Fast and Deterministic Computation of Fixation Probability in Evolutionary Graphs

Paulo Shakarian and Patrick Roos


Modelling of evolution, network science, stochastic models, network diffusion


In evolutionary graph theory biologists study the problem of determining the probability that a small number of mutants overtake a population that is structured on a weighted, possibly directed graph. Currently Monte Carlo simulations are used for estimating such fixation probabilities on directed graphs, since no good analytical methods exist. In this paper, we introduce a novel deterministic algorithm for computing fixation probabilities for strongly connected directed, weighted evolutionary graphs under the case of neutral drift, which we show to be a lower bound for the case where the mutant is more fit than the rest of the population (previously, this was only observed from simulation). We also show that, in neutral drift, fixation probability is additive under the weighted, directed case. We implement our algorithm and show experimentally that it consistently outperforms Monte Carlo simulations by several orders of magnitude, which can allow researchers to study fixation probability on much larger graphs.

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