## Abstract

In nature, search processes that use randomly oriented steps of different lengths have been observed at both the microscopic and the macroscopic scales. Physicists have analyzed in depth two such processes on grid topologies: Intermittent Search, which uses two step lengths, and Lévy Walk, which uses many. Taking a computational perspective, this paper considers the number of distinct step lengths k as a complexity measure of the considered process. Our goal is to understand what is the optimal achievable time needed to cover the whole terrain, for any given value of k. Attention is restricted to dimension one, since on higher dimensions, the simple random walk already displays a quasi linear cover time. We say X is a k -intermittent search on the one dimensional n-node cycle if there exists a probability distribution p=(pi)i=1k, and integers L_{1}, L_{2}, …, L_{k}, such that on each step X makes a jump ± L_{i} with probability p_{i}, where the direction of the jump (+ or −) is chosen independently with probability 1/2. When performing a jump of length L_{i}, the process consumes time L_{i}, and is only considered to visit the last point reached by the jump (and not any other intermediate nodes). This assumption is consistent with biological evidence, in which entities do not search while moving ballistically. We provide upper and lower bounds for the cover time achievable by k-intermittent searches for any integer k. In particular, we prove that in order to reduce the cover time Θ(n^{2}) of a simple random walk to linear in n up to logarithmic factors, roughly lognloglogn step lengths are both necessary and sufficient, and we provide an example where the lengths form an exponential sequence. In addition, inspired by the notion of intermittent search, we introduce the Walk or Probe problem, which can be defined with respect to arbitrary graphs. Here, it is assumed that querying (probing) a node takes significantly more time than moving to a random neighbor. Hence, to efficiently probe all nodes, the goal is to balance the time spent walking randomly and the time spent probing. We provide preliminary results for connected graphs and regular graphs.

Original language | English |
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Title of host publication | LATIN 2018 |

Subtitle of host publication | Theoretical Informatics - 13th Latin American Symposium, Proceedings |

Editors | Miguel A. Mosteiro, Michael A. Bender, Martin Farach-Colton |

Publisher | Springer Verlag |

Pages | 174-186 |

Number of pages | 13 |

ISBN (Print) | 9783319774039 |

DOIs | |

State | Published - 1 Jan 2018 |

Event | 13th International Symposium on Latin American Theoretical Informatics, LATIN 2018 - Buenos Aires, Argentina Duration: 16 Apr 2018 → 19 Apr 2018 |

### Publication series

Name | Lecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics) |
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Volume | 10807 LNCS |

ISSN (Print) | 0302-9743 |

ISSN (Electronic) | 1611-3349 |

### Conference

Conference | 13th International Symposium on Latin American Theoretical Informatics, LATIN 2018 |
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Country/Territory | Argentina |

City | Buenos Aires |

Period | 16/04/18 → 19/04/18 |

## ASJC Scopus subject areas

- Theoretical Computer Science
- General Computer Science