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**Published in:** LIPIcs, Volume 308, 32nd Annual European Symposium on Algorithms (ESA 2024)

In the Euclidean k-means problems we are given as input a set of n points in ℝ^d and the goal is to find a set of k points C ⊆ ℝ^d, so as to minimize the sum of the squared Euclidean distances from each point in P to its closest center in C. In this paper, we formally explore connections between the k-coloring problem on graphs and the Euclidean k-means problem. Our results are as follows:
- For all k ≥ 3, we provide a simple reduction from the k-coloring problem on regular graphs to the Euclidean k-means problem. Moreover, our technique extends to enable a reduction from a structured max-cut problem (which may be considered as a partial 2-coloring problem) to the Euclidean 2-means problem. Thus, we have a simple and alternate proof of the NP-hardness of Euclidean 2-means problem.
- In the other direction, we mimic the O(1.7297ⁿ) time algorithm of Williams [TCS'05] for the max-cut of problem on n vertices to obtain an algorithm for the Euclidean 2-means problem with the same runtime, improving on the naive exhaustive search running in 2ⁿ⋅ poly(n,d) time.
- We prove similar results and connections as above for the Euclidean k-min-sum problem.

Enver Aman, Karthik C. S., and Sharath Punna. On Connections Between k-Coloring and Euclidean k-Means. In 32nd Annual European Symposium on Algorithms (ESA 2024). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 308, pp. 9:1-9:18, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2024)

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@InProceedings{aman_et_al:LIPIcs.ESA.2024.9, author = {Aman, Enver and Karthik C. S. and Punna, Sharath}, title = {{On Connections Between k-Coloring and Euclidean k-Means}}, booktitle = {32nd Annual European Symposium on Algorithms (ESA 2024)}, pages = {9:1--9:18}, series = {Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs)}, ISBN = {978-3-95977-338-6}, ISSN = {1868-8969}, year = {2024}, volume = {308}, editor = {Chan, Timothy and Fischer, Johannes and Iacono, John and Herman, Grzegorz}, publisher = {Schloss Dagstuhl -- Leibniz-Zentrum f{\"u}r Informatik}, address = {Dagstuhl, Germany}, URL = {https://drops.dagstuhl.de/entities/document/10.4230/LIPIcs.ESA.2024.9}, URN = {urn:nbn:de:0030-drops-210808}, doi = {10.4230/LIPIcs.ESA.2024.9}, annote = {Keywords: k-means, k-minsum, Euclidean space, fine-grained complexity} }

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APPROX

**Published in:** LIPIcs, Volume 275, Approximation, Randomization, and Combinatorial Optimization. Algorithms and Techniques (APPROX/RANDOM 2023)

We consider the classic 1-center problem: Given a set P of n points in a metric space find the point in P that minimizes the maximum distance to the other points of P. We study the complexity of this problem in d-dimensional 𝓁_p-metrics and in edit and Ulam metrics over strings of length d. Our results for the 1-center problem may be classified based on d as follows.
- Small d. Assuming the hitting set conjecture (HSC), we show that when d = ω(log n), no subquadratic algorithm can solve the 1-center problem in any of the 𝓁_p-metrics, or in the edit or Ulam metrics.
- Large d. When d = Ω(n), we extend our conditional lower bound to rule out subquartic algorithms for the 1-center problem in edit metric (assuming Quantified SETH). On the other hand, we give a (1+ε)-approximation for 1-center in the Ulam metric with running time O_{ε}̃(nd+n²√d).
We also strengthen some of the above lower bounds by allowing approximation algorithms or by reducing the dimension d, but only against a weaker class of algorithms which list all requisite solutions. Moreover, we extend one of our hardness results to rule out subquartic algorithms for the well-studied 1-median problem in the edit metric, where given a set of n strings each of length n, the goal is to find a string in the set that minimizes the sum of the edit distances to the rest of the strings in the set.

Amir Abboud, MohammadHossein Bateni, Vincent Cohen-Addad, Karthik C. S., and Saeed Seddighin. On Complexity of 1-Center in Various Metrics. In Approximation, Randomization, and Combinatorial Optimization. Algorithms and Techniques (APPROX/RANDOM 2023). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 275, pp. 1:1-1:19, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2023)

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@InProceedings{abboud_et_al:LIPIcs.APPROX/RANDOM.2023.1, author = {Abboud, Amir and Bateni, MohammadHossein and Cohen-Addad, Vincent and Karthik C. S. and Seddighin, Saeed}, title = {{On Complexity of 1-Center in Various Metrics}}, booktitle = {Approximation, Randomization, and Combinatorial Optimization. Algorithms and Techniques (APPROX/RANDOM 2023)}, pages = {1:1--1:19}, series = {Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs)}, ISBN = {978-3-95977-296-9}, ISSN = {1868-8969}, year = {2023}, volume = {275}, editor = {Megow, Nicole and Smith, Adam}, publisher = {Schloss Dagstuhl -- Leibniz-Zentrum f{\"u}r Informatik}, address = {Dagstuhl, Germany}, URL = {https://drops.dagstuhl.de/entities/document/10.4230/LIPIcs.APPROX/RANDOM.2023.1}, URN = {urn:nbn:de:0030-drops-188260}, doi = {10.4230/LIPIcs.APPROX/RANDOM.2023.1}, annote = {Keywords: Center, Clustering, Edit metric, Ulam metric, Hamming metric, Fine-grained Complexity, Approximation} }

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**Published in:** LIPIcs, Volume 274, 31st Annual European Symposium on Algorithms (ESA 2023)

We study the fundamental problem of finding the best string to represent a given set, in the form of the Closest String problem: Given a set X ⊆ Σ^d of n strings, find the string x^* minimizing the radius of the smallest Hamming ball around x^* that encloses all the strings in X. In this paper, we investigate whether the Closest String problem admits algorithms that are faster than the trivial exhaustive search algorithm. We obtain the following results for the two natural versions of the problem:
- In the continuous Closest String problem, the goal is to find the solution string x^* anywhere in Σ^d. For binary strings, the exhaustive search algorithm runs in time O(2^d poly(nd)) and we prove that it cannot be improved to time O(2^{(1-ε) d} poly(nd)), for any ε > 0, unless the Strong Exponential Time Hypothesis fails.
- In the discrete Closest String problem, x^* is required to be in the input set X. While this problem is clearly in polynomial time, its fine-grained complexity has been pinpointed to be quadratic time n^{2 ± o(1)} whenever the dimension is ω(log n) < d < n^o(1). We complement this known hardness result with new algorithms, proving essentially that whenever d falls out of this hard range, the discrete Closest String problem can be solved faster than exhaustive search. In the small-d regime, our algorithm is based on a novel application of the inclusion-exclusion principle. Interestingly, all of our results apply (and some are even stronger) to the natural dual of the Closest String problem, called the Remotest String problem, where the task is to find a string maximizing the Hamming distance to all the strings in X.

Amir Abboud, Nick Fischer, Elazar Goldenberg, Karthik C. S., and Ron Safier. Can You Solve Closest String Faster Than Exhaustive Search?. In 31st Annual European Symposium on Algorithms (ESA 2023). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 274, pp. 3:1-3:17, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2023)

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@InProceedings{abboud_et_al:LIPIcs.ESA.2023.3, author = {Abboud, Amir and Fischer, Nick and Goldenberg, Elazar and Karthik C. S. and Safier, Ron}, title = {{Can You Solve Closest String Faster Than Exhaustive Search?}}, booktitle = {31st Annual European Symposium on Algorithms (ESA 2023)}, pages = {3:1--3:17}, series = {Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs)}, ISBN = {978-3-95977-295-2}, ISSN = {1868-8969}, year = {2023}, volume = {274}, editor = {G{\o}rtz, Inge Li and Farach-Colton, Martin and Puglisi, Simon J. and Herman, Grzegorz}, publisher = {Schloss Dagstuhl -- Leibniz-Zentrum f{\"u}r Informatik}, address = {Dagstuhl, Germany}, URL = {https://drops.dagstuhl.de/entities/document/10.4230/LIPIcs.ESA.2023.3}, URN = {urn:nbn:de:0030-drops-186566}, doi = {10.4230/LIPIcs.ESA.2023.3}, annote = {Keywords: Closest string, fine-grained complexity, SETH, inclusion-exclusion} }

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**Published in:** LIPIcs, Volume 234, 37th Computational Complexity Conference (CCC 2022)

The k-Clique problem is a canonical hard problem in parameterized complexity. In this paper, we study the parameterized complexity of approximating the k-Clique problem where an integer k and a graph G on n vertices are given as input, and the goal is to find a clique of size at least k/F(k) whenever the graph G has a clique of size k. When such an algorithm runs in time T(k) ⋅ poly(n) (i.e., FPT-time) for some computable function T, it is said to be an F(k)-FPT-approximation algorithm for the k-Clique problem.
Although, the non-existence of an F(k)-FPT-approximation algorithm for any computable sublinear function F is known under gap-ETH [Chalermsook et al., FOCS 2017], it has remained a long standing open problem to prove the same inapproximability result under the more standard and weaker assumption, W[1]≠FPT.
In a recent breakthrough, Lin [STOC 2021] ruled out constant factor (i.e., F(k) = O(1)) FPT-approximation algorithms under W[1]≠FPT. In this paper, we improve this inapproximability result (under the same assumption) to rule out every F(k) = k^{1/H(k)} factor FPT-approximation algorithm for any increasing computable function H (for example H(k) = log^∗ k).
Our main technical contribution is introducing list decoding of Hadamard codes over large prime fields into the proof framework of Lin.

Karthik C. S. and Subhash Khot. Almost Polynomial Factor Inapproximability for Parameterized k-Clique. In 37th Computational Complexity Conference (CCC 2022). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 234, pp. 6:1-6:21, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2022)

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@InProceedings{karthikc.s._et_al:LIPIcs.CCC.2022.6, author = {Karthik C. S. and Khot, Subhash}, title = {{Almost Polynomial Factor Inapproximability for Parameterized k-Clique}}, booktitle = {37th Computational Complexity Conference (CCC 2022)}, pages = {6:1--6:21}, series = {Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs)}, ISBN = {978-3-95977-241-9}, ISSN = {1868-8969}, year = {2022}, volume = {234}, editor = {Lovett, Shachar}, publisher = {Schloss Dagstuhl -- Leibniz-Zentrum f{\"u}r Informatik}, address = {Dagstuhl, Germany}, URL = {https://drops.dagstuhl.de/entities/document/10.4230/LIPIcs.CCC.2022.6}, URN = {urn:nbn:de:0030-drops-165680}, doi = {10.4230/LIPIcs.CCC.2022.6}, annote = {Keywords: Parameterized Complexity, k-clique, Hardness of Approximation} }

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**Published in:** LIPIcs, Volume 151, 11th Innovations in Theoretical Computer Science Conference (ITCS 2020)

In this paper, we prove a general hardness amplification scheme for optimization problems based on the technique of direct products.
We say that an optimization problem Π is direct product feasible if it is possible to efficiently aggregate any k instances of Π and form one large instance of Π such that given an optimal feasible solution to the larger instance, we can efficiently find optimal feasible solutions to all the k smaller instances. Given a direct product feasible optimization problem Π, our hardness amplification theorem may be informally stated as follows:
If there is a distribution D over instances of Π of size n such that every randomized algorithm running in time t(n) fails to solve Π on 1/α(n) fraction of inputs sampled from D, then, assuming some relationships on α(n) and t(n), there is a distribution D' over instances of Π of size O(n⋅α(n)) such that every randomized algorithm running in time t(n)/poly(α(n)) fails to solve Π on 99/100 fraction of inputs sampled from D'.
As a consequence of the above theorem, we show hardness amplification of problems in various classes such as NP-hard problems like Max-Clique, Knapsack, and Max-SAT, problems in P such as Longest Common Subsequence, Edit Distance, Matrix Multiplication, and even problems in TFNP such as Factoring and computing Nash equilibrium.

Elazar Goldenberg and Karthik C. S.. Hardness Amplification of Optimization Problems. In 11th Innovations in Theoretical Computer Science Conference (ITCS 2020). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 151, pp. 1:1-1:13, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2020)

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@InProceedings{goldenberg_et_al:LIPIcs.ITCS.2020.1, author = {Goldenberg, Elazar and Karthik C. S.}, title = {{Hardness Amplification of Optimization Problems}}, booktitle = {11th Innovations in Theoretical Computer Science Conference (ITCS 2020)}, pages = {1:1--1:13}, series = {Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs)}, ISBN = {978-3-95977-134-4}, ISSN = {1868-8969}, year = {2020}, volume = {151}, editor = {Vidick, Thomas}, publisher = {Schloss Dagstuhl -- Leibniz-Zentrum f{\"u}r Informatik}, address = {Dagstuhl, Germany}, URL = {https://drops.dagstuhl.de/entities/document/10.4230/LIPIcs.ITCS.2020.1}, URN = {urn:nbn:de:0030-drops-116863}, doi = {10.4230/LIPIcs.ITCS.2020.1}, annote = {Keywords: hardness amplification, average case complexity, direct product, optimization problems, fine-grained complexity, TFNP} }

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