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We consider the Erdős–Rényi random graph G(n, p) inside the critical window, that is when p = 1/n + λn −4/3, for some fixed λ ∈ R. Then, as a metric space with the graph distance rescaled by n −1/3, the sequence of connected components G(n, p) converges towards a sequence of continuous compact metric spaces. The result relies on a bijection between graphs and certain marked random walks, and the theory of continuum random trees. Our result gives access to the answers to a great many questions about distances in critical random graphs. In particular, we deduce that the diameter of G(n, p) rescaled by n −1/3 converges in distribution to an absolutely continuous random variable with finite mean. Keywords: Random graphs, Gromov-Hausdorff distance, scaling limits, continuum random tree, diameter. 2000 Mathematics subject classification: 05C80, 60C05

Year: 2009

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