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We propose a new Monte Carlo method, based on dynamic importance sampling, to estimate the probability that a given set of nodes is connected in a graph (or network) where each link is failed with a given probability. The method generates the link states one by one, using a sampling strategy that approximates an ideal zero-variance importance sampling scheme. The approximation is based on minimal cuts in subgraphs. In an asymptotic rare-event regime where failure probability becomes very small, we prove that the relative error of our estimator remains bounded, and even converges to 0 under additional conditions, when the unreliability of individual links converges to 0. The empirical performance of the new sampling scheme is illustrated by examples.
Date of Publication: Sept. 2011