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How can I prove that the cover time for a directed graph $G$ can be exponential in the size of $G$?

The cover time is the expected length of a random walk that visits all vertices.

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  • 4
    $\begingroup$ What is the "cover time"? $\endgroup$ – Raphael Jun 22 '12 at 14:57
  • $\begingroup$ I think cover time means the expected number of steps taken by a random walk to visit every vertex. $\endgroup$ – Juho Jun 22 '12 at 21:19
  • $\begingroup$ You also have to assume that the graph is strongly connected. $\endgroup$ – Yuval Filmus Jan 27 '13 at 6:38
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You do it in two steps:

  1. First you think of a graph which you can expect to be difficult.

  2. Then you prove your suspicion.

Let's start with the first step - do you have any graph in mind?

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    $\begingroup$ To a novice, it might not be at all obvious that when you say “think of a graph”, you really mean “for all $n$ [or at least an infinite number of integers $n$], think of a graph of size $n$” and “prove your suspicion” involves computing the cover size in terms of $n$ and finding an expression that is exponential in $n$. A hint that isn't even didactic is really not useful. $\endgroup$ – Gilles 'SO- stop being evil' Jan 14 '15 at 19:13
  • $\begingroup$ @Gilles Why don't you add your own answer, then? $\endgroup$ – Yuval Filmus Jan 14 '15 at 20:01

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