Algorithms Transcending the SAT-Symmetry Interface

Authors Markus Anders, Pascal Schweitzer, Mate Soos

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Author Details

Markus Anders
  • TU Darmstadt, Germany
Pascal Schweitzer
  • TU Darmstadt, Germany
Mate Soos
  • National University of Singapore, Singapore

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Markus Anders, Pascal Schweitzer, and Mate Soos. Algorithms Transcending the SAT-Symmetry Interface. In 26th International Conference on Theory and Applications of Satisfiability Testing (SAT 2023). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 271, pp. 1:1-1:21, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2023)


Dedicated treatment of symmetries in satisfiability problems (SAT) is indispensable for solving various classes of instances arising in practice. However, the exploitation of symmetries usually takes a black box approach. Typically, off-the-shelf external, general-purpose symmetry detection tools are invoked to compute symmetry groups of a formula. The groups thus generated are a set of permutations passed to a separate tool to perform further analyzes to understand the structure of the groups. The result of this second computation is in turn used for tasks such as static symmetry breaking or dynamic pruning of the search space. Within this pipeline of tools, the detection and analysis of symmetries typically incurs the majority of the time overhead for symmetry exploitation. In this paper we advocate for a more holistic view of what we call the SAT-symmetry interface. We formulate a computational setting, centered around a new concept of joint graph/group pairs, to analyze and improve the detection and analysis of symmetries. Using our methods, no information is lost performing computational tasks lying on the SAT-symmetry interface. Having access to the entire input allows for simpler, yet efficient algorithms. Specifically, we devise algorithms and heuristics for computing finest direct disjoint decompositions, finding equivalent orbits, and finding natural symmetric group actions. Our algorithms run in what we call instance-quasi-linear time, i.e., almost linear time in terms of the input size of the original formula and the description length of the symmetry group returned by symmetry detection tools. Our algorithms improve over both heuristics used in state-of-the-art symmetry exploitation tools, as well as theoretical general-purpose algorithms.

Subject Classification

ACM Subject Classification
  • Theory of computation → Design and analysis of algorithms
  • boolean satisfiability
  • symmetry exploitation
  • computational group theory


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