Largest Eigenvalue of the Configuration Model and Breaking of Ensemble Equivalence


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We analyse the largest eigenvalue of the adjacency matrix of the configuration model with large degrees, where the latter are treated as hard constraints. In particular, we compute the expectation of the largest eigenvalue for degrees that diverge as the number of vertices $n$ tends to infinity, uniformly on a scale between $1$ and $\sqrt{n}$, and show that a weak law of large numbers holds. We compare with what was derived in our earlier paper "Central limit theorem for the principal eigenvalue and eigenvector of Chung-Lu random graphs" for the Chung-Lu model, which in the regime considered represents the corresponding configuration model with soft constraints, and show that the expectation is shifted down by $1$ asymptotically. This shift is a signature of breaking of ensemble equivalence between the hard and soft (also known as micro-canonical and canonical) versions of the configuration model. The latter result generalizes a previous finding in "A spectral signature of breaking of ensemble equivalence for constrained random graphs" obtained in the case when all degrees are equal.
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