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An outer bound on the rate region of noise-free information networks is given. This outer bound combines properties of entropy with a strong information inequality derived from the structure of the network. This blend of information theoretic and graph theoretic arguments generates many interesting results. For example, the capacity of directed cycles is characterized. Also, a gap between the sparsity of an undirected graph and its capacity is shown. Extending this result, it is shown that multicommodity flow solutions achieve the capacity in an infinite class of undirected graphs, thereby making progress on a conjecture of Li and Li. This result is in sharp contrast to the situation with directed graphs, where a family of graphs is presented in which the gap between the capacity and the rate achievable using multicommodity flows is linear in the size of the graph.
Date of Publication: June 2006