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# Detection-Recovery Gap for Planted Dense Cycles

*Proceedings of Thirty Sixth Conference on Learning Theory*, PMLR 195:2440-2481, 2023.

#### Abstract

Planted dense cycles are a type of latent structure that appears in many applications, such as small-world networks in social sciences and sequence assembly in computational biology. We consider a model where a dense cycle with expected bandwidth $n \tau$ and edge density $p$ is planted in an Erdős–Rényi graph $G(n,q)$. We characterize the computational thresholds for the associated detection and recovery problems for the class of low-degree polynomial algorithms. In particular, a gap exists between the two thresholds in a certain regime of parameters. For example, if $n^{-3/4} \ll \tau \ll n^{-1/2}$ and $p = C q = \Theta(1)$ for a constant $C>1$, the detection problem is computationally easy while the recovery problem is hard for low-degree algorithms.