# 9 Approximation and Complexity

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1 9 Approximation and Complexity In this section we will demonstrate that the PCP Theorem is very useful for proving that certain problems are hard to approximate. An approximation algorithm for an optimization problem is an algorithm that computes solutions whose cost is within a factor of α of the optimal solution, where α > is called the approximation ratio of the algorithm. If we have a minimization problem, this means that the solutions should be at most α times the optimum, and in case of a maximization problem, the solutions should be at least /α times the value of the optimal solution. An optimization problem has a polynomial time approximation scheme (or PTAS) if the approximation ratio can be made as small as +ɛ for any constant ɛ > 0. A fully polynomial approximation scheme (or FPTAS) is a PTAS whose runtime is polynomial in /ɛ and the size of the input. 9. Hardness of approximating 3SAT Recall that a Boolean expression φ is in conjunctive normal form (or CNF) if φ = n i=0 C i, where each of the C i s is a clause (i.e. a disjunction of one or more literals). An expression φ in CNF is said to be in 3CNF if all clauses contain exactly three literals. For example, φ = (x x 2 x 3 ) ( x x 4 x 5 ) (x 2 x 3 x 4 ) is an expression in 3CNF. Consider the following language: 3SAT = {φ φ is a satifiable Boolean expression in 3CNF} It is known that 3SAT is NP-complete, that is, it is as hard as the SAT problem. Thus, it may not be possible to decide 3SAT in polynomial time. Furthermore, the NP-hardness of this decision problem implies the NP-hardness of the corresponding optimization problem, called MAX3SAT. In MAX3SAT, we are given a Boolean expression φ in 3CNF and the goal is to find an assignment that maximizes the number of satisfied clauses in φ. The maximum fraction of satisfiable clauses in φ (i.e. the maximum number of satisfiable clauses divided by the total number of clauses in φ) is denoted by σ(φ). In order to prove the NP-hardness of computing α-approximations to MAX3SAT for some fixed α >, we will show that the following decision problem is NP-hard for some constant ɛ > 0. In MAX3SAT(ɛ) we are given a 3CNF expression φ with the promise that either σ(φ) = or σ(φ) < /( + ɛ). The problem is to decide which of the properties is correct. That is, we want to have a Turing machine that outputs if φ is satisfiable and 0 otherwise. The connection between the hardness of approximation and the PCP Theorem is given by the following result, which is due to [ALMSS]. Theorem 9. MAX3SAT(ɛ) is NP-hard for some constant ɛ > 0 if and only if NP PCP(log, O()). Proof. : Let L be an arbitrary NP-language. If MAX3SAT(ɛ) is NP-hard, then there is a polynomial time reduction from L to MAX3SAT(ɛ). Now we show that L PCP(log, O()). Let

2 x be any input. The verifier first reduces x to an instance φ of MAX3SAT(ɛ) that is satisfiable if and only if x L. As a membership proof for x, the verifier expects a satisfying assignment for φ. Given such a membership proof, it does a probabilistic check on it by randomly choosing a clause in φ and querying the values of the three variables involved in that clause. It accepts if and only if the clause is satisfied. Clearly, if x L, then a satisfying assignment for φ will cause the verifier to accept with probability. On the other hand, if x L, then every assignment satisfies less than a fraction of the clauses and so the verifier accepts with probability less than +ɛ. By repeating the check Θ(/ɛ) times (which is still some fixed constant), the acceptance +ɛ probability can be reduced to /2. : Suppose that NP PCP(log, O()), and hence in particular, SAT PCP(log, O()). We show the NP-hardness of MAX3SAT(ɛ) for some fixed ɛ > 0. Let ψ be an instance of SAT. Given a value for the random string r, let q (ψ, r),..., q c (ψ, r) denote the positions of the proof string queried by the verifier. For each value of r, the computation of the verifier is determined by the value of the proof string at these positions. Therefore, the outcome of the computation is a function of a constant number of bits in the proof and so can be represented by a constant size 3CNF formula φ ψ,r in the sense that φ ψ,r is true if and only if V π (ψ, r) accepts. Let φ ψ be the conjunction of φ ψ,r for all possible values of r. If ψ is satisfiable, then there is a proof π such that all φ ψ,r are true, and therefore φ ψ is satisfiable. On the other hand, if ψ is not satisfiable, then, for every π, at least half of the φ ψ,r in φ ψ are not satisfied. Since the expression φ ψ can be constructed in polynomial time, this shows that SAT reduces to MAX3SAT(ɛ) for some constant ɛ > 0. Therefore, by the fact that NP PCP(log, O()) (see the previous section), we have the following. Corollary 9.2 MAX3SAT does not have a PTAS unless P = NP. Proof. Suppose there is a polynomial time approximation algorithm for MAX3SAT with approximation ratio less than ( + ɛ), where ɛ is chosen as in Theorem 9.. On input ψ, apply this algorithm to the expression φ ψ resulting from the construction for MAX3SAT(ɛ) in the previous proof. If the algorithm finds an assignment that satisfies more than a fraction of /( + ɛ) of the clauses, then φ must be satisfiable, otherwise φ is unsatisfiable. Using this as a polynomial time algorithm for 3SAT would imply that P = NP. 9.2 Hardness of approximating CLIQUE A graph is said to contain a clique of size k if it has a set of k nodes that form a completely connected graph (i.e. there is an edge for every pair of nodes). The clique number w(g) of a graph G is the largest size of a clique in it. In the CLIQUE problem, we are given a graph G and a number c IN, and the goal is to decide whether G contains a clique of size at least c. It is not difficult to show that CLIQUE is NP-complete. In this section we will prove that also approximating the clique number of a graph within a reasonably good bound is NP-hard. For this we need the following lemma. 2

3 Lemma 9.3 There is a polynomial time reduction from MAX3SAT to CLIQUE such that for all 3CNF expressions φ with m clauses a graph G φ with 3m nodes can be constructed with the property that for any c [0, ], σ(φ) = c w(g φ ) = c m. Proof. Let φ = C... C m be a 3CNF with variables x,..., x n. We construct τ(φ) in the following way: represent each C i based on the Boolean variables x i, x i2, x i3 by the graph G i = (V i, E i ) with V i = {x i, x i2, x i3 } and E i =. The graph G φ = (V, E) is constructed by taking the union of the V i s and drawing an edge from x ik V i to x jl V j for i j if and only if the literals they represent are not negations of each other. We now show that with this construction, σ(φ) = c w(g φ ) = c m. If σ(φ) = c, then there must be c m different sets V i that contain a node representing a satisfied literal. Since no one of these nodes can represent the negation of another, they must form a completely connected graph, and therefore w(g φ ) c m. On the other hand, if w(g φ ) = c m, then there must be c m nodes from different V i that form a completely connected graph. Since no one of these nodes represents the negation of another, it is possible to have an assignment that satisfies all clauses represented by these V i s. Hence, σ(φ) c Combining this result with Corollary 9.2 we immediately obtain the following result. Corollary 9.4 CLIQUE does not have a PTAS unless P = NP. Next we show that the situation for CLIQUE is much worse. We do this by exploiting a self-improvement property of CLIQUE which is defined by means of a graph product (that is, we present a reduction from CLIQUE to CLIQUE which increases the gap). In this graph product we assume that a graph has a self-loop at every one of its nodes. That is, for a graph G = (V, E) define Ê = E {{u, u} : u V } and consider then instead of G the graph Ĝ = (V, Ê). Definition 9.5 For two graphs G = (V, E ) and G 2 = (V 2, E 2 ) their product G G 2 is the graph whose vertex set is V V 2 and edge set is {{(u, v ), (u 2, v 2 )} : {u, u 2 } Ê and {v, v 2 } Ê2}. There is an intuitive way to visualize the product of two graphs G and G 2. Suppose that V = {u,..., u m } and V 2 = {v,..., v n }. Take n copies of G, which we will call H,..., H n, and place them at the location of the vertices v,..., v n in G 2. We join the vertex labeled u i in H j with the vertex labeled u l in H k if and only if (v j, v k ) Ê2 and (u i, u l ) Ê. With this way of visualizing the graph product it is easily seen that w(g G 2 ) = w(g ) w(g 2 ). Now consider the graph G k = G... G (k times). Then w(g k ) = m k w(g) = m. In fact, one can also come up with an efficient algorithm S that, given a clique of size c in G k, can also find a clique of size k c in G: Let C be the clique found in G k, and let U i be the set of nodes used in the ith coordinate of the nodes in C. Then each U i must be a clique in G. Since k i= U i C, there must be a U i with U i k C, proving the claim above. One can use this algorithm to prove the following result: 3

4 Theorem 9.6 CLIQUE does not have any constant factor polynomial time approximation scheme unless P = NP. Proof. From Corollary 9.4 we know that there is a constant ɛ > 0 so that there cannot be a polynomial time approximation scheme for CLIQUE with an approximation ratio +ɛ. Suppose that we have some + δ-approximation scheme A for CLIQUE for some constant δ. Then we transform algorithm A into the following algorithm B: Given any graph G, compute the graph product G k, use A to compute a clique C in G k, and then apply algorithm S to transform C into a clique C for G. Since A is a + δ-approximation scheme it holds that C + δ w(gk ) = + δ w(g)k Hence, using algorithm R, we obtain a clique C with C k + δ w(g)k = k + δ w(g) Let k now be chosen so that +δ < ( +ɛ )k. Then it follows that C > + ɛ w(g) But this implies that we found a polynomial time approximation scheme for CLIQUE with an approximation ratio of less than + ɛ, which is a contradiction to our assumption above. Since for any constant δ there is a constant k with this property, the theorem follows. Unfortunately, since k has to be a constant in order to have a polynomial time transformation, we cannot go further than showing the impossibility of a constant factor approximation of CLIQUE. Thus, the strength of this gap-producing reduction is somewhat limited. Better bounds can be obtained by using the notion of a booster product. Definition 9.7 A (n, k, α)-booster is a collection S of subsets of {, 2,..., n}, each of size k, such that for every subset A {,..., n}, the sets in the collection that are subsets of A constitute a fraction between (ρ α) k and (ρ + α) k of all sets in S, where ρ = A /n. When ρ <.α, the quantity (ρ α) k should be considered to be 0. We will use the following result from [AFWZ93] about constructibility of booster graphs. Theorem 9.8 For any k = O(log n) and α > 0, an (n, k, α)-booster of size poly(n) can be constructed in poly(n) time. Given a graph G = (V, E) with V = {,..., n} and a booster S, we define their booster product to be constructed by taking as vertices the sets of S, and there is an edge between sets S i, S j S if and only if S i S j is a clique in G. The following lemma is easily proved from the definitions. 4

5 Lemma 9.9 For any graph G and any (n, k, α)-booster, the clique number of the booster product of G lies between ( w(g) α) k S and ( w(g) + α) k S. n n Now we have all the definitions and facts we need to prove that CLIQUE is hard to approximate. Theorem 9.0 There is a constant ɛ > 0 such that approximating CLIQUE within a factor of n ɛ is NP-hard, where n is the number of vertices in the input graph. Proof. Take the graph G resulting from the reduction in Lemma 9.3, and suppose that it has n vertices. The reduction guarantees that, for some constant β > 0, w(g) is either at least n/3 or at most n( β)/3, and it is NP-hard to decide which case holds. Because of Theorem 9.8 we can construct an (n, log n, α)-booster for any constant α > 0 in polynomial time. Call it S. Choose α = β/9 and build the booster product. Now, the clique number of the product is either at least ( ) log n ( ) log n 3 β 3 α S = S 9 or at most ( β 3 + α) log n S = ( ) log n 3 2β S. Thus, the gap is now n γ for some constant γ > 0, and further, S = poly(n). So this gap is S ɛ for some constant ɛ > L-Reductions The reductions presented in the previous sections have not taken into account approximability and are actually inadequate for preserving it. We now introduce a careful kind of reduction that preserves approximability. The idea behind this reduction is as follows: Suppose that A and B are optimization problems. Given that we have an approximation algorithm for B, we would like to design an optimization algorithm for A. For this we need two ingredients: A function R that transforms an instance x for A into an instance R(x) for B so that their optimal values are not too far apart, and a function S that transforms a good approximate solution s for R(x) in B into a good approximate solution S(s) for x in the original problem A. It turns out that the following definition is useful here. An L-reduction from A to B is a pair of functions R and S, both computable in polynomial time (the requirement is usually logarithmic space, but we don t need it here), with the following properties:. If x is an instance of A with optimum cost OP T (x), then R(x) is an instance of B with optimum cost that satisfies where α is a positive constant. OP T (R(x)) α OP T (x), 5 9

6 2. If s is any feasible solution for R(x), then S(s) is a feasible solution for x such that OP T (x) c(s(s)) β OP T (R(x)) c(s), where β is another positive constant particular to the reduction and c denotes the cost in both instances. That is, S is guaranteed to return a feasible solution of x which is not much more suboptimal than the given solution of R(x). Notice that, by the second property, an L-reduction is a true reduction: if s is the optimum solution of R(x), then indeed S(s) must be the optimum solution of x. To illustrate the use of an L-reduction, we look at the following two decision problems. In the (optimization variant of the) INDEPENDENT SET problem, we are given a graph G = (V, E), and the problem is to find a set I V of maximum size such that for all v, w I, {v, w} G. In the (optimization variant of the) of the NODE COVER problem, we are also given a graph G = (V, E), and the problem is to find a set C V of minimum size such that every edge in G has at least one of its endpoints in C. The definitions of INDEPENDENT SET and NODE COVER imply that for any subset U V it holds that U is a node cover if and only if V \ U is an independent set. Hence, a trivial reduction from INDEPENDENT SET to NODE COVER is: R is the identity function, returning the same graph G, while S replaces C with V \C. However, this is not an L-reduction. Its flaw is that the optimum node cover may be arbitrarily larger than the optimum independent set (consider the case in which G is a large clique), violating the first condition. However, if we restrict our graphs to have maximum degree k, the problems go away, and (R, S) is indeed an L-reduction from k-degree INDEPENDENT SET to k-degree NODE COVER. In proof, if the maximum degree is k, then the maximum independent set is at least V /(k +), while the minimum node cover has at most V nodes, and so the constant α = k + satisfies the first condition. Furthermore, the difference between any cover C and the optimum is the same as the difference between V \ C and the maximum independent set, and hence we can take β = in the second condition. L-reductions have the important composition property of ordinary reductions: Proposition 9. If (R, S) is an L-reduction from problem A to problem B and (R, S ) is an L-reduction from problem B to problem C, then their composition (R R, S S ) is an L-reduction from A to C. Proof. It is easy to check that R R and S S are computable in polynomial time. Furthermore, if x is an instance of A, we have OP T (R (R(x))) α OP T (R(x)) and OP T (R(x)) αop T (x), where α and α are the corresponding constants. Thus, OP T (R (R(x))) α α OP T (x). Similarly, it is easy to check that S S satisfies the second condition with the constant β β. The key property of L-reductions is that they preserve approximability. Proposition 9.2 If there is an L-reduction (R, S) from A to B with constants α and β and there is a polynomial time ( + ɛ)-approximation algorithm for B, then there is a polynomial time + γ-approximation algorithm for A, where γ = αβɛ if A is a minimization problem and γ = αβɛ αβɛ if A is a maximization problem. 6

7 Proof. The algorithm is this: given an instance x of A, we construct the instance R(x) of B and then apply to it the assumed ( + ɛ)-approximation algorithm for B to obtain solution s. Finally, we compute the solution S(s) of A. Using this algorithm, it holds that OP T (x) c(s(s)) β OP T (R(x)) c(s) β max{( + ɛ), ( )} OP T (R(x)) +ɛ β ɛ α OP T (x). Hence, if A is a minimization problem, the algorithm is a ( + αβɛ)-approximation algorithm for A. If A is a maximimization problem, then we know that c(s(s)) OP T (x) αβɛ OP T (x) = ( αβɛ)op T (x). Hence, the algorithm is a ( + αβɛ )-approximation algorithm for A. αβɛ The important property of the expressions + αβɛ and + one, so do the expressions. This implies the following result. αβɛ αβɛ is that if + ɛ tends to Corollary 9.3 If there is an L-reduction from A to B and there is a PTAS for B, then there is a PTAS for A. 9.4 The class MAXSNP In this section we show how the L-reduction can be used to establish a class of optimization problems with similar approximability properties. Let MAXSNP 0 be the class of all optimization problems that can be defined in terms of the expression max {(x,..., x k ) U k : φ(p,..., P m, S, x,... x k )}, S where U is a finite universe, P,..., P m and S are predicates (i.e. mappings of the form U r {true, false} for some r IN), and φ is a Boolean expression composed of the predicates and variables x,..., x k. k and m are independent of the input, whereas U and P,..., P m depend on the input. We define MAXSNP to be the class of all optimization problems that are L-reducible to a problem in MAXSNP 0. Next we give some examples of problems that are in MAXSNP 0. In the problem MAXCUT we are given a graph G = (V, E) and the goal is to find at set U V for which the number of edges having exactly one node in U is maximal. MAXCUT is in MAXSNP 0, and therefore in MAXSNP. In proof, MAXCUT can be written as follows: max {(x, y) : ((P (x, y) P (y, x)) S(x) S(y))}. S where V is the universe of Boolean variables and S : V {true, false} and P : V V {true, false} are predicates. Here we assume that the graph G is directed. 7

8 The problem as stated asks for the predicate S for which the number of pairs (x, y) with the property that either (x, y) or (y, x) is an edge (expressed by the relation P ) and S(x) is true and S(y) is false is maximized. Given such a predicate S, the set of all x for which S(x) is true achieves the maximum cut. MAX2SAT (maximizing the number of satisfied clauses, where each clause has two literals) is also in MAXSNP. Here we have three predicates P 0, P, and P 2. Intuitively, P i contains all clauses with i negative literals. That is, P 0 (x, y) is true if and only if (x y) is a clause of the represented expression, P (x, y) is true if and only if ( x y) is a clause, and P 2 (x, y) is true if and only if ( x y) is a clause. With these somewhat complicated input conventions we can write MAX2SAT as max {(x, y) : φ(p 0, P, P 2, S, x, y)}, S where φ is the following expression: (P 0 (x, y) (S(x) S(y))) (P (x, y) ( S(x) S(y))) (P 2 (x, y) ( S(x) S(y))) where S stands now for the assignment that achieves a maximum number of satisfiable clauses. A similar construction, with four predicates, establishes that MAX3SAT is in MAXSNP. We say that a problem in MAXSNP is MAXSNP-complete if all problems in MAXSNP L-reduce to it. From Corollary 9.3 we have: Proposition 9.4 If a MAXSNP-complete problem has a PTAS, then all problems in MAXSNP have one. Naturally, it is not a priori clear that MAXSNP-complete problems exist. But they do, as was shown by Papadimitriou and Yannakakis. Theorem 9.5 MAX3SAT is MAXSNP-complete. Since we know from Corollary 9.2 that there cannot be a PTAS for MAX3SAT unless P = NP, Corollary 9.3 immediately implies the following result. Corollary 9.6 No MAXSNP-complete problem can have a PTAS unless P = NP. Examples of MAXSNP-complete problems are MAX2SAT, 4-DEGREE INDEPENDENT SET, NODE COVER, and MAXCUT. 9.5 References N. Alon, U. Feige, A. Wigderson, and D. Zuckerman. Derandomized graph products. In Computational Complexity, Birkhauser Verlag, 995. S. Arora, C. Lund, R. Motwani, M. Sudan, and M. Szegedy. Proof verification and intractability of approximation problems. Journal of the ACM 45:50 555, 998. S. Arora, S. Safra. Probabilistically checkable proofs: a new characterization of NP. Journal of the ACM 45:70 22,

9 S. Arora. Around the PCP Theorem. Technical Report SOCS-97.2, School of Computer Science, McGill University. O. Goldreich. Introduction to Complexity Theory. Lecture notes. Dept. of Computer Science and Applied Mathematics, Weizmann Institute. C.H. Papadimitriou and M. Yannakakis. Optimization, approximation, and complexity classes. Journal of Computer and System Sciences 43: , 99. 9

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