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Proof verification and hardness of approximation problems
 IN PROC. 33RD ANN. IEEE SYMP. ON FOUND. OF COMP. SCI
, 1992
"... We show that every language in NP has a probablistic verifier that checks membership proofs for it using logarithmic number of random bits and by examining a constant number of bits in the proof. If a string is in the language, then there exists a proof such that the verifier accepts with probabilit ..."
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Cited by 797 (39 self)
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We show that every language in NP has a probablistic verifier that checks membership proofs for it using logarithmic number of random bits and by examining a constant number of bits in the proof. If a string is in the language, then there exists a proof such that the verifier accepts with probability 1 (i.e., for every choice of its random string). For strings not in the language, the verifier rejects every provided “proof " with probability at least 1/2. Our result builds upon and improves a recent result of Arora and Safra [6] whose verifiers examine a nonconstant number of bits in the proof (though this number is a very slowly growing function of the input length). As a consequence we prove that no MAX SNPhard problem has a polynomial time approximation scheme, unless NP=P. The class MAX SNP was defined by Papadimitriou and Yannakakis [82] and hard problems for this class include vertex cover, maximum satisfiability, maximum cut, metric TSP, Steiner trees and shortest superstring. We also improve upon the clique hardness results of Feige, Goldwasser, Lovász, Safra and Szegedy [42], and Arora and Safra [6] and shows that there exists a positive ɛ such that approximating the maximum clique size in an Nvertex graph to within a factor of N ɛ is NPhard.
A Threshold of ln n for Approximating Set Cover
 JOURNAL OF THE ACM
, 1998
"... Given a collection F of subsets of S = f1; : : : ; ng, set cover is the problem of selecting as few as possible subsets from F such that their union covers S, and max kcover is the problem of selecting k subsets from F such that their union has maximum cardinality. Both these problems are NPhar ..."
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Cited by 775 (5 self)
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Given a collection F of subsets of S = f1; : : : ; ng, set cover is the problem of selecting as few as possible subsets from F such that their union covers S, and max kcover is the problem of selecting k subsets from F such that their union has maximum cardinality. Both these problems are NPhard. We prove that (1 \Gamma o(1)) ln n is a threshold below which set cover cannot be approximated efficiently, unless NP has slightly superpolynomial time algorithms. This closes the gap (up to low order terms) between the ratio of approximation achievable by the greedy algorithm (which is (1 \Gamma o(1)) ln n), and previous results of Lund and Yannakakis, that showed hardness of approximation within a ratio of (log 2 n)=2 ' 0:72 lnn. For max kcover we show an approximation threshold of (1 \Gamma 1=e) (up to low order terms), under the assumption that P != NP .
Property Testing and its connection to Learning and Approximation
"... We study the question of determining whether an unknown function has a particular property or is fflfar from any function with that property. A property testing algorithm is given a sample of the value of the function on instances drawn according to some distribution, and possibly may query the fun ..."
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Cited by 475 (67 self)
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We study the question of determining whether an unknown function has a particular property or is fflfar from any function with that property. A property testing algorithm is given a sample of the value of the function on instances drawn according to some distribution, and possibly may query the function on instances of its choice. First, we establish some connections between property testing and problems in learning theory. Next, we focus on testing graph properties, and devise algorithms to test whether a graph has properties such as being kcolorable or having a aeclique (clique of density ae w.r.t the vertex set). Our graph property testing algorithms are probabilistic and make assertions which are correct with high probability, utilizing only poly(1=ffl) edgequeries into the graph, where ffl is the distance parameter. Moreover, the property testing algorithms can be used to efficiently (i.e., in time linear in the number of vertices) construct partitions of the graph which corre...
Probabilistic checking of proofs: a new characterization of NP
 JOURNAL OF THE ACM
, 1998
"... We give a new characterization of NP: the class NP contains exactly those languages L for which membership proofs (a proof that an input x is in L) can be verified probabilistically in polynomial time using logarithmic number of random bits and by reading sublogarithmic number of bits from the proof ..."
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Cited by 414 (26 self)
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We give a new characterization of NP: the class NP contains exactly those languages L for which membership proofs (a proof that an input x is in L) can be verified probabilistically in polynomial time using logarithmic number of random bits and by reading sublogarithmic number of bits from the proof. We discuss implications of this characterization; specifically, we show that approximating Clique and Independent Set, even in a very weak sense, is NPhard.
A Parallel Repetition Theorem
 SIAM Journal on Computing
, 1998
"... We show that a parallel repetition of any twoprover oneround proof system (MIP(2, 1)) decreases the probability of error at an exponential rate. No constructive bound was previously known. The constant in the exponent (in our analysis) depends only on the original probability of error and on the t ..."
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Cited by 362 (9 self)
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We show that a parallel repetition of any twoprover oneround proof system (MIP(2, 1)) decreases the probability of error at an exponential rate. No constructive bound was previously known. The constant in the exponent (in our analysis) depends only on the original probability of error and on the total number of possible answers of the two provers. The dependency on the total number of possible answers is logarithmic, which was recently proved to be almost the best possible [U. Feige and O. Verbitsky, Proc. 11th Annual IEEE Conference on Computational Complexity, IEEE Computer Society Press, Los Alamitos, CA, 1996, pp. 7076].
A SubConstant ErrorProbability LowDegree Test, and a SubConstant ErrorProbability PCP Characterization of NP
 IN PROC. 29TH ACM SYMP. ON THEORY OF COMPUTING, 475484. EL PASO
, 1997
"... We introduce a new lowdegreetest, one that uses the restriction of lowdegree polynomials to planes (i.e., affine subspaces of dimension 2), rather than the restriction to lines (i.e., affine subspaces of dimension 1). We prove the new test to be of a very small errorprobability (in particular, ..."
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Cited by 324 (20 self)
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We introduce a new lowdegreetest, one that uses the restriction of lowdegree polynomials to planes (i.e., affine subspaces of dimension 2), rather than the restriction to lines (i.e., affine subspaces of dimension 1). We prove the new test to be of a very small errorprobability (in particular, much smaller than constant). The new test enables us to prove a lowerror characterization of NP in terms of PCP. Specifically, our theorem states that, for any given ffl ? 0, membership in any NP language can be verified with O(1) accesses, each reading logarithmic number of bits, and such that the errorprobability is 2 \Gamma log 1\Gammaffl n . Our results are in fact stronger, as stated below. One application of the new characterization of NP is that approximating SETCOVER to within a logarithmic factors is NPhard. Previous analysis for lowdegreetests, as well as previous characterizations of NP in terms of PCP, have managed to achieve, with constant number of accesses, error...
Which Problems Have Strongly Exponential Complexity?
 Journal of Computer and System Sciences
, 1998
"... For several NPcomplete problems, there have been a progression of better but still exponential algorithms. In this paper, we address the relative likelihood of subexponential algorithms for these problems. We introduce a generalized reduction which we call SubExponential Reduction Family (SERF) t ..."
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Cited by 242 (11 self)
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For several NPcomplete problems, there have been a progression of better but still exponential algorithms. In this paper, we address the relative likelihood of subexponential algorithms for these problems. We introduce a generalized reduction which we call SubExponential Reduction Family (SERF) that preserves subexponential complexity. We show that CircuitSAT is SERFcomplete for all NPsearch problems, and that for any fixed k, kSAT, kColorability, kSet Cover, Independent Set, Clique, Vertex Cover, are SERFcomplete for the class SNP of search problems expressible by second order existential formulas whose first order part is universal. In particular, subexponential complexity for any one of the above problems implies the same for all others. We also look at the issue of proving strongly exponential lower bounds for AC 0 ; that is, bounds of the form 2 \Omega\Gamma n) . This problem is even open for depth3 circuits. In fact, such a bound for depth3 circuits with even l...
Aggregating inconsistent information: ranking and clustering
, 2005
"... We address optimization problems in which we are given contradictory pieces of input information and the goal is to find a globally consistent solution that minimizes the number of disagreements with the respective inputs. Specifically, the problems we address are rank aggregation, the feedback arc ..."
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Cited by 225 (17 self)
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We address optimization problems in which we are given contradictory pieces of input information and the goal is to find a globally consistent solution that minimizes the number of disagreements with the respective inputs. Specifically, the problems we address are rank aggregation, the feedback arc set problem on tournaments, and correlation and consensus clustering. We show that for all these problems (and various weighted versions of them), we can obtain improved approximation factors using essentially the same remarkably simple algorithm. Additionally, we almost settle a longstanding conjecture of BangJensen and Thomassen and show that unless NP⊆BPP, there is no polynomial time algorithm for the problem of minimum feedback arc set in tournaments.
Optimal inapproximability results for MAXCUT and other 2variable CSPs?
, 2005
"... In this paper we show a reduction from the Unique Games problem to the problem of approximating MAXCUT to within a factor of ffGW + ffl, for all ffl> 0; here ffGW ss.878567 denotes the approximation ratio achieved by the GoemansWilliamson algorithm [25]. This implies that if the Unique Games ..."
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Cited by 223 (32 self)
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In this paper we show a reduction from the Unique Games problem to the problem of approximating MAXCUT to within a factor of ffGW + ffl, for all ffl> 0; here ffGW ss.878567 denotes the approximation ratio achieved by the GoemansWilliamson algorithm [25]. This implies that if the Unique Games
Free Bits, PCPs and NonApproximability  Towards Tight Results
, 1996
"... This paper continues the investigation of the connection between proof systems and approximation. The emphasis is on proving tight nonapproximability results via consideration of measures like the "free bit complexity" and the "amortized free bit complexity" of proof systems. ..."
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Cited by 212 (39 self)
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This paper continues the investigation of the connection between proof systems and approximation. The emphasis is on proving tight nonapproximability results via consideration of measures like the "free bit complexity" and the "amortized free bit complexity" of proof systems.