# SIMS 255 Foundations of Software Design. Complexity and NP-completeness

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1 SIMS 255 Foundations of Software Design Complexity and NP-completeness Matt Welsh November 29,

2 Outline Complexity of algorithms Space and time complexity ``Big O'' notation Complexity hierarchies and algorithm examples P and N P Decision problems Polynomial time decidability and computability The ultimate question: Does P = N P? N P-completeness Examples of N P-complete problems Matt Welsh, UC Berkeley 2

3 Complexity of Algorithms The kinds of questions we want to answer: Given an algorithm, how much time does it take to run? Given an algorithm, how much space does it use? Characterized by the size of the problem A simple example: finding max in a sequence of numbers Algorithm: Scan the numbers from 1 to N, find the maximum value The run time is ``order N'' Another example: is a given number prime? Recall - prime number cannot be divided by any integer The ``size of the problem'' is N = log 10 x (number of digits in x) Brute force algorithm: divide x by every number less than x Run time: about 10 N/2 Matt Welsh, UC Berkeley 3

4 Big O Notation This is a way of characterizing the run time (or space constraints) of a given algorithm. We say a function f(n) is ``O(g(n))'' when for some constant of C. For example, f(n) Cg(n) f(n) = n n n is O(n 5 ), since as n, f(n) ``looks like'' n 5 those big constants! regardless of Matt Welsh, UC Berkeley 4

5 Linear: O(n) Big O Examples e.g., Finding max or min in a sequence of numbers Polynomial: O(n p ) for some integer p Classic ``bubblesort'' algorithm is O(n 2 ) Logarithmic: O(log n) ``Quicksort'' algorithm is O(n log n) To sort 1 million numbers, quicksort takes 6 million steps, bubblesort takes a trillion! Exponential: O(B n ) for some constant B > 1 Brute force factorization, lots of numerical problems Factorial: O(n!) n! defined as n (n 1) (n 2)... 1 e.g., Calculating the Fibonacci numbers recursively (0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13,...) Matt Welsh, UC Berkeley 5

6 Comparison of complexity classes Linear Polynomial Exponential Running time Problem size Matt Welsh, UC Berkeley 6

7 Tractable and Intractable Problems Looking at the last slide, it seems that exponential run times are pretty bad! In fact, they are worse than almost anything else O(n!) and O(n n ) are even worse, but uncommon We say that tractable problems are those that we can solve in practice Intractible problems can be solved in theory, but not in practice Tractable problems have solutions that are polynomial or better Intractable problems have solutions that are exponential or worse Some problems are flat-out unsolvable! This is not to say that they are ``really hard'', but rather no computer could possibly solve them Next lecture! Matt Welsh, UC Berkeley 7

8 Complexity Classes A complexity class is a set of computational problems with the same bounds in time and space Say I give you a problem to solve -- what is your best hope for an efficient algorithm? If you can reduce the problem to another problem with known complexity, then you can answer straight away! Example: Given a graph G, is it possible to color the nodes with just 3 colors, such that no two adjacent nodes have the same color? Matt Welsh, UC Berkeley 8

9 Problem Reduction It turns out we can reduce this problem to another one: boolean satisfiability Given a boolean expression of multiple variables, is there some assignment to the variables that makes the expression true? (p q r s) (q s) What values should you assign to p, q, r, and s to make this statement true? It turns out there is no known polynomial time solution to this problem! Matt Welsh, UC Berkeley 9

10 Decision Problems A decision problem is one that seeks a yes-or-no answer Example: k-colorability Can this graph be colored with k colors? Traveling Salesperson Problem Given a set of cities with distances between them, can someone travel to each city (without visiting a city more than once) in M miles or less? traveling salesperson problem A classical scheduling problem that has baffled linear programmers for 30 years, but which, in a more complex formulation, is solved daily by traveling salespersons. Matt Welsh, UC Berkeley 10

11 Optimization Problems Some problems are optimization problems What is the fewest number of colors that color this graph? What is the shortest path that one can take to visit all the cities? Usually if we have a way to solve the decision problem, without much more work we can solve the corresponding optimization problem: Start with a graph G Find out if G can be colored with 50 colors yes or no If yes, then try 25 colors If yes, then try 12 colors, etc. So, we mainly talk about decision problems Can easily derive the corresponding optimization problem Matt Welsh, UC Berkeley 11

12 Polynomial-time decidability We say a problem is polynomial-time decidable if: Given a problem P and a proposed solution s There is a polynomial time algorithm that checks whether s is a solution for P Example: Graph colorability Given a graph G and an assignment of colors to nodes Can easily check whether any two nodes have the same color Simple algorithm is O(n), where n is the number of nodes Matt Welsh, UC Berkeley 12

13 The Complexity Class N P The set of problems for which the answer can be checked in polynomial time is called N P N P stands for ``nondeterministic polynomial time'' The name comes from a ``nondeterministic Turing machine'' Formal model of computing that allows the (theoretical) machine to perform an infinite number of operations simultaneously More about this next lecture! For now, think of problems in N P as those that we have some way of quickly checking answers for But not necessarily a fast way to get the answer! Matt Welsh, UC Berkeley 13

14 The Complexity Class P A problem is polynomial-time computable if: We can find a solution in polynomial time Note that this is quite different than checking a given solution! The set of problems that have this property is called P Generally speaking, problems in P are ``good'' i.e., We have fast algorithms for them Even if a problem is O(n ), it's still better than O(10 n )! In practice, most problems in P are O(n k ) for small k Matt Welsh, UC Berkeley 14

15 Does P = N P? All problems in P are also in N P But the converse is not known to be true P NP The most important open problem in Computer Science! In fact there is a \$1,000,000 award for anyone who can solve it We know that many problems don't seem to have polynomial-time algorithms But, nobody has proven that these ``hard'' problems are not in P There may be some mysterious poly-time algorithm for one of those ``hard'' problems lurking out there... Matt Welsh, UC Berkeley 15

16 Example: Factoring Large Numbers Many modern systems rely on public key cryptography Popular implementation is RSA Used in all Web browsers for secure connections Start with two (large) prime numbers, and multiply them Primes P and Q, with product P Q Note that P and Q are the only two numbers that you can multiply to get P Q We can make the product P Q public Because it is very hard to factor the number into the ``secrets'' P and Q! Public key encryption idea: Bob publishes the number P Q to the world Any one can use P Q to encrypt a message for Bob Only Bob knows P and Q separately to decrypt the message Matt Welsh, UC Berkeley 16

17 Factoring Large Numbers is Hard! Factoring is in N P It's easy to check whether two factors P and Q multiply to get P Q But, the fastest algorithm we have for finding factors is still exponential: O(e c log n1/3 log log n 2/3 ) Still, better factoring algorithms are always being developed... In 1977, Ron Rivest said that factoring a 125-digit number would take 40 quadrillion years In 1994, a 129-digit number was factored Upshot: If P = N P, then all hard problems (or at least those in N P) can be solved in polynomial time! See the movie ``Sneakers'' Matt Welsh, UC Berkeley 17

18 N P-Completeness The ``hardest'' problems in N P are called N P-complete A problem is N P-complete if: It is in N P All other problems in N P can be reduced to it (in polynomial time) Result: If we can find a mapping from any N P-complete problem to any problem in P, then all problems in N P are also in P! P NP? NP Complete Matt Welsh, UC Berkeley 18

19 Examples of N P-Complete Problems Boolean satisfiability Given a boolean expression in a set of variables, what values of the variables makes the expression true? Traveling Salesperson Problem Given a set of cities connected by roads, what is the path of minimum distance that visits all cities exactly once? k-colorability Given a graph G, what assignment of k colors to the nodes leaves no two adjacent nodes with the same color? Partition problem Given a list of integers x 1, x 2,..., does there exist a subset whose sum is exactly 1 2 xi? Matt Welsh, UC Berkeley 19

20 The Deeper Meaning N P-completeness is about the theoretical limits of computing If a problem is N P-complete, it is very unlikely that we will ever find a fast algorithm for it Nobody knows whether P = N P Although many people have been working on it for years It's impressive that we can't even prove P N P This is not about Computer Scientists ``not realizing'' that there is a fast algorithm for an N P-complete problem Rather, this is a fundamental limit on what can and cannot be computed efficiently! Huge implications: If you know a problem is N P-complete, you might as well give up looking for a fast solution Matt Welsh, UC Berkeley 20

21 Some hope for the future Random algorithms and approximations Many N P-complete problems can be approximated by fast techniques For example, Monte Carlo methods use randomness to ``guess'' an answer to a problem Can often trust the answer with % (or more) confidence Quantum Computing Computers built using quantum particles can quickly compute many answers simultaneously It turns out that quantum computers can (theoretically) solve many problems efficiently, for which no previous fast algorithm was known For example, a Quantum Computer can factor numbers in polynomial time! But, QCs are very hard to build Matt Welsh, UC Berkeley 21

22 Summary Algorithm complexity and ``Big O'' notation Comparing complexities: linear, polynomial, exponential Tractable and intractable problems Complexity classes and decision problems Polynomial-time decidability (N P) Polynomial-time computability (P) The P = N P problem and N P-completeness Matt Welsh, UC Berkeley 22

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