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2013 IEEE 54th Annual Symposium on Foundations of Computer Science (2013)
Berkeley, CA USA
Oct. 26, 2013 to Oct. 29, 2013
ISSN: 0272-5428
pp: 489-498
Serge Gaspers , Univ. of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW, Australia
Stefan Szeider , Vienna Univ. of Technol., Vienna, Austria
There are various approaches to exploiting “hidden structure” in instances of hard combinatorial problems to allow faster algorithms than for general unstructured or random instances. For SAT and its counting version #SAT, hidden structure has been exploited in terms of decomposability and strong backdoor sets. Decomposability can be considered in terms of the treewidth of a graph that is associated with the given CNF formula, for instance by considering clauses and variables as vertices of the graph, and making a variable adjacent with all the clauses it appears in. On the other hand, a strong backdoor set of a CNF formula is a set of variables such that each assignment to this set moves the formula into a fixed class for which (#)SAT can be solved in polynomial time. In this paper we combine the two above approaches. In particular, we study the algorithmic question of finding a small strong backdoor set into the class Wν≤t of CNF formulas whose associated graphs have treewidth at most t. The main results are positive: (1) There is a cubic-time algorithm that, given a CNF formula F and two constants k, t ≥ 0, either finds a strong Wν≤t-backdoor set of size at most 2k, or concludes that F has no strong Wν≤t-backdoor set of size at most k. (2) There is a cubic-time algorithm that, given a CNF formula F, computes the number of satisfying assignments of F or concludes that sbt(F) > k, for any pair of constants k, t ≥ 0. Here, sbt(F) denotes the size of a smallest strong Wν≤t-backdoor set of F. We establish both results by distinguishing between two cases, depending on whether the treewidth of the given formula is small or large. For both results the case of small treewidth can be dealt with relatively standard methods. The case of large treewidth is challenging and requires novel and sophisticated combinatorial arguments. The main tool is an auxiliary graph whose vertices represent subgraphs in F's associated graph. It captures various ways to assemble large-treewidth subgraphs in F's associated graph. This is used to show that every backdoor set of size k intersects a certain set of variables whose size is bounded by a function of k and t. For any other set of k variables, one can use the auxiliary graph to find an assignment τ to these variables such that the graph associated with F[τ] has treewidth at least t + 1. The significance of our results lies in the fact that they allow us to exploit algorithmically a hidden structure in formulas that is not accessible by any one of the two approaches (decomposability, backdoors) alone. Already a backdoor size 1 on top of treewidth 1 (i.e., sb1(F) = 1) entails formulas of arbitrarily large treewidth and arbitrarily large cycle cutsets (variables whose deletion makes the instance acyclic).
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S. Gaspers and S. Szeider, "Strong Backdoors to Bounded Treewidth SAT," 2013 IEEE 54th Annual Symposium on Foundations of Computer Science(FOCS), Berkeley, CA USA, 2014, pp. 489-498.
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