Metastability for Glauber dynamics on random graphs

S. Dommers, F. Den Hollander, O. Jovanovski, F.R. Nardi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper, we study metastable behaviour at low temperature of Glauber spin-flip dynamics on random graphs. We fix a large number of vertices and randomly allocate edges according to the configuration model with a prescribed degree distribution. Each vertex carries a spin that can point either up or down. Each spin interacts with a positive magnetic field, while spins at vertices that are connected by edges also interact with each other via a ferromagnetic pair potential. We start from the configuration where all spins point down, and allow spins to flip up or down according to a Metropolis dynamics at positive temperature. We are interested in the time it takes the system to reach the configuration where all spins point up. In order to achieve this transition, the system needs to create a sufficiently large droplet of up-spins, called critical droplet, which triggers the crossover. In the limit as the temperature tends to zero, and subject to a certain key hypothesis implying metastable behaviour, the average crossover time follows the classical Arrhenius law, with an exponent and a prefactor that are controlled by the energy and the entropy of the critical droplet. The crossover time divided by its average is exponentially distributed. We study the scaling behaviour of the exponent as the number of vertices tends to infinity, deriving upper and lower bounds. We also identify a regime for the magnetic field and the pair potential in which the key hypothesis is satisfied. The critical droplets, representing the saddle points for the crossover, have a size that is of the order of the number of vertices. This is because the random graphs generated by the configuration model are expander graphs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2130-2158
Number of pages29
JournalThe Annals of Applied Probability
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2017


  • Configuration model
  • Critical droplet
  • Glauber spin-flip dynamics
  • Metastability
  • Random graph


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