We investigate the statistical properties of cut sizes generated by heuristic algorithms which solve approximately the graph bisection problem. On an ensemble of sparse random graphs, we find empirically that the distribution of the cut sizes found by “local” algorithms becomes peaked as the number of vertices in the graphs becomes large. Evidence is given that this distribution tends towards a Gaussian whose mean and variance scales linearly with the number of vertices of the graphs. Given the distribution of cut sizes associated with each heuristic, we provide a ranking procedure which takes into account both the quality of the solutions and the speed of the algorithms. This procedure is demonstrated for a selection of local graph bisection heuristics
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