, which is the first prediction algorithm faster than mere simulation on a sandpile model with sinks. We provide a general reduction that transforms the prediction problem on an arbitrary graph into problems on its subgraphs separated by any vertex set P. The reduction gives a time complexity of O(log^|P| n · T) where T denotes the total time for solving on each subgraph. In addition, we give algorithms in O(n) time on cliques and O(n log^2 n) time on pseudotrees.


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