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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 726 (46 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 637 (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 428 (62 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
"... Abstract. 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 ..."
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Cited by 368 (28 self)
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Abstract. 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 320 (10 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 282 (21 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...
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 207 (41 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.
Greedy strikes back: Improved facility location algorithms
 Journal of Algorithms
, 1999
"... A fundamental facility location problem is to choose the location of facilities, such as industrial plants and warehouses, to minimize the cost of satisfying the demand for some commodity. There are associated costs for locating the facilities, as well as transportation costs for distributing the co ..."
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Cited by 183 (12 self)
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A fundamental facility location problem is to choose the location of facilities, such as industrial plants and warehouses, to minimize the cost of satisfying the demand for some commodity. There are associated costs for locating the facilities, as well as transportation costs for distributing the commodities. We assume that the transportation costs form a metric. This problem is commonly referred to as the uncapacitated facility location (UFL) problem. Applications to bank account location and clustering, as well as many related pieces of work, are discussed by Cornuejols, Nemhauser and Wolsey [2]. Recently, the first constant factor approximation algorithm for this problem was obtained by Shmoys, Tardos and Aardal [16]. We show that a simple greedy heuristic combined with the algorithm by Shmoys, Tardos and Aardal, can be used to obtain an approximation guarantee of 2.408. We discuss a few variants of the problem, demonstrating better approximation factors for restricted versions of the problem. We also show that the problem is Max SNPhard. However, the inapproximability constants derived from the Max SNP hardness are very close to one. By relating this problem to Set Cover, we prove a lower bound of 1.463 on the best possible approximation ratio assuming NP / ∈ DT IME[n O(log log n)]. 1
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 178 (28 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
Polynomial Time Approximation Schemes for Dense Instances of NPHard Problems
, 1995
"... We present a unified framework for designing polynomial time approximation schemes (PTASs) for "dense" instances of many NPhard optimization problems, including maximum cut, graph bisection, graph separation, minimum kway cut with and without specified terminals, and maximum 3satisfiabi ..."
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Cited by 172 (28 self)
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We present a unified framework for designing polynomial time approximation schemes (PTASs) for "dense" instances of many NPhard optimization problems, including maximum cut, graph bisection, graph separation, minimum kway cut with and without specified terminals, and maximum 3satisfiability. By dense graphs we mean graphs with minimum degree &Omega;(n), although our algorithms solve most of these problems so long as the average degree is &Omega;(n). Denseness for nongraph problems is defined similarly. The unified framework begins with the idea of exhaustive sampling: picking a small random set of vertices, guessing where they go on the optimum solution, and then using their placement to determine the placement of everything else. The approach then develops into a PTAS for approximating certain smooth integer programs where the objective function and the constraints are "dense" polynomials of constant degree.