Sub-exponential Approximation Schemes for CSPs: From Dense to Almost Sparse

Authors Dimitris Fotakis, Michael Lampis, Vangelis Th. Paschos

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Dimitris Fotakis
Michael Lampis
Vangelis Th. Paschos

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Dimitris Fotakis, Michael Lampis, and Vangelis Th. Paschos. Sub-exponential Approximation Schemes for CSPs: From Dense to Almost Sparse. In 33rd Symposium on Theoretical Aspects of Computer Science (STACS 2016). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 47, pp. 37:1-37:14, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2016)


It has long been known, since the classical work of (Arora, Karger, Karpinski, JCSS'99), that MAX-CUT admits a PTAS on dense graphs, and more generally, MAX-k-CSP admits a PTAS on "dense" instances with Omega(n^k) constraints. In this paper we extend and generalize their exhaustive sampling approach, presenting a framework for (1-epsilon)-approximating any MAX-k-CSP problem in sub-exponential time while significantly relaxing the denseness requirement on the input instance. Specifically, we prove that for any constants delta in (0, 1] and epsilon > 0, we can approximate MAX-k-CSP problems with Omega(n^{k-1+delta}) constraints within a factor of (1-epsilon) in time 2^{O(n^{1-delta}*ln(n) / epsilon^3)}. The framework is quite general and includes classical optimization problems, such as MAX-CUT, MAX-DICUT, MAX-k-SAT, and (with a slight extension) k-DENSEST SUBGRAPH, as special cases. For MAX-CUT in particular (where k=2), it gives an approximation scheme that runs in time sub-exponential in n even for "almost-sparse" instances (graphs with n^{1+delta} edges). We prove that our results are essentially best possible, assuming the ETH. First, the density requirement cannot be relaxed further: there exists a constant r < 1 such that for all delta > 0, MAX-k-SAT instances with O(n^{k-1}) clauses cannot be approximated within a ratio better than r in time 2^{O(n^{1-delta})}. Second, the running time of our algorithm is almost tight for all densities. Even for MAX-CUT there exists r<1 such that for all delta' > delta >0, MAX-CUT instances with n^{1+delta} edges cannot be approximated within a ratio better than r in time 2^{n^{1-delta'}}.
  • polynomial and subexponential approximation
  • sampling
  • randomized rounding


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