P = NP

Vinay Deolalikar
HP Research Labs, Palo Alto
vinay.deolalikar@hp.com
August 11, 2010
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This work is dedicated to my late parents:
my father Shri. Shrinivas Deolalikar, my mother Smt. Usha Deolalikar,
and my maushi Kum. Manik Deogire,
for all their hard work in raising me;
and to my late grand parents:
Shri. Rajaram Deolalikar and Smt. Vimal Deolalikar,
for their struggle to educate my father inspite of extreme poverty.
This work is part of my Matru-Pitru Rin
1
.
I am forever indebted to my wife for her faith during these years.
1
The debt to mother and father that a pious Hindu regards as his obligation to repay in this
life.
Abstract
We demonstrate the separation of the complexity class NP from its sub-
class P. Throughout our proof, we observe that the ability to compute a prop-
erty on structures in polynomial time is intimately related to an atypical prop-
erty of the space of solutions — namely, the space is parametrizable with only
c
poly(log n)
, c > 1 parameters instead of the typical c
n
parameters required for a
joint distribution of n covariates.
This type of exponentially smaller parametrization arises as a result of severe
limitations placed on the interaction between the variates. In particular, it may
arise from range limited interactions where variates interact at short ranges,
and chain together such interactions to create long range interactions. Such
long range interactions then would be characterized by the statistical notions
of conditional independence and sufficient statistics. The presence of condi-
tional independencies manifests in the form of economical parametrizations of
the joint distribution of covariates. Likewise, such economical parametrizations
can arise frominteractions which take only c
poly(log n)
many values. In both cases,
the result on the joint distribution is the same — it is parametrizable with only
c
poly(log n)
independent parameters. In order to apply this analysis to the space
of solutions of random constraint satisfaction problems, we utilize and expand
upon ideas from several fields spanning logic, statistics, graphical models, ran-
dom ensembles, and statistical physics.
We begin by introducing the requisite framework of graphical models for a
set of interacting variables. We focus on the correspondence between Markov
and Gibbs properties for directed and undirected models as reflected in the fac-
torization of their joint distribution, and the number of independent parameters
required to specify the distribution.
Next, we build the central contribution of this work. We show that there are
fundamental conceptual relationships between polynomial time computation,
which is completely captured by the logic FO(LFP) on classes of successor struc-
tures, and poly(log n)-parametrization. In particular, monadic LFP is a range
limited interaction model that possesses certain directed Markov properties
that may be stated in terms of conditional independence and sufficient statis-
tics. In order to demonstrate these relationships, we view the LFP computation
as “factoring through” several stages of first order computations, and then uti-
lize the limitations of first order logic. Specifically, we exploit the limitation
that first order logic can only express properties in terms of a bounded num-
ber of local neighborhoods of the underlying structure. Then we relate com-
plex fixed points to value limited interactions, which again result in poly(log n)-
parametrization.
Next we introduce ideas from the 1RSB replica symmetry breaking ansatz of
statistical physics. We recollect the description of the clustered phase for ran-
dom k-SAT that arises when the clause density is sufficiently high and k ≥ 9.
In this phase, known as the d1RSB phase, an arbitrarily large fraction of all vari-
ables in cores freeze within exponentially many clusters in the thermodynamic
limit, as the clause density is increased towards the SAT-unSAT threshold. The
Hamming distance between a solution that lies in one cluster and that in an-
other is O(n). Note that the onset of this phase is rigorously proven only for
k ≥ 9, and it is here that we will demonstrate our separation.
Next, we encode k-SAT formulae as structures on which FO(LFP) captures
polynomial time. By asking FO(LFP) to extend partial assignments on ensem-
bles of random k-SAT, we build distributions of solutions. We then construct a
dynamic graphical model on a product space that captures all the information
flows through the various stages of a LFP computation on ensembles of k-SAT
structures. Distributions computed by LFP must satisfy this model. This model
is directed, which allows us to compute factorizations locally and parameterize
using Gibbs potentials on cliques. We then use results from ensembles of factor
graphs of random k-SAT to bound the various information flows in this di-
rected graphical model. We parametrize the resulting distributions in a manner
that demonstrates that irreducible interactions between covariates — namely,
those that may not be factored any further through conditional independencies
— cannot grow faster than poly(log n) in the range limited monadic LFP com-
puted distributions. For value limited complex LFP, we show how to obtain a
parametrization of the solution space by merging potentials with scope O(n).
This allows us to analyze the behavior of the entire class of polynomial time
algorithms on ensembles simultaneously.
Using the aforementioned limitations of LFP, we demonstrate that a pur-
ported polynomial time solution to k-SAT would result in solution space that
is a mixture of distributions each having an exponentially smaller parametriza-
tion than is consistent with the highly constrained d1RSB phases of k-SAT. We
show that this would contradict the behavior exhibited by the solution space in
the d1RSB phase. This corresponds to the intuitive picture provided by physics
about the emergence of extensive (meaning O(n)) long-range correlations be-
tween variables in this phase and also explains the empirical observation that
all known polynomial time algorithms break down in this phase.
Our work shows that every polynomial time algorithm must fail to produce
solutions to large enough problem instances of k-SAT in the d1RSB phase. This
shows that polynomial time algorithms are not capable of solving NP-complete
problems in their hard phases, and demonstrates the separation of P from NP.
Contents
1 Introduction 3
1.1 Synopsis of Proof . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
2 Interaction Models and Conditional Independence 15
2.1 Conditional Independence . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
2.2 Conditional Independence in Undirected Graphical Models . . . 17
2.2.1 Gibbs Random Fields and the Hammersley-Clifford The-
orem . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21
2.3 Factor Graphs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24
2.4 The Markov-Gibbs Correspondence for Directed Models . . . . . 26
2.5 T-maps and T-maps . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29
3 Distributions with poly(log n)-Parametrization 30
3.1 Two Kinds of poly(log n)-parameterizations . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32
3.1.1 Range Limited Interactions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32
3.1.2 Value Limited Interactions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35
3.1.3 On the Atypical Nature of poly(log n)-parameterization . . 38
3.1.4 Our Treatment of Range and Value Limited Distributions . 38
4 Logical Descriptions of Computations 40
4.1 Inductive Definitions and Fixed Points . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41
4.2 Fixed Point Logics for P and PSPACE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44
1
2
5 The Link Between Polynomial Time Computation and Conditional In-
dependence 48
5.1 The Limitations of LFP . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50
5.1.1 Locality of First Order Logic . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51
5.2 Simple Monadic LFP and Conditional Independence . . . . . . . . 55
5.3 Conditional Independence in Complex Fixed Points . . . . . . . . 60
5.4 Aggregate Properties of LFP over Ensembles . . . . . . . . . . . . 62
6 The 1RSB Ansatz of Statistical Physics 64
6.1 Ensembles and Phase Transitions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 64
6.2 The d1RSB Phase . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 66
6.2.1 Cores and Frozen Variables . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 68
6.2.2 Performance of Known Algorithms in the d1RSB Phase . . 71
7 Random Graph Ensembles 74
7.1 Properties of Factor Graph Ensembles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 75
7.1.1 Locally Tree-Like Property . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 75
7.1.2 Degree Profiles in Random Graphs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 76
8 Separation of Complexity Classes 78
8.1 Measuring Conditional Independence in Range Limited Models . 78
8.2 Generating Distributions from LFP . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 80
8.2.1 Encoding k-SAT into Structures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 80
8.2.2 The LFP Neighborhood System . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 83
8.2.3 Generating Distributions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 85
8.3 Disentangling the Interactions: The ENSP Model . . . . . . . . . . 87
8.4 Parametrization of the ENSP . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 93
8.5 Separation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 96
8.6 Some Perspectives . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 103
A Reduction to a Single LFP Operation 105
A.1 The Transitivity Theorem for LFP . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 105
A.2 Sections and the Simultaneous Induction Lemma for LFP . . . . . 106
2
1. Introduction
The P
?
= NP question is generally considered one of the most important and
far reaching questions in contemporary mathematics and computer science.
The origin of the question seems to date back to a letter from G¨ odel to Von
Neumann in 1956 [Sip92]. Formal definitions of the class NP awaited work by
Edmonds [Edm65], Cook [Coo71], and Levin [Lev73]. The Cook-Levin theorem
showed the existence of complete problems for this class, and demonstrated
that SAT– the problem of determining whether a set of clauses of Boolean lit-
erals has a satisfying assignment – was one such problem. Later, Karp [Kar72]
showed that twenty-one well known combinatorial problems, which include
TRAVELLING SALESMAN, CLIQUE, and HAMILTONIAN CIRCUIT, were also
NP-complete. In subsequent years, many problems central to diverse areas of
application were shown to be NP-complete (see [GJ79] for a list). If P = NP,
we could never solve these problems efficiently. If, on the other hand P = NP,
the consequences would be even more stunning, since every one of these prob-
lems would have a polynomial time solution. The implications of this on ap-
plications such as cryptography, and on the general philosophical question of
whether human creativity can be automated, would be profound.
The P
?
= NP question is also singular in the number of approaches that re-
searchers have brought to bear upon it over the years. From the initial question
in logic, the focus moved to complexity theory where early work used diago-
nalization and relativization techniques. However, [BGS75] showed that these
methods were perhaps inadequate to resolve P
?
= NP by demonstrating rela-
tivized worlds in which P = NP and others in which P = NP (both relations
for the appropriately relativized classes). This shifted the focus to methods us-
3
1. INTRODUCTION 4
ing circuit complexity and for a while this approach was deemed the one most
likely to resolve the question. Once again, a negative result in [RR97] showed
that a class of techniques known as “Natural Proofs” that subsumed the above
could not separate the classes NP and P, provided one-way functions exist.
Owing to the difficulty of resolving the question, and also to the negative
results mentioned above, there has been speculation that resolving the P
?
=
NP question might be outside the domain of mathematical techniques. More
precisely, the question might be independent of standard axioms of set theory.
The first such results in [HH76] show that some relativized versions of the P
?
=
NP question are independent of reasonable formalizations of set theory.
The influence of the P
?
= NP question is felt in other areas of mathematics.
We mention one of these, since it is central to our work. This is the area of de-
scriptive complexity theory — the branch of finite model theory that studies the
expressive power of various logics viewed through the lens of complexity the-
ory. This field began with the result [Fag74] that showed that NP corresponds
to queries that are expressible in second order existential logic over finite struc-
tures. Later, characterizations of the classes P [Imm86], [Var82] and PSPACE
over ordered structures were also obtained.
There are several introductions to the P
?
= NP question and the enormous
amount of research that it has produced. The reader is referred to [Coo06] for an
introduction which also serves as the official problem description for the Clay
Millenium Prize. An older excellent review is [Sip92]. See [Wig07] for a more
recent introduction. Most books on theoretical computer science in general,
and complexity theory in particular, also contain accounts of the problem and
attempts made to resolve it. See the books [Sip97] and [BDG95] for standard
references.
Preliminaries and Notation
Treatments of standard notions from complexity theory, such as definitions of
the complexity classes P, NP, PSPACE, and notions of reductions and com-
pleteness for complexity classes, etc. may be found in [Sip97, BDG95].
4
1. INTRODUCTION 5
Our work will span various developments in three broad areas. While we
have endeavored to be relatively complete in our treatment, we feel it would
be helpful to provide standard textual references for these areas, in the order
in which they appear in the work. Additional references to results will be pro-
vided within the chapters.
Standard references for graphical models include [Lau96] and the more re-
cent [KF09]. For an engaging introduction, please see [Bis06, Ch. 8]. For an
early treatment in statistical mechanics of Markov random fields and Gibbs dis-
tributions, see [KS80].
Preliminaries from logic, such as notions of structure, vocabulary, first order
language, models, etc., may be obtained from any standard text on logic such
as [Hod93]. In particular, we refer to [EF06, Lib04] for excellent treatments of
finite model theory and [Imm99] for descriptive complexity.
For a treatment of the statistical physics approach to random CSPs, we rec-
ommend [MM09]. An earlier text is [MPV87].
1.1 Synopsis of Proof
This proof requires a convergence of ideas and an interplay of principles that
span several areas within mathematics and physics. This represents the major-
ity of the effort that went into constructing the proof. Given this, we felt that
it would be beneficial to explain the various stages of the proof, and highlight
their interplay. The technical details of each stage are described in subsequent
chapters.
Consider a system of n interacting variables such as is ubiquitous in mathe-
matical sciences. For example, these may be the variables in a k-SAT instance
that interact with each other through the clauses present in the k-SAT formula,
or n Ising spins that interact with each other in a ferromagnet. For ease of pre-
sentation, we will assume our variables are binary. Through their interaction,
variables exert an influence on each other, and affect the values each other may
take. The proof centers on the study of logical and algorithmic constructs where
5
1. INTRODUCTION 6
such complex interactions have “simple” descriptions.
What constitutes a simple description of the interaction of n variables? The
number of independent parameters required to specify the joint distribution is a
measure of the complexity of interactions between the covariates. There are
two components to this. The first measures correlations, and the second mea-
sures “ampleness” under those correlations. This is best explained with two
examples. Consider first the uniform distribution over all binary pairs
¦(0, 0), (0, 1), (1, 0), (1, 1)¦
There is no correlation between the two variables in this distribution. They are
independent. Consider next the distribution over 5 covariates which is uni-
formly supported only on
(0, 0, 0, 0, 0) and (1, 1, 1, 1, 1).
In this distribution, the covariates are tightly correlated, but the distribution is
not “ample”. A distribution over n covariates is defined to be ample when it is
supported on c
n
, c > 1 points.
Though initially these two distributions appear quite different, there is a
commonality. Both can be specified with just two parameters. In the first exam-
ple, the two parameters are the probability of the first variate and the probability
of the second variate taking the value 1. With this much information, we can
specify the joint distribution since the variates are independent.
In the second example, we again need two parameters to specify the distri-
bution — namely, the two points on which it is supported.
Though both distributions have simple descriptions, the reasons are very
different. We will study distributions on n covariates that require only 2
poly(log n)
parameters to specify. We will call such distributions poly(log n)-parametrizable.
We will see that such distributions are at the heart of polynomial time com-
putability. Conversely, in hard phases of constraint satisfaction problems such
as k-SAT, the space of solutions is both correlated and ample. This causes all
polynomial time algorithms to fail on them.
6
1. INTRODUCTION 7
A distribution is simple to describe if there is either independence between
the variates (as was the case in our first example) or limited support of the dis-
tribution (as was the case in our second example). We call the first case a range
limited interaction because variates interact with a limited range of other vari-
ates. The second case is called value limited since the number of joint values the
variates can take is limited. The common feature underlying both cases is that
the distribution has a very economical parametrization as compared to “true”
joint distributions (more precisely, statistically typical joint distributions) on n
covariates, which require O(2
n
) parameters to specify. Thus, we wish to study
such distributions, and will consider both the cases of range and value limited
interactions.
At this point, we visit the topic of graphical interaction models and condi-
tional independence which is a manifestation of range limited interactions. While
complete independence between variates in a complex system is rare, condi-
tional independence between blocks of variables is fairly frequent. We see that
factorization into conditionally independent pieces manifests in terms of eco-
nomical parametrizations of the joint distribution. Graphical models offer us a
way to measure the size of these interactions.
The factorization of interactions can be represented by a corresponding fac-
torization of the joint distribution of the variables over the space of configura-
tions of the n variables subject to the constraints of the problem. It has been real-
ized in the statistics and physics communities for long that certain multivariate
distributions decompose into the product of a few types of factors, with each
factor itself having only a few variables. Such a factorization of joint distribu-
tions into simpler factors can often be represented by graphical models whose
vertices index the variables. Afactorization of the joint distribution according to
the graph implies that the interactions between variables can be factored into a
sequence of “local interactions” between vertices that lie within neighborhoods
of each other.
Consider the case of an undirected graphical model. The factoring of inter-
actions may be stated in terms of either a Markov property, or a Gibbs property
7
1. INTRODUCTION 8
with respect to the graph. Specifically, the local Markov property of such mod-
els states that the distribution of a variable is only dependent directly on that
of its neighbors in an appropriate neighborhood system. Of course, two vari-
ables arbitrarily far apart can influence each other, but only through a sequence
of successive local interactions. The global Markov property for such models states
that when two sets of vertices are separated by a third, this induces a condi-
tional independence on variables corresponding to these sets of vertices, given
those corresponding to the third set. On the other hand, the Gibbs property of a
distribution with respect to a graph asserts that the distribution factors into a
product of potential functions over the maximal cliques of the graph. Each po-
tential captures the interaction between the set of variables that form the clique.
The Hammersley-Clifford theorem states that a positive distribution having the
Markov property with respect to a graph must have the Gibbs property with
respect to the same graph.
The condition of positivity is essential in the Hammersley-Clifford theorem
for undirected graphs. However, it is not required when the distribution satis-
fies certain directed models. In that case, the Markov property with respect to
the directed graph implies that the distribution factorizes into local conditional
probability distributions (CPDs). Furthermore, if the model is a directed acyclic
graph (DAG), we can obtain the Gibbs property with respect to an undirected
graph constructed from the DAG by a process known as moralization. We will
return to the directed case shortly.
Chapter 2 develops the principles underlying the framework of graphical
models. We will not use any of these models in particular, but construct another
directed model on a larger product space that utilizes these principles and tailors
them to the case of least fixed point logic, which we turn to next.
At this point, we change to the setting of finite model theory. Finite model
theory is a branch of mathematical logic that has provided machine indepen-
dent characterizations of various important complexity classes including P,
NP, and PSPACE. In particular, the class of polynomial time computable
queries on successor structures has a precise description —it is the class of queries
8
1. INTRODUCTION 9
expressible in the logic FO(LFP) which extends first order logic with the abil-
ity to compute least fixed points of positive first order formulae. Least fixed
point constructions iterate an underlying positive first order formula, thereby
building up a relation in stages. We take a geometric picture of a monadic LFP
computation. Initially the relation to be built is empty. At the first stage, certain
elements, whose types satisfy the first order formula, enter the relation. This
changes the neighborhoods of these elements, and therefore in the next stage,
other elements (whose neighborhoods have been thus changed in the previous
stages) become eligible for entering the relation. The positivity of the formula
implies that once an element is in the relation, it cannot be removed, and so
the iterations reach a fixed point in a polynomial number of steps. Importantly
from our point of view, the positivity and the stage-wise nature of LFP means
that the computation has a directed representation on a graphical model that we
will construct. Recall at this stage that distributions over directed models enjoy
factorization even when they are not defined over the entire space of configura-
tions.
We may interpret this as follows: monadic LFP relies on the assumption that
variables that are highly entangled with each other due to constraints can be
disentangled in a way that they now interact with each other through condi-
tional independencies induced by a certain directed graphical model construc-
tion. Of course, an element does influence others arbitrarily far away, but only
through a sequence of such successive local and bounded interactions. The reason LFP
computations terminate in polynomial time is analogous to the notions of con-
ditional independence that underlie efficient algorithms on graphical models
having sufficient factorization into local interactions.
In order to apply this picture in full generality to all LFP computations, we
use the simultaneous induction lemma to push all simultaneous inductions into
nested ones, and then employ the transitivity theorem to encode nested fixed
points as sections of a single relation of higher arity. We then see that this is
the case of a value limited interaction between O(n) variates. Namely, although
n variates interact with each other, they do not take c
n
joint values. Building
9
1. INTRODUCTION 10
the machinery that can precisely map all these cases to the picture of either
factorization into range limited or value limited interactions is the subject of
Chapter 5.
The preceding insights now direct us to the setting necessary in order to
separate P fromNP. We need a regime of NP-complete problems where inter-
actions between variables have the following two properties.
1. They are so “dense” that they cannot be factored through the bottleneck of
the local and bounded properties of first order logic that limit each stage
of LFP computation.
2. The distribution is ample. Namely, it takes c
n
joint values.
Intuitively, this should happen when each variable has to simultaneously sat-
isfy constraints involving an extensive (O(n)) fraction of the variables in the
problem, and blocks of n variables are instantiated c
n
distinct ways under these
strong correlations. Namely, we have ample, and highly correlated distribu-
tions having no factorization into conditionally independent pieces (remember
the value limited case is already ruled out since the distribution is ample).
In search of regimes where such situations arise, we turn to the study of
ensemble random k-SAT where the properties of the ensemble are studied as a
function of the clause density parameter. We will now add ideas from this field
which lies on the intersection of statistical mechanics and computer science to
the set of ideas in the proof.
In the past two decades, the phase changes in the solution geometry of ran-
dom k-SAT ensembles as the clause density increases, have gathered much re-
search attention. The 1RSB ansatz of statistical mechanics says that the space of
solutions of random k-SAT shatters into exponentially many clusters of solu-
tions when the clause density is sufficiently high. This phase is called 1dRSB (1-
Step Dynamic Replica Symmetry Breaking) and was conjectured by physicists
as part of the 1RSB ansatz. It has since been rigorously proved for high values
of k. It demonstrates the properties of high correlation between large sets of
variables that we will need. Specifically, the emergence of cores that are sets of
10
1. INTRODUCTION 11
C clauses all of whose variables lie in a set of size C (this actually forces C to be
O(n)). As the clause density is increased, the variables in these cores “freeze.”
Namely, they take the same value throughout the cluster. Changing the value of
a variable within a cluster necessitates changing O(n) other variables in order
to arrive at another satisfying solution, which would be in a different cluster.
Furthermore, as the clause density is increased towards the SAT-unSAT thresh-
old, each cluster collapses steadily towards a single solution, that is maximally
far apart from every other cluster. Physicists think of this as an “energy gap”
between the clusters. Such stages are precisely the ones that we need since they
possess the following two properties.
1. Due to strong O(n) correlations that cannot be factored through condi-
tional independencies, they resist attack by local and bounded first order
stages of a monadic LFP computation.
2. Due to their ampleness, which arises from their instantiations in expo-
nentially many clusters, they resist attack by complex fixed points that
produce value limited distributions.
Finally, as the clause density increases above the SAT-unSAT threshold, the so-
lution space vanishes, and the underlying instance of SAT is no longer satisfi-
able.
We should stress that the picture described above is known to hold in the
case of random k-SAT only for k ≥ 9. For lower values of k, such as k = 3,
there is empirical evidence that this picture does not hold. In other words, the
“true” d1RSB phase arises in randomk-SAT for k ≥ 9 as the clause density rises
above (2
k
/k) ln k. Since we need all the known properties of the d1RSB phase,
we will work in this regime. Therefore, our proof does not say anything about
the efficacy of various algorithms for 3-SAT, for instance. We specifically prove
that the d1RSB phase is out of reach for polynomial time algorithms, and this
phase is only reached at k ≥ 9. We reproduce the rigorously proved picture of
the 1RSB ansatz that we will need in Chapter 6.
In Chapter 7, we make a brief excursion into the random graph theory of
11
1. INTRODUCTION 12
the factor graph ensembles underlying random k-SAT. From here, we obtain
results that asymptotically almost surely upper bound the size of the largest
cliques in the neighborhood systems on the Gaifman graphs that we study
later when we build models for the range limited interactions that occur during
monadic LFP. These provide us with bounds on the largest irreducible interac-
tions between variables during the various stages of a LFP computation.
Finally in Chapter 8, we pull all the threads and machinery together. First,
we encode k-SAT instances as queries on structures over a certain vocabulary
in a way that LFP captures all polynomial time computable queries on them.
We then set up the framework whereby we can generate distributions of solu-
tions to each instance by asking a purported LFP algorithm for k-SAT to extend
partial assignments on variables to full satisfying assignments.
Next, we embed the space of covariates into a larger product space which al-
lows us to “disentangle” the flow of information during a LFP computation.
This allows us to study the computations performed by the LFP with various
initial values under a directed graphical model. This model is only polynomi-
ally larger than the structure itself. We call this the Element-Neighborhood-Stage
Product, or ENSP model. The distribution of solutions generated by LFP then is
a mixture of distributions each of whom factors according to an ENSP.
At this point, we wish to measure the growth of independent parameters of
distributions of solutions whose embeddings into the larger product space fac-
tor over the ENSP. In order to do so, we utilize the following properties for
range limited models.
1. The directed nature of the model that comes from properties of LFP.
2. The properties of neighborhoods that are obtained by studies on random
graph ensembles, specifically that neighborhoods that occur during the
LFP computation are of size poly(log n) asymptotically almost surely in
the n → ∞limit.
3. The locality and boundedness properties of FO that put constraints upon
each individual stage of the LFP computation.
12
1. INTRODUCTION 13
4. Simple properties of LFP, such as the closure ordinal being a polynomial
in the structure size.
The crucial property that allows us to analyze mixtures of range limited dis-
tributions that factor according to some ENSP is that we can parametrize the
distribution using potentials on cliques of its moralized graph that are of size at
most poly(log n). This means that when the mixture is exponentially numerous,
we will see features that reflect the poly(log n) factor size of the conditionally
independent parametrization.
Next, we come to value limited models. Here, interactions are of size O(n),
but they are limited to only c
poly(log n)
values, thereby giving us poly(log n)-parametrization.
We show how to deal with mixtures of value limited models. We build a tech-
nique that merges various O(n) potentials that are poly(log n)-parametrizable
into a single potential that is also poly(log n)-parametrizable, and covers the en-
tire graphical model (that has poly(n) variables.)
Now we close the loop and show that a distribution of solutions for k-SAT
constructed by any purported LFP algorithm (monadic or complex) would not
have enough parameters to describe the known picture of k-SAT in the d1RSB
phase for k ≥ 9 — namely, the presence of extensive frozen variables in ex-
ponentially many clusters with Hamming distance between the clusters be-
ing O(n). In particular, in exponentially numerous mixtures of range limited
models, we would have conditionally independent variation between blocks of
poly(log n) variables, causing the Hamming distance between solutions to be of
this order as well. In other words, solutions for k-SAT that are constructed us-
ing range limited LFP will display aggregate behavior that reflects that they are
constructed out of “building blocks” of size poly(log n). This behavior will man-
ifest when exponentially many solutions are generated by the LFP construction.
The case of value limited LFP also leads to a contradiction since it would be
unable to explain the exponentially many cluster instantiations of cores that are
present in the d1RSB phase.
This shows that LFP cannot express the satisfiability query in the d1RSB
phase for high enough k, and separates P from NP. This also explains the
13
1. INTRODUCTION 14
empirical observation that all known polynomial time algorithms fail in the
d1RSB phase for high values of k, and also establishes on rigorous principles
the physics intuition about the onset of extensive long range correlations in the
d1RSB phase that causes all known polynomial time algorithms to fail. It also
completes this picture, since it says that extensive O(n) correlations that (a) can-
not factor through conditional independencies and (b) are amply instantiated,
are the source of failure of polynomial time algorithms.
14
2. Interaction Models and
Conditional Independence
Systems involving a large number of variables interacting in complex ways are
ubiquitous in the mathematical sciences. These interactions induce dependen-
cies between the variables. Because of the presence of such dependencies in a
complex systemwith interacting variables, it is not often that one encounters in-
dependence between variables. However, one frequently encounters conditional
independence between sets of variables. Both independence and conditional in-
dependence among sets of variables have been standard objects of study in
probability and statistics. Speaking in terms of algorithmic complexity, one of-
ten hopes that by exploiting the conditional independence between certain sets
of variables, one may avoid the cost of enumeration of an exponential number
of hypothesis in evaluating functions of the distribution that are of interest.
2.1 Conditional Independence
We first fix some notation. Random variables will be denoted by upper case
letters such as X, Y, Z, etc. The values a random variable takes will be denoted
by the corresponding lower case letters, such as x, y, z. Throughout this work,
we assume our random variables to be discrete unless stated otherwise. We
may also assume that they take values in a common finite state space, which
we usually denote by Λ following physics convention. We denote the probabil-
ity mass functions of discrete random variables X, Y, Z by P
X
(x), P
Y
(y), P
Z
(z)
respectively. Similarly, P
X,Y
(x, y) will denote the joint mass of (X, Y ), and so
15
2. INTERACTION MODELS AND CONDITIONAL INDEPENDENCE 16
on. We drop subscripts on the P when it causes no confusion. We freely use the
term “distribution” for the probability mass function.
The notion of conditional independence is central to our proof. The intuitive
definition of the conditional independence of X from Y given Z is that the con-
ditional distribution of X given (Y, Z) is equal to the conditional distribution
of X given Z alone. This means that once the value of Z is given, no further
information about the value of X can be extracted from the value of Y . This
is an asymmetric definition, and can be replaced by the following symmetric
definition. Recall that X is independent of Y if
P(x, y) = P(x)P(y).
Definition 2.1. Let notation be as above. X is conditionally independent of Y
given Z, written X⊥⊥Y [ Z, if
P(x, y [ z) = P(x [ z)P(y [ z),
The asymmetric version which says that the information contained in Y is
superfluous to determining the value of X once the value of Z is known may
be represented as
P(x [ y, z) = P(x [ z).
The notion of conditional independence pervades statistical theory [Daw79,
Daw80]. Several notions from statistics may be recast in this language.
EXAMPLE 2.2. The notion of sufficiency may be seen as the presence of a cer-
tain conditional independence [Daw79]. A sufficient statistic T in the problem
of parameter estimation is that which renders the estimate of the parameter in-
dependent of any further information from the sample X. Thus, if Θ is the
parameter to be estimated, then T is a sufficient statistic if
P(θ [ x) = P(θ [ t).
Thus, all there is to be gained from the sample in terms of information about
Θ is already present in T alone. In particular, if Θ is a posterior that is being
16
2. INTERACTION MODELS AND CONDITIONAL INDEPENDENCE 17
computed by Bayesian inference, then the above relation says that the posterior
depends on the data X through the value of T alone. Clearly, such a statement
would lead to a reduction in the complexity of inference.
2.2 Conditional Independence in Undirected Graph-
ical Models
Graphical models offer a convenient framework and methodology to describe
and exploit conditional independence between sets of variables in a system.
One may think of the graphical model as representing the family of distribu-
tions whose law fulfills the conditional independence statements made by the
graph. A member of this family may satisfy any number of additional condi-
tional independence statements, but not less than those prescribed by the graph.
In general, we will consider graphs ( = (V, E) whose n vertices index a set of
n random variables (X
1
, . . . , X
n
). The random variables all take their values
in a common state space Λ. The random vector (X
1
, . . . , X
n
) then takes values
in a configuration space Ω
n
= Λ
n
. We will denote values of the random vector
(X
1
, . . . , X
n
) simply by x = (x
1
, . . . , x
n
). The notation X
V \I
will denote the set
of variables excluding those whose indices lie in the set I. Let P be a proba-
bility measure on the configuration space. We will study the interplay between
conditional independence properties of P and its factorization properties.
There are, broadly, two kinds of graphical models: directed and undirected.
We first consider the case of undirected models. Fig. 2.1 illustrates an undirected
graphical model with ten variables.
Random Fields and Markov Properties
Graphical models are very useful because they allow us to read off conditional
independencies of the distributions that satisfy these models from the graph
itself. Recall that we wish to study the relation between conditional indepen-
dence of a distribution with respect to a graphical model, and its factorization.
17
2. INTERACTION MODELS AND CONDITIONAL INDEPENDENCE 18
A C B
Figure 2.1: An undirected graphical model. Each vertex represents a random
variable. The vertices in set A are separated from those in set B by set C. For
random variables to satisfy the global Markov property relative to this graph-
ical model, the corresponding sets of random variables must be conditionally
independent. Namely, A⊥⊥B[ C.
Towards that end, one may write increasingly stringent conditional indepen-
dence properties that a set of random variables satisfying a graphical model
may possess, with respect to the graph. In order to state these, we first define
two graph theoretic notions — those of a general neighborhood system, and of
separation.
Definition 2.3. Given a set of variables S known as sites, a neighborhood system
A
S
on S is a collection of subsets ¦A
i
: 1 ≤ i ≤ n¦ indexed by the sites in S that
satisfy
1. a site is not a neighbor to itself (this also means there are no self-loops in
the induced graph): s
i
/ ∈ A
i
, and
2. the relationship of being a neighbor is mutual: s
i
∈ A
j
⇔ s
j
∈ A
i
.
In many applications, the sites are vertices on a graph, and the neighborhood
system A
i
is the set of neighbors of vertex s
i
on the graph. We will often be
interested in homogeneous neighborhood systems of S on a graph in which, for
18
2. INTERACTION MODELS AND CONDITIONAL INDEPENDENCE 19
each s
i
∈ S, the neighborhood A
i
is defined as
(
i
:= ¦s
j
∈ S: d(s
i
, s
j
) ≤ r¦.
Namely, in such neighborhood systems, the neighborhood of a site is simply
the set of sites that lie in the radius r ball around that site. Note that a nearest
neighbor systemthat is often used in physics is just the case of r = 1. We will need
to use the general case, where r will be determined by considerations from logic
that will be introduced in the next two chapters. We will use the term“variable”
freely in place of “site” when we move to logic.
Definition 2.4. Let A, B, C be three disjoint subsets of the vertices V of a graph
(. The set C is said to separate A and B if every path from a vertex in A to a
vertex in B must pass through C.
Nowwe return to the case of the vertices indexing randomvariables (X
1
, . . . , X
n
)
and the vector (X
1
, . . . , X
n
) taking values in a configuration space Ω
n
. A proba-
bility measure P on Ω
n
is said to satisfy certain Markov properties with respect
to the graph when it satisfies the appropriate conditional independencies with
respect to that graph. We will study the following two Markov properties, and
their relation to factorization of the distribution.
Definition 2.5. 1. The local Markov property. The distribution X
i
(for every i)
is conditionally independent of the rest of the graph given just the vari-
ables that lie in the neighborhood of the vertex. In other words, the influ-
ence that variables exert on any given variable is completely described by
the influence that is exerted through the neighborhood variables alone.
2. The global Markov property. For any disjoint subsets A, B, C of V such that
C separates A from B in the graph, it holds that
A⊥⊥B[ C.
We are interested in distributions that do satisfy such properties, and will
examine what effect these Markov properties have on the factorization of the
19
2. INTERACTION MODELS AND CONDITIONAL INDEPENDENCE 20
distributions. For most applications, this is done in the context of Markov random
fields.
We motivate a Markov random field with the simple example of a Markov
chain ¦X
n
: n ≥ 0¦. The Markov property of this chain is that any variable in
the chain is conditionally independent of all other variables in the chain given
just its immediate neighbors:
X
n
⊥⊥¦x
k
: k / ∈ ¦n −1, n, n + 1¦ [ X
n−1
, X
n+1
¦.
A Markov random field is the natural generalization of this picture to higher
dimensions and more general neighborhood systems.
Definition 2.6. The collection of random variables X
1
, . . . , X
n
is a Markov ran-
dom field with respect to a neighborhood system on ( if and only if the following
two conditions are satisfied.
1. The distribution is positive on the space of configurations: P(x) > 0 for x ∈

n
.
2. The distribution at each vertex is conditionally independent of all other
vertices given just those in its neighborhood:
P(X
i
[ X
V \i
) = P(X
i
[ X
N
i
)
These local conditional distributions are known as local characteristics of
the field.
The second condition says that Markov randomfields satisfy the local Markov
property with respect to the neighborhood system. Thus, we can think of inter-
actions between variables in Markov random fields as being characterized by
“piecewise local” interactions. Namely, the influence of far away vertices must
“factor through” local interactions. This may be interpreted as:
The influence of far away variables is limited to that which is transmit-
ted through the interspersed intermediate variables — there is no “direct”
influence of far away vertices beyond that which is factored through such
intermediate interactions.
20
2. INTERACTION MODELS AND CONDITIONAL INDEPENDENCE 21
However, through such local interactions, a vertex may influence any other ar-
bitrarily far away. Notice though, that this is a considerably simpler picture
than having to consult the joint distribution over all variables for all interac-
tions, for here, we need only know the local joint distributions and use these to
infer the correlations of far away variables. We shall see in later chapters that
this picture, with some additional caveats, is at the heart of polynomial time
computations.
Note the positivity condition on Markov random fields. With this positivity
condition, the complete set of conditionals given by the local characteristics of
a field determine the joint distribution [Bes74].
Markov random fields satisfy the global Markov property as well.
Theorem 2.7. Markov random fields with respect to a neighborhood system satisfy the
global Markov property with respect to the graph constructed from the neighborhood
system.
Markov random fields originated in statistical mechanics [Dob68], where
they model probability measures on configurations of interacting particles, such
as Ising spins. See [KS80] for a treatment that focusses on this setting. Their lo-
cal properties were later found to have applications to analysis of images and
other systems that can be modelled through some form of spatial interaction.
This field started with [Bes74] and came into its own with [GG84] which ex-
ploited the Markov-Gibbs correspondence that we will deal with shortly. See
also [Li09].
2.2.1 Gibbs Random Fields and the Hammersley-Clifford The-
orem
We are interested in how the Markov properties of the previous section trans-
late into factorization of the distribution. Note that Markov random fields are
characterized by a local condition — namely, their local conditional indepen-
dence characteristics. We now describe another random field that has a global
characterization — the Gibbs random field.
21
2. INTERACTION MODELS AND CONDITIONAL INDEPENDENCE 22
Definition 2.8. AGibbs randomfield (or Gibbs distribution) with respect to a neigh-
borhood system A
G
on the graph ( is a probability measure on the set of con-
figurations Ω
n
having a representation of the form
P(x
1
, . . . , x
n
) =
1
Z
exp(−
U(x)
T
),
where
1. Z is the partition function and is a normalizing factor that ensures that the
measure sums to unity,
Z =
¸
x∈Ω
n
exp(−
U(x)
T
).
Evaluating Z explicitly is hard in general since it is a summation over each
of the Λ
n
configurations in the space.
2. T is a constant known as the “Temperature” that has origins in statistical
mechanics. It controls the sharpness of the distribution. At high tempera-
tures, the distribution tends to be uniform over the configurations. At low
temperatures, it tends towards a distribution that is supported only on the
lowest energy states.
3. U(x) is the “energy” of configuration x and takes the following form as a
sum
U(x) =
¸
c∈C
V
c
(x).
over the set of cliques ( of (. The functions V
c
: c ∈ ( are the clique poten-
tials such that the value of V
c
(x) depends only on the coordinates of x that
lie in the clique c. These capture the interactions between vertices in the
clique.
Thus, a Gibbs random field has a probability distribution that factorizes into
its constituent “interaction potentials.” This says that the probability of a con-
figuration depends only on the interactions that occur between the variables,
broken up into cliques. For example, let us say that in a system, each particle
22
2. INTERACTION MODELS AND CONDITIONAL INDEPENDENCE 23
interacts with only 2 other particles at a time, (if one prefers to think in terms
of statistical mechanics) then the energy of each state would be expressible as a
sum of potentials, each of whom had just three variables in its support. Thus,
the Gibbs factorization carries in it a faithful representation of the underlying
interactions between the particles. This type of factorization obviously yields
a “simpler description” of the distribution. The precise notion is that of inde-
pendent parameters it takes to specify the distribution. Factorization into con-
ditionally independent interactions of scope k means that we can specify the
distribution in O(γ
k
) parameters rather than O(γ
n
). We will return to this at the
end of this chapter.
Definition 2.9. Let P be a Gibbs distribution whose energy function U(x) =
¸
c∈C
V
c
(x). The support of the potential V
c
is the cardinality of the clique c. The
degree of the distribution P, denoted by deg(P), is the maximum of the supports
of the potentials. In other words, the degree of the distribution is the size of the
largest clique that occurs in its factorization.
One may immediately see that the degree of a distribution is a measure of
the complexity of interactions in the system since it is the size of the largest set
of variables whose interaction cannot be split up in terms of smaller interactions
between subsets. One would expect this to be the hurdle in efficient algorithmic
applications.
The Hammersley-Clifford theorem relates the two types of random fields.
Theorem 2.10 (Hammersley-Clifford). X is Markov random field with respect to a
neighborhood system A
G
on the graph ( if and only if it is a Gibbs random field with
respect to the same neighborhood system.
The theorem appears in the unpublished manuscript [HC71] and uses a cer-
tain “blackening algebra” in the proof. The first published proofs appear in
[Bes74] and [Mou74].
Note that the condition of positivity on the distribution (which is part of
the definition of a Markov random field) is essential to state the theorem in
full generality. The following example from [Mou74] shows that relaxing this
23
2. INTERACTION MODELS AND CONDITIONAL INDEPENDENCE 24
condition allows us to build distributions having the Markov property, but not
the Gibbs property.
EXAMPLE 2.11. Consider a system of four binary variables ¦X
1
, X
2
, X
3
, X
4
¦.
Each of the following combinations have probability 1/8, while the remaining
combinations are disallowed.
(0, 0, 0, 0) (1, 0, 0, 0) (1, 1, 0, 0) (1, 1, 1, 0)
(0, 0, 0, 1) (0, 0, 1, 1) (0, 1, 1, 1) (1, 1, 1, 1).
We may check that this distribution has the global Markov property with re-
spect to the 4 vertex cycle graph. Namely we have
X
1
⊥⊥X
3
[ X
2
, X
4
and X
2
⊥⊥X
4
[ X
1
, X
3
.
However, the distribution does not factorize into Gibbs potentials.
2.3 Factor Graphs
Factor graphs are bipartite graphs that express the decomposition of a “global”
multivariate function into “local” functions of subsets of the set of variables.
They are a class of undirected models. The two types of nodes in a factor graph
correspond to variable nodes, and factor nodes. See Fig. 2.2.
x
1
C
1
C
2
C
3
x
2
x
3
x
4
x
5
x
6
Figure 2.2: A factor graph showing the three clause 3-SAT formula (X
1
∨ X
4

X
6
) ∧ (X
1
∨ X
2
∨ X
3
) ∧ (X
4
∨ X
5
∨ X
6
). A dashed line indicates that the
variable appears negated in the clause.
24
2. INTERACTION MODELS AND CONDITIONAL INDEPENDENCE 25
The distribution modelled by this factor graph will show a factorization as
follows
p(x
1
, . . . , x
6
) =
1
Z
ϕ
1
(x
1
, x
4
, x
6

2
(x
1
, x
2
, x
3
)ϕ(x
4
, x
5
, x
6
), (2.1)
where Z =
¸
x
1
,...,x
6
ϕ
1
(x
1
, x
4
, x
6

2
(x
1
, x
2
, x
3
)ϕ(x
4
, x
5
, x
6
). (2.2)
Factor graphs offer a finer grained view of factorization of a distribution
than Bayesian networks or Markov networks. One should keep in mind that
this factorization is (in general) far from being a factorization into conditionals
and does not express conditional independence. The system must embed each
of these factors in ways that are global and not obvious from the factors. This
global information is contained in the partition function. Thus, in general, these
factors do not represent conditionally independent pieces of the joint distribu-
tions. In summary, the factorization above is not the one what we are seeking —
it does not imply a series of conditional independencies in the joint distribution.
Factor graphs have been very useful in various applications, most notably
perhaps in coding theory where they are used as graphical models that un-
derlie various decoding algorithms based on forms of belief propagation (also
known as the sum-product algorithm) that is an exact algorithm for computing
marginals on tree graphs but performs remarkably well even in the presence of
loops. See [KFaL98] and [AM00] for surveys of this field. As might be expected
from the preceding comments, these do not focus on conditional independence,
but rather on algorithmic applications of local features (such as locally tree like)
of factor graphs.
A Hammersley-Clifford type theorem holds over the completion of a factor
graph. A clique in a factor graph is a set of variable nodes such that every pair
in the set is connected by a function node. The completion of a factor graph is
obtained by introducing a new function node for each clique, and connecting
it to all the variable nodes in the clique, and no others. Then, a positive distri-
bution that satisfies the global Markov property with respect to a factor graph
satisfies the Gibbs property with respect to its completion.
25
2. INTERACTION MODELS AND CONDITIONAL INDEPENDENCE 26
2.4 The Markov-Gibbs Correspondence for Directed
Models
Consider first a directed acyclic graph (DAG), which is simply a directed graph
without any directed cycles in it. Some specific points of additional terminology
for directed graphs are as follows. If there is a directed edge from x to y, we say
that x is a parent of y, and y is the child of x. The set of parents of x is denoted
by pa(x), while the set of children of x is denoted by ch(a). The set of vertices
from whom directed paths lead to x is called the ancestor set of x and is denoted
an(x). Similarly, the set of vertices to whom directed paths from x lead is called
the descendant set of x and is denoted de(x). Note that DAGs is allowed to have
loops (and loopy DAGs are central to the study of iterative decoding algorithms
on graphical models). Finally, we often assume that the graph is equipped with
a distance function d(, ) between vertices which is just the length of the shortest
path between them. A set of random variables whose interdependencies may
be represented using a DAG is known as a Bayesian network or a directed Markov
field. The idea is best illustrated with a simple example.
Consider the DAG of Fig. 2.3 (left). The corresponding factorization of the
joint density that is induced by the DAG model is
p(x
1
, . . . , x
6
) = p(x
1
)p(x
2
)p(x
3
)p(x
4
[ x
1
)p(x
5
[ x
2
, x
3
, x
4
).
Thus, every joint distribution that satisfies this DAG factorizes as above.
Given a directed graphical model, one may construct an undirected one by
a process known as moralization. In moralization, we (a) replace a directed edge
from one vertex to another by an undirected one between the same two vertices
and (b) “marry” the parents of each vertex by introducing edges between each
pair of parents of the vertex at the head of the former directed edge. The process
is illustrated in the figure below.
In general, if we denote the set of parents of the variable x
i
by pa(x
i
), then
26
2. INTERACTION MODELS AND CONDITIONAL INDEPENDENCE 27
x
2
x
4
x
3
x
5
x
1
x
2
x
4
x
3
x
5
x
1
Figure 2.3: The moralization of the DAG on the left to obtain the moralized
undirected graph on the right.
the joint distribution of (x
1
, . . . , x
n
) factorizes as
p(x
1
, . . . , x
n
) =
N
¸
n=1
p(x
n
[ pa
n
).
We want, however, is to obtain a Markov-Gibbs equivalence for such graphi-
cal models in the same manner that the Hammersley-Clifford theoremprovided
for positive Markov random fields. We have seen that relaxing the positivity
condition on the distribution in the Hammersley-Clifford theorem (Thm. 2.10)
cannot be done in general. In some cases however, one may remove the positiv-
ity condition safely. In particular, [LDLL90] extends the Hammersley-Clifford
correspondence to the case of arbitrary distributions (namely, dropping the pos-
itivity requirement) for the case of directed Markov fields. In doing so, they sim-
plify and strengthen an earlier criterion for directed graphs given by [KSC84].
We will use the result from [LDLL90], which we reproduce next.
Definition 2.12. A measure p admits a recursive factorization according to graph
( if there exist non-negative functions, known as kernels, k
v
(., .) for v ∈ V de-
fined on ΛΛ
| pa(v)|
where the first factor is the state space for X
v
and the second
for X
pa(v)
, such that

k
v
(y
v
, x
pa(v)

v
(dy
v
) = 1
27
2. INTERACTION MODELS AND CONDITIONAL INDEPENDENCE 28
and
p = f.µ where f(x) =
¸
v∈V
k
v
(x
v
, x
pa(v)
).
In this case, the kernels k
v
(., x
pa(v)
) are the conditional densities for the dis-
tribution of X
v
conditioned on the value of its parents X
pa(v)
= x
pa(v)
. Now let
(
m
be the moral graph corresponding to (.
Theorem 2.13. If p admits a recursive factorization according to (, then it admits a
factorization (into potentials) according to the moral graph (
m
.
D-separation
We have considered the notion of separation on undirected models and its ef-
fect on the set of conditional independencies satisfied by the distributions that
factor according to the model. For directed models, there is an analogous no-
tion of separation known as D-separation. The notion is what one would expect
intuitively if one views directed models as representing “flows” of probabilistic
influence.
We simply state the property and refer the reader to [KF09, '3.3.1] and [Bis06,
'8.2.2] for discussion and examples. Let A,B, and C be sets of vertices on a
directed model. Consider the set of all directed paths coming from a node in A
and going to a node in B. Such a path is said to be blocked if one of the following
two scenarios occurs.
1. Arrows on the path meet head-to-tail or tail-to-tail at a node in C.
2. Arrows meet head-to-head at a node, and neither the node nor any of its
descendants is in C.
If all paths from A to B are blocked as above, then C is said to D-separate A
from B, and the joint distribution must satisfy A⊥⊥B[ C.
28
2. INTERACTION MODELS AND CONDITIONAL INDEPENDENCE 29
2.5 T-maps and T-maps
We have seen that there are two broad classes of graphical models —undirected
and directed — which may be used to represent the interaction of variables
in a system. The conditional independence properties of these two classes are
obtained differently.
Definition 2.14. A graph (directed or undirected) is said to be a T-map (’depen-
dencies map’) for a distribution if every conditional independence statement of
the form A⊥⊥B[ C for sets of variables A, B, and C that is satisfied by the distri-
bution is reflected in the graph. Thus, a completely disconnected graph having
no edges is trivially a T-map for any distribution.
A T-map may express more conditional independencies than the distribu-
tion possesses.
Definition 2.15. A graph (directed or undirected) is said to be a T-map (’inde-
pendencies map’) for a distribution if every conditional independence state-
ment of the form A⊥⊥B[ C for sets of variables A, B, and C that is expressed
by the graph is also satisfied by the distribution. Thus, a completely connected
graph is trivially a T-map for any distribution.
A T-map may express less conditional independencies than the distribution
possesses.
Definition 2.16. A graph that is both an T-map and a T-map for a distribution
is called its {-map (’perfect map’).
In other words a {-map expresses precisely the set of conditional indepen-
dencies that are present in the distribution.
Not all distributions have {-maps. Indeed, the class of distributions having
directed {-maps is itself distinct from the class having undirected {-maps and
neither equals the class of all distributions (see [Bis06, '3.8.4] for examples).
29
3. Distributions with
poly(log n)-Parametrization
We now come to a central theme in our work. Consider a system of n binary
covariates (X
1
, . . . , X
n
). To specify their joint distribution p(x
1
, . . . , x
n
) in the
absence of any additional information, we would have to give the probability
mass function at each of the 2
n
configurations that these n variables can take
jointly. The only constraint given on these probability masses is that they must
sum up to 1. Thus, given the function value at 2
n
− 1 configurations, we could
find that at the remaining configuration. This means that in the absence of any
additional information, n covariates require 2
n
− 1 parameters to specify their
joint distribution. Thus, it takes exponentially many in n parameters to specify
a “true” joint distribution of n covariates. This statement can be made more
precise — the typical joint distribution on n variates requires O(2
n
) parameters
for its specification.
In light of the above, a joint distribution that requires only 2
poly(log n)
param-
eters to specify would seem quite unusual. We would intuitively expect it to be
“much simpler” in some way than the typical joint distribution on n variates.
Indeed, because of the exponent of poly(log n), we would expect that it would
be “somewhat like” a joint distribution on only poly(log n) covariates. In other
words — distributions on n variates but requiring only 2
poly(log n)
parameters for
their specification are like the typical distribution on poly(log n) variates. We
shall refer to such distributions as having poly(log n)-parametrization.
Let us take an extreme case of such a “simple” joint distribution. Take the
case of n covariates, except that we are provided with one critical piece of extra
30
3. DISTRIBUTIONS WITH poly(LOGN)-PARAMETRIZATION 31
information — that the n variates are independent of each other. In that case,
we would need 1 parameter to specify each of their individual distributions —
namely, the probability that it takes the value 1. These n parameters then spec-
ify the joint distribution simply because the distribution factorizes completely
into factors whose scopes are single variables (namely, just the p(x
i
)), as a re-
sult of the independence. Thus, we go from exponentially many independent
parameters to linearly many if we know that the variates are independent.
Let us consider another extreme case of such a distribution. Consider the
distribution on n variates that is non-zero only at (0, 0, . . . , 0) and (1, 1, . . . , 1).
Here, the variates are highly correlated. But once again, we require only two
parameters to specify the distribution. In this case, it is because the distribu-
tion is supported on only two out of a possible 2
n
values. In other words, it is
severely limited by the small number of joint values the covariates take.
In both cases above, the distribution on n covariates required far fewer pa-
rameters to specify than the typical n variate distribution does.
In order to state the typical case of a n variate distribution, we make the
following definition.
Definition 3.1. A distribution on n variates will be called ample if it is supported
on c
n
joint values for c > 1.
In other words, ample distributions take the typical number of joint values.
Definition 3.2. A distribution on n variates will be said to have irreducible O(n)
correlations if there exist correlations between O(n) variates that do not permit
factorization into smaller scopes through conditional independencies.
It is distributions that possess both these properties that are problematic for
polynomial time algorithms. We will see that distributions constructed by poly-
nomial time algorithms can have one or the other property, but not both. Note
that distributions having both these properties require O(2
n
) independent pa-
rameters to specify. There is neither factorization, nor limited support, that will
permit more economical parametrization.
31
3. DISTRIBUTIONS WITH poly(LOGN)-PARAMETRIZATION 32
This brings us to a key motivating question: What if n covariates had a joint
distribution that required only exponential in poly(log n) many parameters to
specify? When would such a distribution arise, and what would be its limita-
tions? This question is really the heart of P
?
= NP. Indeed, all the machinery
we build and use in this work really takes us to the following insight: Polyno-
mial time computations build distributions of solutions that can be parameterized us-
ing only exponential in poly(log n) many parameters. Namely, they have poly(log n)-
parametrization. In contrast, in the hard phases of NP-complete problems like k-SAT,
the distribution of solutions requires exponentially many parameters to specify. In par-
ticular, the distribution of solutions in the hard phases of NP-complete prob-
lems displays two properties
1. The variates are as far from being independent as possible — they inter-
act with each other O(n) at a time, with no possibility for factorization
into conditional independencies. In other words, the distribution has irre-
ducible O(n) correlations.
2. The distribution is ample.
Note that both conditions are required. It is not only long range correlations,
but (a) the non-factorizability of such correlations and (b) ampleness under
such non-factorizable correlations that characterizes the solution spaces in hard
phases of NP-complete problems.
3.1 Two Kinds of poly(log n)-parameterizations
We have seen that distributions on n variates that are poly(log n)-parametrizable
are very atypical. When do they arise? They can be studied in two categories,
both of which will correspond to polynomial time algorithms.
3.1.1 Range Limited Interactions
As noted earlier, it is not often that complex systems of n interacting variables
have complete independence between some subsets. What is far more frequent
32
3. DISTRIBUTIONS WITH poly(LOGN)-PARAMETRIZATION 33
is that there are conditional independencies between certain subsets given some
intermediate subset. In this case, the joint will factorize into factors each of
whose scope is a subset of (X
1
, . . . , X
n
). If the factorization is into condition-
ally independent factors, each of whose scope is of size at most k , then we can
parametrize the joint distribution with at most n2
n
independent parameters.
We should emphasize that the factors must give us conditional independence
for this to be true. For example, factor graphs give us a factorization, but it is,
in general, not a factorization into conditional independents, and so we cannot
conclude anything about the number of independent parameters by just exam-
ining the factor graph. Fromour perspective, a major feature of directed graphi-
cal models is that their factorizations are already globally normalized once they
are locally normalized, meaning that there is a recursive factorization of the
joint into conditionally independent pieces. The conditional independence in
this case is from all non-descendants, given the parents. Therefore, if each node
has at most k parents, we can parametrize the distribution using at most n2
k
independent parameters. We may also moralize the graph and see this as a fac-
torization over cliques in the moralized graph. Note that such a factorization
(namely, starting from a directed model and moralizing) holds even if the dis-
tribution is not positive in contrast with those distributions which do not factor
over directed models and where we have to invoke the Hammersley-Clifford
theorem to get a similar factorization. See [KF09] for further discussion on pa-
rameterizations for directed and undirected graphical models.
Our proof scheme requires us to distinguish distributions based on the size
of the irreducible direct interactions between subsets of the covariates. Namely,
we would like to distinguish distributions where there are O(n) such covariates
whose joint interaction cannot be factored through smaller interactions (having
less than O(n) covariates) chained together by conditional independencies. We
would like to contrast such distributions from others which can be so factored
through factors having only poly(log n) variates in their scope. The measure that
allows us to make this distinction is the number of independent parameters it
takes to specify the distribution. When the size of the smallest irreducible inter-
33
3. DISTRIBUTIONS WITH poly(LOGN)-PARAMETRIZATION 34
Range Limited to poly(log n)
R
a
n
g
e

L
i
m
i
t
e
d

t
o

p
o
l
y
(
l
o
g

n
)
R
a
n
g
e

L
i
m
i
t
e
d

t
o

p
o
l
y
(
l
o
g

n
)
Figure 3.1: Arange limited joint distribution on n covariates that has poly(log n)-
parametrization. Although interactions between variables may be ample for
their range, but their range is limited to poly(log n).
34
3. DISTRIBUTIONS WITH poly(LOGN)-PARAMETRIZATION 35
actions is O(n), then we need O(c
n
) parameters where c > 1. On the other hand,
if we were able to demonstrate that the distribution factors through interactions
which always have scope poly(log n), then we would need only O(c
poly(log n)
) pa-
rameters. See Fig. 3.1
Let us consider the example of a Markov random field. By Hammersley-
Clifford, it is also a Gibbs random field over the set of maximal cliques in the
graph encoding the neighborhood system of the Markov random field. This
Gibbs field comes with conditional independence assurance, and therefore, we
have an upper bound on the number of parameters it takes to specify the dis-
tribution. Namely, it is just
¸
c∈C
2
|c|
. Thus, if at most k < n variables interact
directly at a time, then the largest clique size would be k, and this would give
us a more economical parameterization than the one which requires 2
n
− 1 pa-
rameters.
In Chapter 5, we will build machinery that shows that if a problem lies in P
as a result of a range limited algorithm (like monadic LFP), then the factoriza-
tion of the distribution of solutions to that problem causes it to have economi-
cal parametrization, precisely because variables do not interact all at once, but
rather in smaller subsets in a directed manner that gives us conditional inde-
pendencies between sets that are of size poly(log n).
Note that the case where all n variates are independent falls into the range
limited category with range being one. The resulting distribution is ample.
3.1.2 Value Limited Interactions
In the previous section we saw the first type of interaction between n covari-
ates that can be parametrized by just poly(log n) independent parameters. This
was the case where the n variates interact directly only poly(log n) at a time, and
such interactions are chained together through conditional independencies. In
this section, we will see another such limited interaction, where the n variates
do interact directly O(n) at a time, but they are restricted to taking only c
poly(log n)
many distinct values (see Fig. 3.2). One sees immediately that the underlying lim-
itation in both this case and the previous is common — the set of n covariates
35
3. DISTRIBUTIONS WITH poly(LOGN)-PARAMETRIZATION 36
do not take 2
n
different values with extensive O(n) correlations that do not fac-
tor through conditional independencies like a “true”(or more precisely, typical)
joint distribution of n variates. Instead, in both cases, the n covariates behave in
ways that is similar to a system of poly(log n) covariates. Namely, in both cases,
their “jointness” resembles a system of poly(log n) covariates.
How do we precisely state this property? Through the notion of indepen-
dent parameters. We will measure the jointness of a distribution by the number
of independent parameters required to specify it. A “true” joint distribution
takes O(c
n
), c > 1 independent parameters to specify. On the other hand, both
range and value limited interactions require only O(c
poly(log n)
) independent pa-
rameters to specify. This is the crux of the P = NP question, as we shall see. In
particular, we shall see that in the hard phases of problems such as k-SAT for
k > 8, O(c
poly(log n)
) independent parameters simply will not suffice to explain
the behavior of the solution space of the problem. We will recall this behav-
ior in some detail in Chapter 6. We should stress that this behavior has been
rigorously shown to hold for some phases of k-SAT for high values of k. It is in
these phases that our separation of complexity classes can be demonstrated, not
elsewhere. We should also point out that once we have isolated the precise no-
tion that is at the heart of polynomial time computation — namely poly(log n)-
parametrizability of the space of solutions — several apparent issues resolve
themselves. Take the case of clustering in XORSAT, for instance. We only
need note that the linear nature of XORSAT solution spaces mean there is a
poly(log n)-parametrization (the basis provides this for linear spaces). The core
issue is that of the number of independent parameters it takes to specify the
distribution of the entire space of solutions.
In both cases — range limited and value limited interactions — the sys-
tem of n covariates behaves as though it was a system of only poly(log n)
covariates. In the case of range limited, this is because the covariates only
jointly vary with poly(log n) other variates at a time. In the case of value
limited interactions, this is because though O(n) variates vary jointly, they
only take 2
poly(log n)
joint values. Thus, in both cases, the joint distribution
36
3. DISTRIBUTIONS WITH poly(LOGN)-PARAMETRIZATION 37
has a very economical parametrization using only 2
poly(log n)
independent
parameters.
In later chapters, we will build machinery to see that polynomial time LFP
algorithms can capture either range or value limited behaviors, but not the joint
behavior of a “true” joint distribution of n covariates.
It is also useful to notice that neither type of limitation implies the other.
For instance, n independent variates are range limited, but not value limited.
Whereas the distribution supported on the all 1 and all 0 tuple is value limited,
but not range limited. Regimes of problems where the distributions of solutions
are neither value limited nor range limited cause the failure of polynomial time
algorithms on the average.
Range O(n)
V
a
l
u
e

L
i
m
i
t
e
d

t
o

2
p
o
ly
(
lo
g

n
)
V
a
l
u
e

L
i
m
i
t
e
d

t
o

2
p
o
ly
(
lo
g

n
)
Value Limited to
2
poly(log n)
Figure 3.2: Avalue limited joint distribution on n covariates that has poly(log n)-
parametrization. Although interactions between variables are O(n) at a time,
they do not display ampleness in their joint distribution.
37
3. DISTRIBUTIONS WITH poly(LOGN)-PARAMETRIZATION 38
3.1.3 On the Atypical Nature of poly(log n)-parameterization
We briefly mentioned earlier that the typical member of the space of distribu-
tions on n covariates requires O(2
n
) parameters. Note that this is a statistical
statement. Namely, if we picked a n variable distribution at random, with
high likelihood we would get a distribution that required O(2
n
) parameters to
specify. In other words, with high likelihood, we would not get a poly(log n)-
parametrizable distribution. This observation may be used to state results about
average case complexity in hard phases of random k-SAT. In many ways, these
hard phases are simply typical, nothing more. The solution space shows the
behavior of a typical joint distribution on n covariates in that it is ample and
correlated. It is polynomial time solution spaces that are atypical for n variate
distributions in that they are either not ample (the value limited case) or they are
not correlated solidly enough (the range limited case, where they admit Gibbs
factorizations into smaller potentials).
This short section owes its existence to Leonid Levin and Avi Wigderson,
both of whom asked us whether our methods could be used to make statements
about average case complexity. We will return to this issue in future versions of
this paper or in the manuscript [Deo10] which is under preparation.
3.1.4 Our Treatment of Range and Value Limited Distributions
The two types of distributions that we have mentioned above are only superfi-
cially dissimilar. In both cases, the range of behaviors of the n covariates can be
parametrized with the number of independent parameters it takes to specify a
joint distribution of only poly(log n) covariates. For purposes of pedagogy, we
will disregard this superficial dissimilarity and provide a full treatment of the
range limited case. We can even think of the value limited behavior as a type of
range limited behavior where, even though a covariate sees O(n) other covari-
ates, it only utilizes poly(log n) amount of the information in them in order to
make its decision.
We end this chapter by tying poly(log n)-parameterizations to a Markov or
38
3. DISTRIBUTIONS WITH poly(LOGN)-PARAMETRIZATION 39
(equivalently for directed) Gibbs models. Once again, consider two kinds of
poly(log n)-parameterizations — range limited and value limited. A range lim-
ited parametrization would correspond to a Gibbs field whose potentials are
specified over maximum cliques of size poly(log n). A value limited parameter-
ization could have maximumcliques of size O(n), but the number of parameters
for such a clique would only be 2
poly(log n)
instead of the possible 2
O(n)
. In either
case, the random field would have poly(log n)-parametrization. See Figs. 3.1
and 3.2.
39
4. Logical Descriptions of
Computations
Work in finite model theory and descriptive complexity theory — a branch of
finite model theory that studies the expressive power of various logics in terms
of complexity classes — has resulted in machine independent characterizations
of various complexity classes. In particular, over ordered structures, there is
a precise and highly insightful characterization of the class of queries that are
computable in polynomial time, and those that are computable in polynomial
space. In order to keep the treatment relatively complete, we begin with a brief
pr´ ecis of this theory. Readers from a finite model theory background may skip
this chapter.
We quickly set notation. A vocabulary, denoted by σ, is a set consisting of
finitely many relation and constant symbols,
σ = 'R
1
, . . . , R
m
, c
1
, . . . , c
s
`.
Each relation has a fixed arity. We consider only relational vocabularies in that
there are no function symbols. This poses no shortcomings since functions may
be encoded as relations. A σ-structure A consists of a set A which is the universe
of A, interpretations R
A
for each of the relation symbols in the vocabulary, and
interpretations c
A
for each of the constant symbols in the vocabulary. Namely,
A = 'A, R
A
1
, . . . , R
A
m
, c
A
1
, . . . , c
A
s
`.
An example is the vocabulary of graphs which consists of a single relation
symbol having arity two. Then, a graph may be seen as a structure over this
40
4. LOGICAL DESCRIPTIONS OF COMPUTATIONS 41
vocabulary, where the universe is the set of nodes, and the relation symbol is
interpreted as an edge. In addition, some applications may require us to work
with a graph vocabulary having two constants interpreted in the structure as
source and sink nodes respectively.
We also denote by σ
n
the extension of σ by n additional constants, and de-
note by (A, a) the structure where the tuple a has been identified with these
additional constants.
4.1 Inductive Definitions and Fixed Points
The material in this section is standard, and we refer the reader to [Mos74] for
the first monograph on the subject, and to [EF06, Lib04] for detailed treatments
in the context of finite model theory. See [Imm99] for a text on descriptive com-
plexity theory. Our treatment is taken mostly from these sources, and stresses
the facts we need.
Inductive definitions are a fundamental primitive of mathematics. The idea
is to build up a set in stages, where the defining relation for each stage can be
written in the first order language of the underlying structure and uses elements
added to the set in previous stages. In the most general case, there is an under-
lying structure A = 'A, R
1
, . . . , R
m
` and a formula
φ(S, x) ≡ φ(S, x
1
, . . . , x
n
)
in the first-order language of A. The variable S is a second-order relation vari-
able that will eventually hold the set we are trying to build up in stages. At the
ξ
th
stage of the induction, denoted by I
ξ
φ
, we insert into the relation S the tuples
according to
x ∈ I
ξ
φ
⇔ φ(
¸
η<ξ
I
η
φ
, x).
We will denote the stage that a tuple enters the relation in the induction defined
by φ by [ [
A
φ
. The decomposition into its various stages is a central characteristic
of inductively defined relations. We will also require that φ have only posi-
tive occurrences of the n-ary relation variable S, namely all occurrences of S be
41
4. LOGICAL DESCRIPTIONS OF COMPUTATIONS 42
within the scope of an even number of negations. Such inductions are called
positive elementary. In the most general case, a transfinite induction may result.
The least ordinal κ at which I
κ
φ
= I
κ+1
φ
is called the closure ordinal of the induc-
tion, and is denoted by [φ
A
[. When the underlying structures are finite, this is
also known as the inductive depth. Note that the cardinality of the ordinal κ is at
most [A[
n
.
Finally, we define the relation
I
φ
=
¸
ξ
I
ξ
φ
.
Sets of the form I
φ
are known as fixed points of the structure. Relations that may
be defined by
R(x) ⇔ I
φ
(a, x)
for some choice of tuple a over A are known as inductive relations. Thus, induc-
tive relations are sections of fixed points.
Note that there are definitions of the set I
φ
that are equivalent, but can be
stated only in the second order language of A. Note that the definition above is
1. elementary at each stage, and
2. constructive.
We will use both these properties throughout our work.
We now proceed more formally by introducing operators and their fixed
points, and then consider the operators on structures that are induced by first
order formulae. We begin by defining two classes of operators on sets.
Definition 4.1. Let Abe a finite set, and {(A) be its power set. An operator F on
Ais a function F : {(A) → {(A). The operator F is monotone if it respects subset
inclusion, namely, for all subsets X, Y of A, if X ⊆ Y , then F(X) ⊆ F(Y ). The
operator F is inflationary if it maps sets to their supersets, namely, X ⊆ F(X).
Next, we define sequences induced by operators, and characterize the se-
quences induced by monotone and inflationary operators.
42
4. LOGICAL DESCRIPTIONS OF COMPUTATIONS 43
Definition 4.2. Let F be an operator on A. Consider the sequence of sets F
0
, F
1
, . . .
defined by
F
0
= ∅,
F
i+1
= F(F
i
).
(4.1)
This sequence (F
i
) is called inductive if it is increasing, namely, if F
i
⊆ F
i+1
for
all i. In this case, we define
F

:=

¸
i=0
F
i
. (4.2)
Lemma 4.3. If F is either monotone or inflationary, the sequence (F
i
) is inductive.
Now we are ready to define fixed points of operators on sets.
Definition 4.4. Let F be an operator on A. The set X ⊆ A is called a fixed point
of F if F(X) = X. A fixed point X of F is called its least fixed point, denoted
LFP(F), if it is contained in every other fixed point Y of F, namely, X ⊆ Y
whenever Y is a fixed point of F.
Not all operators have fixed points, let alone least fixed points. The Tarski-
Knaster guarantees that monotone operators do, and also provides two con-
structions of the least fixed point for such operators: one “from above” and the
other “from below.” The latter construction uses the sequences (4.1).
Theorem 4.5 (Tarski-Knaster). Let F be a monotone operator on a set A.
1. F has a least fixed point LFP(F) which is the intersection of all the fixed points
of F. Namely,
LFP(F) =
¸
¦Y : Y = F(Y )¦.
2. LFP(F) is also equal to the union of the stages of the sequence (F
i
) defined in
(4.1). Namely,
LFP(F) =
¸
F
i
= F

.
However, not all operators are monotone; therefore we need a means of con-
structing fixed points for non-monotone operators.
43
4. LOGICAL DESCRIPTIONS OF COMPUTATIONS 44
Definition 4.6. For an inflationary operator F, the sequence F
i
is inductive, and
hence eventually stabilizes to the fixed point F

. For an arbitrary operator G,
we associate the inflationary operator G
infl
defined by G
infl
(Y ) Y ∪G(Y ). The
set G
infl

is called the inflationary fixed point of G, and denoted by IFP(G).
Definition 4.7. Consider the sequence (F
i
) induced by an arbitrary operator F
on A. The sequence may or may not stabilize. In the first case, there is a positive
integer n such that F
n+1
= F
n
, and therefore for all m > n, F
m
= F
n
. In the
latter case, the sequence F
i
does not stabilize, namely, for all n ≤ 2
|A|
, F
n
=
F
n+1
. Now, we define the partial fixed point of F, denoted PFP(F), as F
n
in the
first case, and the empty set in the second case.
4.2 Fixed Point Logics for P and PSPACE
We now specialize the theory of fixed points of operators to the case where the
operators are defined by means of first order formulae.
Definition 4.8. Let σ be a relational vocabulary, and R a relational symbol of
arity k that is not in σ. Let ϕ(R, x
1
, . . . , x
n
) = ϕ(R, x) be a formula of vocabulary
σ ∪ ¦R¦. Now consider a structure A of vocabulary σ. The formula ϕ(R, x)
defines an operator F
ϕ
: {(A
k
) → {(A
k
) on A
k
which acts on a subset X ⊆ A
k
as
F
ϕ
(X) = ¦a [ A [= ϕ(X/R, a¦, (4.3)
where ϕ(X/R, a¦ means that R is interpreted as X in ϕ.
We wish to extend FO by adding fixed points of operators of the form F
φ
,
where φ is a formula in FO. This gives us fixed point logics which play a central
role in descriptive complexity theory.
Definition 4.9. Let the notation be as above.
1. The logic FO(IFP) is obtained by extending FO with the following forma-
tion rule: if ϕ(R, x) is a formula and t a k-tuple of terms, then [IFP
R,x
ϕ(R, x)](t)
44
4. LOGICAL DESCRIPTIONS OF COMPUTATIONS 45
is a formula whose free variables are those of t. The semantics are given
by
A [= [IFP
R,x
ϕ(R, x)](a) iff a ∈ IFP(F
ϕ
).
2. The logic FO(PFP) is obtained by extending FO with the following forma-
tion rule: if ϕ(R, x) is a formula and t a k-tuple of terms, then [PFP
R,x
ϕ(R, x)](t)
is a formula whose free variables are those of t. The semantics are given
by
A [= [PFP
R,x
ϕ(R, x)](a) iff a ∈ PFP(F
ϕ
).
We cannot define the closure of FO under taking least fixed points in the
above manner without further restrictions since least fixed points are guaran-
teed to exist only for monotone operators, and testing for monotonicity is un-
decidable. If we were to form a logic by extending FO by least fixed points
without further restrictions, we would obtain a logic with an undecidable syn-
tax. Hence, we make some restrictions on the formulae which guarantee that
the operators obtained from them as described by (4.3) will be monotone, and
thus will have a least fixed point. We need a definition.
Definition 4.10. Let notation be as earlier. Let ϕ be a formula containing a rela-
tional symbol R. An occurrence of R is said to be positive if it is under the scope
of an even number of negations, and negative if it is under the scope of an odd
number of negations. A formula is said to be positive in R if all occurrences of R
in it are positive, or there are no occurrences of R at all. In particular, there are
no negative occurrences of R in the formula.
Lemma 4.11. Let notation be as earlier. If the formula ϕ(R, x) is positive in R, then
the operator obtained from ϕ by construction (4.3) is monotone.
Now we can define the closure of FO under least fixed points of operators
obtained from formulae that are positive in a relational variable.
45
4. LOGICAL DESCRIPTIONS OF COMPUTATIONS 46
Definition 4.12. The logic FO(LFP) is obtained by extending FO with the fol-
lowing formation rule: if ϕ(R, x) is a formula that is positive in the k-ary rela-
tional variable R, and t is a k-tuple of terms, then [LFP
R,x
ϕ(R, x)](t) is a formula
whose free variables are those of t. The semantics are given by
A [= [LFP
R,x
ϕ(R, x)](a) iff a ∈ LFP(F
ϕ
).
As earlier, the stage at which the tuple a enters the relation R is denoted by
[a[
A
ϕ
, and inductive depths are denoted by [ϕ
A
[. This is well defined for least
fixed points since a tuple enters a relation only once, and is never removed
from it after. In fixed points (such as partial fixed points) where the underlying
formula is not necessarily positive, this is not true. A tuple may enter and leave
the relation being built multiple times.
Next, we informally state two well-known results on the expressive power
of fixed point logics. First, adding the ability to do simultaneous induction
over several formulae does not increase the expressive power of the logic, and
secondly FO(IFP) = FO(LFP) over finite structures. See [Lib04, '10.3, p. 184] for
details.
We have introduced various fixed point constructions and extensions of first
order logic by these constructions. We end this section by relating these log-
ics to various complexity classes. These are the central results of descriptive
complexity theory.
Fagin [Fag74] obtained the first machine independent logical characteriza-
tion of an important complexity class. Here, ∃SO refers to the restriction of
second-order logic to formulae of the form
∃X
1
∃X
m
ϕ,
where ϕ does not have any second-order quantification.
Theorem 4.13 (Fagin).
∃SO = NP.
Immerman [Imm82] and Vardi [Var82] obtained the following central result
that captures the class P on ordered structures.
46
4. LOGICAL DESCRIPTIONS OF COMPUTATIONS 47
Theorem 4.14 (Immerman-Vardi). Over finite, ordered structures, the queries ex-
pressible in the logic FO(LFP) are precisely those that can be computed in polynomial
time. Namely,
FO(LFP) = P.
A characterization of PSPACE in terms of PFP was obtained in [AV91,
Var82].
Theorem 4.15 (Abiteboul-Vianu, Vardi). Over finite, ordered structures, the queries
expressible in the logic FO(PFP) are precisely those that can be computed in polynomial
space. Namely,
FO(PFP) = PSPACE.
Note: We will often use the term LFP generically instead of FO(LFP) when we
wish to emphasize the fixed point construction being performed, rather than the
language.
47
5. The Link Between Polynomial
Time Computation and Conditional
Independence
In Chapter 2 we saw how certain joint distributions that encode interactions
between collections of variables “factor through” smaller, simpler interactions.
This necessarily affects the type of influence a variable may exert on other vari-
ables in the system. Thus, while a variable in such a system can exert its influ-
ence throughout the system, this influence must necessarily be bottlenecked by
the simpler interactions that it must factor through. In other words, the influ-
ence must propagate with bottlenecks at each stage. In the case where there are
conditional independencies, the influence can only be “transmitted through”
the values of the intermediate conditioning variables.
In this chapter, we will uncover a similar phenomenon underlying the log-
ical description of polynomial time computation on ordered structures. The
fundamental observation is the following:
Least fixed point computations “factor through” first order computations,
and so limitations of first order logic must be the source of the bottleneck at
each stage to the propagation of information in such computations.
The treatment of LFP versus FOin finite model theory centers around the fact
that FO can only express local properties, while LFP allows non-local properties
such as transitive closure to be expressed. We are taking as given the non-local
capability of LFP, and asking how this non-local nature factors at each step, and what is
the effect of such a factorization on the joint distribution of LFP acting upon ensembles.
48
5. THE LINK BETWEEN POLYNOMIAL TIME COMPUTATION AND
CONDITIONAL INDEPENDENCE 49
Fixed point logics allow variables to be non-local in their influence, but this
non-local influence must factor through first order logic at each stage. This is
a very similar underlying idea to the statistical mechanical picture of random
fields over spaces of configurations that we sawin Chapter 2, but comes cloaked
in a very different garb — that of logic and operators. The sequence (F
i
ϕ
) of op-
erators that construct fixed points may be seen as the propagation of influence
in a structure by means of setting values of “intermediate variables”. In this
case, the variables are set by inducting them into a relation at various stages
of the induction. We want to understand the stage-wise bottleneck that a fixed
point computation faces at each step of its execution, and tie this back to no-
tions of conditional independence and factorization of distributions. In order
to accomplish this, we must understand the limitations of each stage of a LFP
computation and understand how this affects the propagation of long-range in-
fluence in relations computed by LFP. Namely, we will bring to bear ideas from
statistical mechanics and message passing to the logical description of compu-
tations.
It will be beneficial to state this intuition with the example of transitive clo-
sure.
EXAMPLE 5.1. The transitive closure of an edge in a graph is the standard exam-
ple of a non-local property that cannot be expressed by first order logic. It can
be expressed in FO(LFP) as follows. Let E be a binary relation that expresses
the presence of an edge between its arguments. Then we can see that iterating
the positive first order formula ϕ(R, x, y) given by
ϕ(R, x, y) ≡ E(x, y) ∨ ∃z(E(x, z) ∧ R(z, y)).
builds the transitive closure relation in stages.
Notice that the decision of whether a vertex enters the relation is based on
the immediate neighborhood of the vertex. In other words, the relation is built
stage by stage, and at each stage, vertices that have entered a relation make
other vertices that are adjacent to them eligible to enter the relation at the next
stage. Thus, though the resulting property is non-local, the information flow used to
49
5. THE LINK BETWEEN POLYNOMIAL TIME COMPUTATION AND
CONDITIONAL INDEPENDENCE 50
compute it is stage-wise local. The computation factors through a local property
at each stage, but by chaining many such local factors together, we obtain the
non-local relation of transitive closure. This picture relates to a Markov random
field, where such local interactions are chained together in a way that variables
can exert their influence to arbitrary lengths, but the factorization of that influ-
ence (encoded in the joint distribution) reveals the stage-wise local nature of the
interaction. There are important differences however — the flow of LFP com-
putation is directed, whereas a Markov random field is undirected, for instance.
We have used this simple example just to provide some preliminary intuition.
We will now proceed to build the requisite framework.
5.1 The Limitations of LFP
Many of the techniques in model theory break down when restricted to finite
models. A notable exception is the Ehrenfeucht-Fra¨ıss´ e game for first order
logic. This has led to much research attention to game theoretic characteriza-
tions of various logics. The primary technique for demonstrating the limitations
of fixed point logics in expressing properties is to consider them a segment of
the logic L
k
∞ω
, which extends first order logic with infinitary connectives, and
then use the characterization of expressibility in this logic in terms of k-pebble
games. This is however not useful for our purpose (namely, separating P from
NP) since NP ⊆ PSPACE and the latter class is captured by PFP, which is
also a segment of L
k
∞ω
.
One of the central contributions of our work is demonstrating a completely
different viewpoint of LFP computations in terms of the concepts of conditional
independence and factoring of distributions, both of which are fundamental to
statistics and probability theory. In order to arrive at this correspondence, we
will need to understand the limitations of first order logic. Least fixed point
is an iteration of first order formulas. The limitations of first order formulae
mentioned in the previous section therefore appear at each step of a least fixed
point computation.
50
5. THE LINK BETWEEN POLYNOMIAL TIME COMPUTATION AND
CONDITIONAL INDEPENDENCE 51
Viewing LFP as “stage-wise first order” is central to our analysis. Let us
pause for a while and see how this fits into our global framework. We are in-
terested in factoring complex interactions between variables into their smallest
constituent irreducible factors. Viewed this way, LFP has a natural factorization
into its stages, which are all described by first order formulae.
Let us now analyze the limitations of the LFP computation through this
viewpoint.
5.1.1 Locality of First Order Logic
The local properties of first order logic have received considerable research at-
tention and expositions can be found in standard references such as [Lib04, Ch.
4], [EF06, Ch. 2], [Imm99, Ch. 6]. The basic idea is that first order formulae can
only “see” up to a certain distance away from their free variables. This distance
is determined by the quantifier rank of the formula.
The idea that first order formulae are local has been formalized in essen-
tially two different ways. This has led to two major notions of locality — Hanf
locality [Han65] and Gaifman locality [Gai82]. Informally, Hanf locality says
that whether or not a first order formula ϕ holds in a structure depends only on
its multiset of isomorphism types of spheres of radius r. Gaifman locality says
that whether or not ϕ holds in a structure depends on the number of elements
of that structure having pairwise disjoint r-neighborhoods that fulfill first order
formulae of quantifier depth d for some fixed d (which depends on ϕ). Clearly,
both notions express properties of combinations of neighborhoods of fixed size.
In the literature of finite model theory, these properties were developed to
deal with cases where the neighborhoods of the elements in the structure had
bounded diameters. In particular, some of the most striking applications of
such properties are in graphs with bounded degree, such as the linear time al-
gorithm to evaluate first order properties on bounded degree graphs [See96].
In contrast, we will use some of the normal forms developed in the context of
locality properties in finite model theory, but in the scenario where neighbor-
hoods of elements have unbounded diameter. Thus, it is not only the locality
51
5. THE LINK BETWEEN POLYNOMIAL TIME COMPUTATION AND
CONDITIONAL INDEPENDENCE 52
that is of interest to us, but the exact specification of the finitary nature of the
first order computation. We will see that what we need is that first order logic
can only exploit a bounded number of local properties. We will need both these
properties in our analysis.
Recall the notation and definitions from the previous chapter. We need some
definitions in order to state the results.
Definition 5.2. The Gaifman graph of a σ-structure A is denoted by G
A
and de-
fined as follows. The set of nodes of G
A
is A. There is an edge between two
nodes a
1
and a
2
in G
A
if there is a relation R in σ and a tuple t ∈ R
A
such that
both a
1
and a
2
appear in t.
With the graph defined, we have a notion of distance between elements a
i
, a
j
of A, denoted by d(a
i
, a
j
), as simply the length of the shortest path between a
i
and a
j
in G
A
. We extend this to a notion of distance between tuples from A as
follows. Let a = (a
1
, . . . , a
n
) and b = (b
1
, . . . , b
m
). Then
d
A
(a, b) = min¦d
A
(a
i
, b
j
): 1 ≤ i ≤ n, 1 ≤ j ≤ m¦.
There is no restriction on n and m above. In particular, the definition above
also applies to the case where either of them is equal to one. Namely, we have
the notion of distance between a tuple and a singleton element. We are now
ready to define neighborhoods of tuples. Recall that σ
n
is the expansion of σ by
n additional constants.
Definition 5.3. Let A be a σ-structure and let a be a tuple over A. The ball of
radius r around a is a set defined by
B
A
r
(a) = ¦b ∈ A: d
A
(a, b) ≤ r¦.
The r-neighborhood of a in Ais the σ
n
-structure N
A
r
(a) whose universe is B
A
r
(a);
each relation R is interpreted as R
A
restricted to B
A
r
(a); and the n additional
constants are interpreted as a
1
, . . . , a
n
.
We recall the notion of a type. Informally, if L is a logic (or language), the L-
type of a tuple is the sum total of the information that can be expressed about it
52
5. THE LINK BETWEEN POLYNOMIAL TIME COMPUTATION AND
CONDITIONAL INDEPENDENCE 53
in the language L. Thus, the first order type of a m-tuple in a structure is defined
as the set of all FO formulae having m free variables that are satisfied by the
tuple. Over finite structures, this notion is far too powerful since it characterizes
the structure (A, a) up to isomorphism. Amore useful notion is the local type of a
tuple. In particular, a neighborhood is a σ
n
-structure, and a type of a neighborhood
is an equivalence class of such structures up to isomorphism. Note that any
isomorphism between N
A
r
(a
1
, . . . , a
n
) and N
B
r
(b
1
, . . . , b
n
) must send a
i
to b
i
for
1 ≤ i ≤ n.
Definition 5.4. Notation as above. The local r-type of a tuple a in A is the type of
a in the substructure induced by the r-neighborhood of a in A, namely in N
A
r
(a).
In what follows, we may drop the superscript if the underlying structure is
clear. The following three notions of locality are used in stating the results.
Definition 5.5. 1. Formulas whose truth at a tuple a depends only on B
r
(a)
are called r-local. In other words, quantification in such formulas is re-
stricted to the structure N
r
(x).
2. Formulas that are r-local around their variables for some value of r are
said to be local.
3. Boolean combinations of formulas that are local around the various coor-
dinates x
i
of x are said to be basic local.
As mentioned earlier, there are two broad flavors of locality results in lit-
erature – those that follow from Hanf’s theorem, and those that follow from
Gaifman’s theorem. The first relates two different structures. [Han65] proved
his result for infinite structures. We provide below the locality result due to
[FSV95] that is suitable for finite models. To proceed, we need a definition.
Definition 5.6. Let A, Bbe σ-structures and let m ∈ N. If for every isomorphism
type τ of a r-neighborhood of a point, either
1. Both A and Bhave the same number of elements of type τ.
53
5. THE LINK BETWEEN POLYNOMIAL TIME COMPUTATION AND
CONDITIONAL INDEPENDENCE 54
2. Both A and Bhave more than m elements of type τ.
Then we say that A and Bare threshold (r, m)-equivalent.
Theorem 5.7 ([FSV95]). For each k, l > 0, there exist r, m > 0 such that if A and B
are threshold (r, m)-equivalent and every element has degree at most l, then they satisfy
the same first order formulae up to quantifier rank k, written A ≡
k
B. Furthermore, r
depends only on k.
We refer the reader to [FSV95] for a discussion comparing the Fagin-Stockmeyer-
Vardi theoremwith Hanf’s theoremin the context of applications to finite model
theory. In particular, neither theorem seems to imply the other.
The Hanf locality lemma for formulae having a single free variable has a
simple form and is an easy consequence of Thm. 5.7.
Lemma 5.8. Notation as above. Let ϕ(x) be a formula of quantifier depth q. Then there
is a radius r and threshold t such that if A and Bhave the same multiset of local types
up to threshold t, and the elements a ∈ A and b ∈ B have the same local type up to
radius r, then
A [= ϕ(a) ↔B[= ϕ(b).
See [Lin05] for an application to computing simple monadic fixed points on
structures of bounded degree in linear time.
Next we come to Gaifman’s version of locality.
Theorem 5.9 ([Gai82]). Every FO formula ϕ(x) over a relational vocabulary is equiv-
alent to a Boolean combination of
1. local formula around x, and
2. sentences of the form
∃x
1
, . . . , x
s

s

i=1
φ(x
i
) ∧

1≤i≤j≤s
d
>2r
(x
i
, x
j
)

,
where the φ are r-local.
54
5. THE LINK BETWEEN POLYNOMIAL TIME COMPUTATION AND
CONDITIONAL INDEPENDENCE 55
In words, for every first order formula, there is an r such that the truth of the
formula on a structure depends only on the number of elements having disjoint
r-neighborhoods that satisfy certain local formulas. This again expresses the
bounded number of local properties feature that limits first order logic.
The following normal form for first order logic that was developed in an
attempt to merge some of the ideas from Hanf and Gaifman locality.
Theorem 5.10 ([SB99]). Every first-order sentence is logically equivalent to one of the
form
∃x
1
∃x
l
∀yϕ(x, y),
where ϕ is local around y.
5.2 Simple Monadic LFP and Conditional Indepen-
dence
In this section, we exploit the limitations described in the previous section to
build conceptual bridges from least fixed point logic to the Markov-Gibbs pic-
ture of the preceding section. At first, this may seemto be an unlikely union. But
we will establish that there are fundamental conceptual relationships between
the directed Markovian picture and least fixed point computations. The key is
to see the constructions underlying least fixed point computations through the
lens of influence propagation and conditional independence. In this section,
we will demonstrate this relationship for the case of simple monadic least fixed
points. Namely, a FO(LFP) formula without any nesting or simultaneous induc-
tion, and where the LFP relation being constructed is monadic. In later sections,
we show how to deal with complex fixed points as well.
We wish to build a viewof fixed point computation as an information propa-
gation algorithm. In order to do so, let us examine the geometry of information
flow during an LFP computation. At stage zero of the fixed point computation,
none of the elements of the structure are in the relation being computed. At the
first stage, some subset of elements enters the relation. This changes the local
55
5. THE LINK BETWEEN POLYNOMIAL TIME COMPUTATION AND
CONDITIONAL INDEPENDENCE 56
neighborhoods of these elements, and the vertices that lie in these local neigh-
borhoods change their local type. Due to the global changes in the multiset of
local types, more elements in the structure become eligible for inclusion into the
relation at the next stage. This process continues, and the changes “propagate”
through the structure. Thus, the fundamental vehicle of this information propagation
is that a fixed point computation ϕ(R, x) changes local neighborhoods of elements at
each stage of the computation.
This propagation is
1. directed, and
2. relies on a bounded number of local neighborhoods at each stage.
In other words, we observe that
The influence of an element during LFP computation propagates in a simi-
lar manner to the influence of a random variable in a directed Markov field.
This correspondence is important to us. Let us try to uncover the under-
lying principles that cause it. The directed property comes from the positivity
of the first order formula that is being iterated. This ensures that once an ele-
ment is inserted into the relation that is being computed, it is never removed.
Thus, influence flows in the direction of the stages of the LFP computation. Fur-
thermore, this influence flow is local in the following sense: the influence of an
element can propagate throughout the structure, but only through its influence
on various local neighborhoods.
This correspondence is most striking in the case of bounded degree struc-
tures. In that case, we have only O(1) local types.
Lemma 5.11. On a graph of bounded degree, there is a fixed number of non-isomorphic
neighborhoods with radius r. Consequently, there are only a fixed number of local r-
types.
In order to determine whether an element in a structure satisfies a first order
formula we need (a) the multiset of local r-types in the structure (also known
56
5. THE LINK BETWEEN POLYNOMIAL TIME COMPUTATION AND
CONDITIONAL INDEPENDENCE 57
as its global type) for some value of r, and (b) the local type of the element.
Furthermore, by threshold Hanf, we only need to know the multiset of local
types up to a certain threshold.
For large enough structures, we will cross the Hanf threshold for the multi-
set of r-types. At this point, we will be making a decision of whether an element
enters the relation based solely on its local r-type. This type potentially changes
with each stage of the LFP. At the time when this change renders the element
eligible for entering the relation, it will do so. Once it enters the relation, it
changes the local r-type of all those elements which lie within a r-neighborhood
of it, and such changes render them eligible, and so on. This is how the compu-
tation proceeds, in a purely stage-wise local manner. This is a Markov property:
the influence of an element upon another must factor entirely through the local
neighborhood of the latter.
In the more general case where degrees are not bounded, we still have fac-
toring through local neighborhoods, except that we have to consider all the lo-
cal neighborhoods in the structure. However, here the bounded nature of FO
comes in. The FO formula that is being iterated can only express a property
about some bounded number of such local neighborhoods. For example, in
the Gaifman form, there are s distinguished disjoint neighborhoods that must
satisfy some local condition.
Remark 5.12. The same concept can be expressed in the language of sufficient
statistics. Namely, knowing some information about certain local neighbor-
hoods renders the rest of the information about variable values that have en-
tered the relation in previous stages of the graph superfluous. In particular,
Gaifman’s theorem says that for first order properties, there exists a sufficient
statistic that is gathered locally at a bounded number of elements. Knowing this statis-
tic gives us conditional independence from the values of other elements that
have already entered the relation previously, but not from elements that will
enter the relation subsequently. This is similar to the directed Markov picture
where there is conditional independence of any variable from non-descendants
given the value of the parents.
57
5. THE LINK BETWEEN POLYNOMIAL TIME COMPUTATION AND
CONDITIONAL INDEPENDENCE 58
X
1
X
n
X
n-1
Interacting variables, highly constrained by one another
LFP assumes conditional independence
after statistics are obtained
X
2
Conditional Independence and factorization over
a larger directed model called the ENSP
(developed in Chapter 7)
Φ
s
Φ
2
Φ
1
Φ
s-1
Bounded number of local
statistics at each stage
Figure 5.1: Range limited LFP computation process viewed as conditional inde-
pendencies.
58
5. THE LINK BETWEEN POLYNOMIAL TIME COMPUTATION AND
CONDITIONAL INDEPENDENCE 59
At this point, we have exhibited a correspondence between two apparently
very different formalisms. This correspondence is illustrated in Fig. 5.1.
59
5. THE LINK BETWEEN POLYNOMIAL TIME COMPUTATION AND
CONDITIONAL INDEPENDENCE 60
5.3 Conditional Independence in Complex Fixed Points
In the previous sections, we showed that the natural “factorization” of LFP into
first order logic, coupled with the bounded local property of first order logic can
be used to exhibit conditional independencies in the relation being computed.
But the argument we provided was for simple fixed points having one free
variable, namely, for monadic least fixed points. How can we show that this
picture is the same for complex fixed points? We accomplish this in stages.
1. First, we use the transitivity theorem for fixed point logic to move nested
fixed points into simultaneous fixed points without nesting.
2. Next, we use the simultaneous induction lemma for fixed point logic to
encode the relation to be computed as a “section” of a single LFP relation
of higher arity.
Steps 1 and 2 involve standard constructions in finite model theory, which we
recall in Appendix A.
At this point, we are now working with k-tuples, for a k fixed for all problem
sizes, instead of single elements. This will change the distance properties of the
resulting structure of k-tuples. Let us examine the case of a 2-ary relation that
is being computed. In this case, we have the following situation. Every pair
of elements occurs in the set of 2-tuples. This means that the neighborhood of
every pair is O(n), since for any element a of the structure, every other element
b, c, d, occurs in a pair along with a.
This means that when there is a change to a 2-tuple containing a, that change
affects the neighborhoods of O(n) other 2-tuples. At this point, we see that we
are in the situation of O(n) range interactions. The key point to note is that we
still have only poly(log n) parametrization. This is because even though the inter-
actions are of O(n) range, the computation terminates in poly(n) steps, giving
us a economical parametrization of the state space. Put another way, though the
interactions are indeed between O(n) elements at a time, they are severely value
limited, leading once again to poly(log n) parametrization. Recall the discussion
60
5. THE LINK BETWEEN POLYNOMIAL TIME COMPUTATION AND
CONDITIONAL INDEPENDENCE 61
of the two kinds of poly(log n) parameterizations (range limited and value lim-
ited) from Chapter 3. We will actually build a graphical model to give us the
parameterization in Chapter 8.
We also need to ensure that our original structure has a relation that allows
an order to be established on k-tuples. In particular, this does not pose a prob-
lem for encoding instances of k-SAT. The basic nature of information gathering
and processing in LFP does not change when the arity of the computation rises.
It merely adds the ability to gather polynomially more information at each stage
taken from O(n) variates at a time. But since the LFP terminates in polynomi-
ally many steps, the number of joint values taken by the system of n variables
is only 2
poly(log n)
. Although each element sees O(n) variates at each stage of the
LFP, it has the capability to utilize only poly(log n) amount of that information
in the following precise sense. A “true” joint distribution over n takes c
n
, c > 1
different values. It requires, therefore, O(c
n
) independent parameters to spec-
ify. This happens because the behavior of one variable is dependent on all n−1
others simultaneously. In cases of joint distributions of n covariates which take
only 2
poly(log n)
values, this can not be the case since the resulting distribution
can be parameterized far too economically.
Remark 5.13. We could work over a product structure where LFP captures the
class of polynomial time computable queries. In other words, we have to work
in a structure whose elements are k-tuples of our original structure. In this way,
a k-ary LFP over the original structure would be a monadic LFP over this struc-
ture. The O(n) nature of interactions remains, but again the parametrization is
only poly(log n).
Note that there are elegant ways to work with the space of equivalence
classes of k-tuples with equivalence under first order logic with k-variables.
For instance, one can consider a construction known as the canonical structure
due originally to [DLW95] who used it to provide a model theoretic proof of
the important theorem in [AV95] that P = PSPACE if and only if LFP = PFP.
Note that this is for all structures, not just for ordered structures.
The issue one faces is that there is a linear order on the canonical structure,
61
5. THE LINK BETWEEN POLYNOMIAL TIME COMPUTATION AND
CONDITIONAL INDEPENDENCE 62
which renders the Gaifman graph trivial (totally connected). See [Lib04, '11.5]
for more details on canonical structures. The simple scheme described above
suffices for our purposes.
Remark 5.14. Though the Immerman-Vardi theoremis usually stated for ordered
structures, it holds for structures equipped with a successor relation (and no lin-
ear ordering). See [LR03, '11.2, p. 204] where the result is stated for successor
structures. The benefit of equipping our structures only with a successor struc-
ture is that the Gaifman graph remains non-trivial.
5.4 Aggregate Properties of LFP over Ensembles
We have shown that any polynomial time computation will update its relation
according to a certain Markov type property on the space of k-types of the un-
derlying structure, after extracting a statistic from the local neighborhoods of
the underlying structure. Thus far, there is no probabilistic picture, or a distri-
bution that we can analyze. We are only describing a fully deterministic com-
putation.
The distribution we seek will arise when we examine the aggregate behav-
ior of LFP over ensembles of structures that come from ensembles of constraint
satisfaction problems (CSPs) such as random k-SAT. When we examine the
properties in the aggregate of LFP running over ensembles, we will find the
following.
The “bounded number of local” property of each stage of monadic LFP
computation manifests as conditional independencies in the distribution,
making the distribution of solutions poly(log n)-parametrizable. Likewise,
value limited interactions in higher arity LFP computations also lead to
distribution of solutions that are poly(log n)-parametrizable.
This gives us the setting where we can exploit the full machinery of graphical
models of Chapter 2.
62
5. THE LINK BETWEEN POLYNOMIAL TIME COMPUTATION AND
CONDITIONAL INDEPENDENCE 63
Before we examine the distributions arising from LFP acting on ensembles
of structures, we will bring in ideas from statistical physics into the proof. We
begin this in the next chapter.
63
6. The 1RSB Ansatz of Statistical
Physics
6.1 Ensembles and Phase Transitions
The study of random ensembles of various constraint satisfaction problems
(CSPs) is over two decades old, dating back at least to [CF86]. While a given
CSP — say, 3-SAT— might be NP-complete, many instances of the CSP might
be quite easy to solve, even using fairly simple algorithms. Furthermore, such
“easy” instances lay in certain well defined regimes of the CSP, while “harder”
instances lay in clearly separated regimes. Thus, researchers were motivated to
study randomly generated ensembles of CSPs having certain parameters that
would specify which regime the instances of the ensemble belonged to. We will
see this behavior in some detail for the specific case of the ensemble known as
random k-SAT.
An instance of k-SAT is a propositional formula in conjunctive normal form
Φ = C
1
∧ C
2
∧ ∧ C
m
having m clauses C
i
, each of whom is a disjunction of k literals taken from n
variables ¦x
1
, . . . , x
n
¦. The decision problem of whether a satisfying assignment
to the variables exists is NP-complete for k ≥ 3. The ensemble known as ran-
dom k-SAT consists of instances of k-SAT generated randomly as follows. An
instance is generated by drawing each of the m clauses ¦C
1
, . . . , C
m
¦ uniformly
from the 2
k

n
k

possible clauses having k variables. The entire ensemble of ran-
dom k-SAT having m clauses over n literals will be denoted by SAT
k
(n, m),
64
6. THE 1RSB ANSATZ OF STATISTICAL PHYSICS 65
and a single instance of this ensemble will be denoted by Φ
k
(n, m). The clause
density, denoted by α and defined as α := m/n is the single most important
parameter that controls the geometry of the solution space of random k-SAT.
Thus, we will mostly be interested in the case where every formula in the en-
semble has clause density α. We will denote this ensemble by SAT
k
(n, α), and
an individual formula in it by Φ
k
(n, α).
Random CSPs such as k-SAT have attracted the attention of physicists be-
cause they model disordered systems such as spin glasses where the Ising spin of
each particle is a binary variable (”up” or “down”) and must satisfy some con-
straints that are expressed in terms of the spins of other particles. The energy of
such a system can then be measured by the number of unsatisfied clauses of a
certain k-SAT instance, where the clauses of the formula model the constraints
upon the spins. The case of zero energy then corresponds to a solution to the
k-SAT instance. The following formulation is due to [MZ97]. First we trans-
late the Boolean variables x
i
to Ising variables S
i
in the standard way, namely
S
i
= −(−1)
x
i
. Then we introduce new variables C
li
as follows. The variable C
li
is equal to 1 if the clause C
l
contains x
i
, it is −1 if the clause contains x
i
, and is
zero if neither appears in the clause. In this way, the sum
¸
n
i=1
C
li
S
i
measures
the satisfiability of clause C
l
. Specifically, if
¸
n
i=1
C
li
S
i
− k > 0, the clause is
satisfied by the Ising variables. The energy of the system is then measured by
the Hamiltonian
H =
m
¸
i=1
δ(
n
¸
i=1
C
li
S
i
, −K).
Here δ(i, j) is the Kronecker delta. Thus, satisfaction of the k-SAT instance
translates to vanishing of this Hamiltonian. Statistical mechanics then offers
techniques such as replica symmetry, to analyze the macroscopic properties of
this ensemble.
Also very interesting from the physicist’s point of view is the presence of a
sharp phase transition [CKT91, MSL92] (see also [KS94]) between satisfiable and
unsatisfiable regimes of random k-SAT. Namely, empirical evidence suggested
that the properties of this ensemble undergoes a clearly defined transition when
the clause density is varied. This transition is conjectured to be as follows. For
65
6. THE 1RSB ANSATZ OF STATISTICAL PHYSICS 66
each value of k, there exists a transition threshold α
c
(k) such that with proba-
bility approaching 1 as n → ∞(called the Thermodynamic limit by physicists),
• if α < α
c
(k), an instance of random k-SAT is satisfiable. Hence this region
is called the SAT phase.
• If α > α
c
(k), an instance of random k-SAT is unsatisfiable. This region is
known as the unSAT phase.
There has been intense research attention on determining the numerical value
of the threshold between the SAT and unSAT phases as a function of k. [Fri99]
provides a sharp but non-uniform construction (namely, the value α
c
is a func-
tion of the problem size, and is conjectured to converge as n → ∞). Functional
upper bounds have been obtained using the first moment method [MA02] and
improved using the second moment method [AP04] that improves as k gets
larger.
6.2 The d1RSB Phase
More recently, another thread on this crossroad has originated once again from
statistical physics and is most germane to our perspective. This is the work in
the progression [MZ97], [BMW00], [MZ02], and [MPZ02] that studies the evo-
lution of the solution space of randomk-SAT as the constraint density increases
towards the transition threshold. In these papers, physicists have conjectured
that there is a second threshold that divides the SAT phase into two — an “easy”
SAT phase, and a “hard” SAT phase. In both phases, there is a solution with
high probability, but while in the easy phase one giant connected cluster of
solutions contains almost all the solutions, in the hard phase this giant clus-
ter shatters into exponentially many communities that are far apart from each
other in terms of least Hamming distance between solutions that lie in distinct
communities. Furthermore, these communities shrink and recede maximally
far apart as the constraint density is increased towards the SAT-unSAT thresh-
old. As this threshold is crossed, they vanish altogether.
66
6. THE 1RSB ANSATZ OF STATISTICAL PHYSICS 67
As the clause density is increased, a picture known as the “1RSB hypothesis”
emerges that is illustrated in Fig. 6.1, and described below.
RS For α < α
d
, a problem has many solutions, but they all form one giant
cluster within which going from one solution to another involves flipping
only a finite (bounded) set of variables. This is the replica symmetric phase.
d1RSB At some value of α = α
d
which is below α
c
, it has been observed that
the space of solutions splits up into “communities” of solutions such that
solutions within a community are close to one another, but are far away
from the solutions in any other community. This effect is known as shat-
tering [ACO08]. Within a community, flipping a bounded finite number
of variable assignments on one satisfying takes one to another satisfying
assignment. But to go from one satisfying assignment in one community
to a satisfying assignment in another, one has to flip a fraction of the set
of variables and therefore encounters what physicists would consider an
“energy barrier” between states. This is the dynamical one step replica sym-
metry breaking phase.
unSAT Above the SAT-unSAT threshold, the formulas of random k-SAT are
unsatisfiable with high probability.
Using statistical physics methods, [KMRT
+
07] obtained another phase that
lies between d1RSB and unSAT. In this phase, known as 1RSB (one step replica
symmetry breaking), there is a “condensation” of the solution space into a sub-
exponential number of clusters, and the sizes of these clusters go to zero as the
transition occurs, after which there are no more solutions. This phase has not
been proven rigorously thus far to our knowledge and we will not revisit it in
this work.
The 1RSB hypothesis has been proven rigorously for high values of k. Specif-
ically, the existence of the d1RSB phase has been proven rigorously for the case
of k > 8, starting with [MMZ05] (see also [DMMZ08]) who showed the exis-
tence of clusters in a certain region of the SAT phase using first moment meth-
ods. Later, [ART06] rigorously proved that there exist exponentially many clus-
67
6. THE 1RSB ANSATZ OF STATISTICAL PHYSICS 68
ters in the d1RSB phase and showed that within any cluster, the fraction of
variables that take the same value in the entire cluster (the so-called frozen vari-
ables) goes to one as the SAT-unSAT threshold is approached. Further [ACO08]
obtained analytical expressions for the threshold at which the solution space of
random k-SAT (as also two other CSPs — random graph coloring and random
hypergraph 2-colorability) shatters, as well as confirmed the O(n) Hamming
separation between clusters.
α
d
α
c α
Figure 6.1: The clustering of solutions just before the SAT-unSAT threshold.
Below α
d
, the space of solution is largely connected. Between α
d
and α
c
, the
solutions break up into exponentially many communities. Above α
c
, there are
no more solutions, which is indicated by the unfilled circle.
In summary, in the region of constraint density α ∈ [α
d
, α
c
], the solution
space is comprised of exponentially many communities of solutions which re-
quire a fraction of the variable assignments to be flipped in order to move be-
tween each other.
6.2.1 Cores and Frozen Variables
In this section, we reproduce results about the distribution of variable assign-
ments within each cluster of the d1RSB phase from [MMW07], [ART06], and
[ACO08].
We first need the notion of the core of a cluster. Given any solution in a clus-
ter, one may obtain the core of the cluster by “peeling away” variable assign-
ments that, loosely speaking occur only in clauses that are satisfied by other
68
6. THE 1RSB ANSATZ OF STATISTICAL PHYSICS 69
variable assignments. This process leads to the core of the cluster.
To get a formal definition, first we define a partial assignment of a set of vari-
ables (x
1
, . . . , x
n
) as an assignment of each variable to a value in ¦0, 1, ∗¦. The
∗ assignment is akin to a “joker state” which can take whichever value is most
useful in order to satisfy the k-SAT formula.
Next, we say that a variable in a partial assignment is free when each clause
it occurs in has at least one other variable that satisfies the clause, or has as
assignment to ∗.
Finally, to obtain the core of a cluster, we repeat the following starting with
any solution in the cluster: if a variable is free, assign it a ∗.
This process will eventually lead to a fixed point, and that is the core of the
cluster. We may easily see that the core is not dependent upon the choice of the
initial solution.
What does the core of a cluster look like? Recall that the core is itself a
partial assignment, with each variable being assigned a 0, 1 or a ∗. Of obvious
interest are those variables that are assigned 0 or 1. These variables are said to be
frozen. Note that since the core can be arrived at starting from any choice of an
initial solution in the cluster, it follows that frozen variables take the same value
throughout the cluster. For example, if the variable x
i
takes value 1 in the core
of a cluster, then every solution lying in the cluster has x
i
assigned the value
1. The non-frozen variables are those that are assigned the value ∗ in the core.
These take both values 0 and 1 in the cluster. Clearly the number of ∗ variables
is a measure of the internal entropy (and therefore the size) of a cluster since it
is only these variables whose values vary within the cluster.
Apriori, we have no way to tell that the core will not be the all ∗ partial
assignment. Namely, we do not know whether there are any frozen variables at
all. However, [ART06] proved that for high enough values of k, with probability
going to 1 in the thermodynamic limit, almost every variable in a core is frozen
as we increase the clause density towards the SAT-unSAT threshold.
Theorem 6.1 ([ART06]). For every r ∈ [0,
1
2
] there is a constant k
r
such that for all
k ≥ k
r
, there exists a clause density α(k, r) < α
c
such that for all α ∈ [α(k, r), α
c
],
69
6. THE 1RSB ANSATZ OF STATISTICAL PHYSICS 70
asymptotically almost surely
1. every cluster of solutions of Φ
k
(n, αn) has at least (1 −r)n frozen variables,
2. fewer than rn variables take the value ∗.
This gives us the corollary.
Corollary 6.2 ([ART06]). For every k ≥ 9, there exist α < α
c
(k) such that with high
probability, every cluster of the solution space of Φ
k
(n, αn) has frozen variables.
Note that this picture is known to hold only for k ≥ 9 and is an open question
for k < 9. See also the remark at the end of this section.
We end this section with a physical picture of what forms a core. If a formula
Φ has a core with C clauses, then these clauses must have literals that come
from a set of at most C variables. By bounding the probability of this event,
[MMW07] obtained a lower bound on the size of cores. The bound is linear,
which means that when non-trivial cores do exist ( [ART06] proved their exis-
tence for k ≥ 9), they must involve a fraction of all the variables in the formula.
In other words, a core may be thought of as the onset of a large single interaction
of degree O(n) among the variables. Furthermore, this core is instantiated am-
ply in the solution space (by that we mean it takes exponentially many values
in those many clusters of the d1RSB phase). As the reader may imagine after
reading the previous chapters, this sort of interaction cannot be dealt with by
LFP algorithms. We will need more work to make this precise, but informally
cores are too large to pass through the bottlenecks that the stage-wise first order
LFP algorithms create.
This may also be interpreted as follows. Algorithms based on LFP can tackle
long range interactions between variables, but only when they can be factored
into interactions of degree poly(log n) or are value limited. But the appearance
of cores is equivalent to the onset of O(n) degree interactions which cannot be
further factored into poly(log n) degree interactions, and are ample. Such am-
ple irreducible O(n) interactions, caused by increasing the clause density suffi-
ciently, cannot be dealt with using an LFP algorithm.
70
6. THE 1RSB ANSATZ OF STATISTICAL PHYSICS 71
We have already noted that this is because LFP algorithms factor through
first order computations, and in a first order computation, the decision of whether
an element is to enter the relation being computed is based on information col-
lected from local neighborhoods and combined in a bounded fashion. This bot-
tleneck is too small for a core to factor through in range limited LFP. The am-
pleness precludes value limited interactions also as we shall see. The precise
statement of this intuitive picture will be provided in the next chapter when we
build our conditional independence hierarchies.
The freezing of variables in cores is known to happen only for k ≥ 9
[ART06]. It remains open for k < 8. Indeed, for low values of k such
as k = 2, 3, there is empirical evidence that this phenomenon does not
take place [MMW05], also see the discussion in [ART06, '1]. Hence, our
separation of complexity classes needs the regime of k ≥ 9.
6.2.2 Performance of Known Algorithms in the d1RSB Phase
We end this chapter with a brief overview of the performance of known algo-
rithms as a function of the clause density, and pointers to more detailed surveys.
Beginning with [CKT91] and [MSL92], there has been an understanding that
hard instances of random k-SAT tend to occur when the constraint density α
is near the transition threshold, and that this behavior was similar to phase tran-
sitions in spin glasses [KS94]. Now that we have surveyed the known results
about the geometry of the space of solutions in this region, we turn to the ques-
tion of how the two are related.
It has been empirically observed that the onset of the d1RSB transition seems
to coincide with the constraint density where traditional solvers tend to exhibit
exponential slowdown; see [ACO08] and [CO09]. See also [CO09] for the best
current algorithm along with a comparison of various other algorithms to it.
Thus, while both regimes in SAT have solutions with high probability, the ease
of finding a solution differs quite dramatically on traditional SAT solvers due to
a clustering of the solution space into numerous communities that are far apart
71
6. THE 1RSB ANSATZ OF STATISTICAL PHYSICS 72
from each other in terms of Hamming distance. In particular, for clause den-
sities above O(2
k
/k), no algorithms are known to produce solutions in polyno-
mial time with probability Ω(1) — neither on the basis of rigorous or empirical
analysis, or any other evidence [CO09]. Compare this to the SAT-unSAT thresh-
old, which is asymptotically 2
k
ln 2. Thus, well below the SAT-unSAT threshold,
in regimes where we know solutions exist, we are currently unable to find them
in polynomial time. Our work will explain that indeed, this is fundamentally
a limitation of polynomial time algorithms. Specifically, in such phases (for
k ≥ 9), the solution space geometry is not expressible as a mixture of range
or value limited poly(log n)-parametrizable pieces. This is because in the d1RSB
phase, the distribution of solutions is both irreducibly correlated at ranges O(n),
and ample, precluding both range and value limited parametrizations.
Please see [CO09] for the best known algorithm that does solve SAT in-
stances with non-vanishing probability for densities up to 2
k
ω(k)/k for any
sequence ω(k) → ∞. See [ACO08] for proofs that the clause density where
all known polynomial time algorithms fail on NP-complete problems such as
k-SAT and graph coloring coincides with the onset of the d1RSB phase in these
problems. This clause density threshold for the onset of the d1RSB phase is
2
k
/k ln k [ACO08]. The earlier [ART06] had established the existence of shatter-
ing and freezing of variables within cores for α = Θ(2
k
).
The significance of the value of k By the results of [ART06] and [ACO08, '2.1,
Rem. 2], we are guaranteed the presence of the full d1RSB phenomena only for k ≥ 9
and clause density above (2
k
/k) ln k.
Hence, for our separation of complexity classes, we will work with ran-
dom k-SAT in the k ≥ 9 regime, and the clause density sufficiently high so
that we are in the d1RSB phase. We will require all known properties of the
d1RSB phase — namely, the exponentially many clusters, the freezing of vari-
ables within clusters, and the O(n) variable changes required to move from one
cluster to another. These properties are not known to hold except for k ≥ 9 and
clause densities above (2
k
/k) ln k.
72
6. THE 1RSB ANSATZ OF STATISTICAL PHYSICS 73
It should be noted that there is empirical evidence that the d1RSB phase is
not present in random 3-SAT in the following sense. The cores in the clusters
of random 3-SAT are trivial. By that we mean that they tend to be the all ∗ core,
unlike k ≥ 9 where [ART06] show the existence of nontrivial cores for almost
all clusters after the d1RSB threshold.
We should also point out that the experimental behavior of algorithms for
k-SAT is largely characterized for lower values of k = 2, 3, 4, where the full
d1RSB picture is not known to hold. For instance, the experimental behavior
of algorithms reported in [MRTS07] is on random 4-SAT. See also [KMRT
+
06],
where experiments are reported on 4-SAT. We are not aware of experimental
work done that shows the efficacy (even under mild requirements) of any algo-
rithm on k ≥ 9 after the onset of the d1RSB phase with nontrivial cores.
Incomplete algorithms are a class that do not always find a solution when
it exists, nor do they indicate the lack of solution except to the extent that
they were unable to find one. Incomplete algorithms are obviously very im-
portant for hard regimes of constraint satisfaction problems since we do not
have complete algorithms in these regimes that have economical running times.
More recently, a breakthrough for incomplete algorithms in this field came with
[MPZ02] who used the cavity method from spin glass theory to construct an
algorithm named survey propagation that does very well on instances of random
k-SAT with constraint density above the aforementioned clustering threshold,
and continues to perform well very close to the threshold α
c
for low values of
k. Survey propagation seems to scale as nlog n in this region. The algorithm
uses the 1RSB hypothesis about the clustering of the solution space into numer-
ous communities. The original work reported in [MPZ02] was on 3-SAT. The
behavior of survey propagation for higher values of k is still being researched.
73
7. Random Graph Ensembles
We will use factor graphs as a convenient means to encode various properties
of the random k-SAT ensemble. In this section we introduce the factor graph
ensembles that represent random k-SAT. Our treatment of this section follows
[MM09, Chapter 9].
Definition 7.1. The randomk-factor graph ensemble, denoted by G
k
(n, m), consists
of graphs having n variable nodes and mfunction nodes constructed as follows.
A graph in the ensemble is constructed by picking, for each of the m function
nodes in the graph, a k-tuple of variables uniformly from the

n
k

possibilities
for such a k-tuple chosen from n variables.
Graphs constructed in this manner may have two function nodes connected
to the same k-tuple of variables. In this ensemble, function nodes all have de-
gree k, while the degree of the variable nodes is a random variable with expec-
tation km/n.
Definition 7.2. The random(k, α)-factor graph ensemble, denoted by G
k
(n, α), con-
sists of graphs constructed as follows. For each of the

n
k

k-tuples of variables,
a function node that connects to only these k variables is added to the graph
with probability αn/

n
k

.
In this ensemble, the number of function nodes is a random variable with
expectation αn, and the degree of variable nodes is a random variable with
expectation αk.
We will be interested in the case of the thermodynamic limit of n, m → ∞
with the ratio α := m/n being held constant. In this case, both the ensembles
converge in the properties that are important to us, and both can be seen as the
74
7. RANDOM GRAPH ENSEMBLES 75
underlying factor graph ensembles to our random k-SAT ensemble SAT
k
(n, α)
(see Chapter 6 for definitions and our notation for random k-SAT ensembles).
With the definitions in place, we are ready to describe two properties of
random graph ensembles that are pertinent to our problem.
7.1 Properties of Factor Graph Ensembles
The first property provides us with intuition on why algorithms find it so hard
to put together local information to form a global perspective in CSPs.
7.1.1 Locally Tree-Like Property
We have seen in Chapter 5 that the propagation of influence of variables during
a LFP computation is stagewise-local. This is really the fundamental limitation
of LFP that we seek to exploit. In order to understand why this is a limitation,
we need to examine what local neighborhoods of the factor graphs underly-
ing NP-complete problems like k-SAT look like in hard phases such as d1RSB.
In such phases, there are many extensive (meaning O(n)) correlations between
variables that arise due to loops of sizes O(log n) and above.
However, remarkably, such graphs are locally trivial. By that we mean that
there are no cycles in a O(1) sized neighborhood of any vertex as the size of the
graph goes to infinity [MM09, '9.5]. One may demonstrate this for the Erdos-
Renyi random graph as follows. Here, there are n vertices, and there is an edge
between any two with probability c/n where c is a constant that parametrizes
the density of the graph. Edges are “drawn” uniformly and independently of
each other. Consider the probability of a certain graph (V, E) occurring as a
subgraph of the Erdos-Renyi graph. Such a graph can occur in

n
|V |

positions.
At each position, the probability of the graph structure occurring is
p
|E|
(1 −p)
|V |
2
−|E|
.
Applying Stirling’s approximations, we see that such a graph occurs asymptot-
ically O([V [ − [E[) times. If the graph is connected, [V [ ≤ [E[ − 1 with equality
75
7. RANDOM GRAPH ENSEMBLES 76
only for trees. Thus, in the limit of n → ∞, finite connected graphs have van-
ishing probability of occurring in finite neighborhoods of any element.
In short, if only local neighborhoods are examined, the two ensembles G
k
(n, m)
and T
k
(n, m) are indistinguishable from each other.
Theorem 7.3. Let G be a randomly chosen graph in the ensemble G
k
(n, m), and i
be a uniformly chosen node in G. Then the r-neighborhood of i in G converges in
distribution to T
k
(n, m) as n → ∞.
Let us see what this means in terms of the information such graphs divulge
locally. The simplest local property is degrees of elements. These are, of course,
available through local inspection. The next would be small connected sub-
graphs (triangles, for instance). But even this next step is not available. In
other words, such random graphs do not provide any of their global proper-
ties through local inspection at each element.
Let us think about what this implies. We know from the onset of cores and
frozen variables in the 1dRSB phase of k-SAT that there are strong correlations
between blocks of variables of size O(n) in that phase. However, these loops
are invisible when we inspect local neighborhoods of a fixed finite size, as the
problem size grows.
7.1.2 Degree Profiles in Random Graphs
The degree of a variable node in the ensemble G
k
(n, m) is a random variable.
We wish to understand the distribution of this random variable. The expected
value of the fraction of variables in G
k
(n, m) having degree d is the same as the
expected value that a single variable node has degree d, both being equal to
P(deg v
i
= d) =

m
d

p
k
(1 −p)
m−d
where p =
k
d
.
In the large graph limit we get
lim
n→∞
P(deg v
i
= d) = e
−kα
(kα)
d
n !
.
76
7. RANDOM GRAPH ENSEMBLES 77
In other words, the degree is asymptotically a Poisson random variable.
A corollary is that the maximum degree of a variable node is almost surely
less than O(log n) in the large graph case.
Lemma 7.4. The maximum variable node degree in G
k
(n, m) is asymptotically almost
surely O(log n). In particular, it asymptotically almost surely satisfies the following
d
max
kαe
=
z
log(z/ log z)
¸
1 + Θ

log log z
(log z)
2

. (7.1)
where z = (log n)/kαe.
Proof. See [MM09, p. 184] for a discussion of this upper bound, as well as a
lower bound.
77
8. Separation of Complexity Classes
We have built a framework that connects ideas from graphical models, logic,
statistical mechanics, and random graphs. We are now ready to begin our final
constructions that will yield the separation of complexity classes.
We have described the fundamental similarity between range limited and
value limited distributions in Chapter 3. Both are hampered by the same un-
derlying property — that inspite of being distributions on n covariates, they
can be specified with only 2
poly(log n)
parameters. In our terminology, they are
both poly(log n)-parametrizable. Informally, this means that their joint distribu-
tion behaves like the joint distribution of only poly(log n) covariates instead of
n covariates.
In light of the above, we first consider the case of range limited poly(log n)-
parametrizations. We return to value limited poly(log n)-parametrizations just
before the final separation of complexity classes in Section 8.5.
8.1 Measuring Conditional Independence in Range
Limited Models
Our central concern with respect to range limited models is to understand which
variable interactions in a system are irreducible — namely, those that cannot be
expressed in terms of interactions between smaller sets of variables with con-
ditional independencies between them. Such irreducible interactions can be
2-interactions (between pairs), 3-interactions (between triples), and so on, up to
n-interactions between all n variables simultaneously.
A joint distribution encodes the interaction of a system of n variables. What
78
8. SEPARATION OF COMPLEXITY CLASSES 79
would happen if all the direct interactions between variables in the system were
all of less than a certain finite range k, with k < n? In such a case, the “joint-
ness” of the covariates really would lie at a lower “level” than n. We would like
to measure the “level” of conditional independence in a system of interacting
variables by inspecting their joint distribution. At level zero of this “hierarchy”,
the covariates should be independent of each other. At level n, they are coupled
together n at a time, without the possibility of being decoupled. In this way,
we can make statements about how deeply entrenched the conditional inde-
pendence between the covariates is, or dually, about how large the set of direct
interactions between variables is.
Remark 8.1. Similarly, if the variables did interact n at a time, but took only
2
poly(log n)
joint values, the “jointness” of the distribution would lie at a lower
level than n. In both cases above, as stated in Chapter 3, the n covariates do not
display the behavior of a typical joint distribution of n variables. Instead, they
behave in ways similar to a set of poly(log n) covariates.
When the largest irreducible interactions are k-interactions, the distribution
can be parametrized with n2
k
independent parameters. Thus, in families of dis-
tributions where the irreducible interactions are of fixed size, the independent
parameter space grows polynomially with n, whereas in a general distribution
without any conditional independencies, it grows exponentially with n. The
case of monadic LFP lies in between — the interactions are not of fixed size, but
they grow relatively slowly. The case of complex LFP is also one of poly(log n)-
parametrization, except it is a value-limited O(n) interaction model.
There are some technical issues with constructing such a hierarchy to mea-
sure conditional independence. The first issue would be how to measure the
level of a distribution in this hierarchy. If, for instance, the distribution has a
directed {-map, then we could measure the size of the largest clique that ap-
pears in its moralized graph. However, as noted in Sec. 2.5, not all distributions
have such maps. We may, of course, upper and lower bound the level using
minimal T-maps and maximal T-maps for the distribution. In the case of or-
dered graphs, we should note that there may be different minimal T-maps for
79
8. SEPARATION OF COMPLEXITY CLASSES 80
the same distribution for different orderings of the variables. See [KF09, p. 80]
for an example.
The insight that allows us to resolve the issue is as follows. If we could
somehow embed the distribution of solutions generated by LFP into a larger dis-
tribution, such that
1. the larger distribution factorized recursively according to some directed
graphical model, and
2. the larger distribution had only polynomially many more variates than
the original one,
then we would have obtained a parametrization of our distribution that would
reflect the factorization of the larger distribution, and would cost us only poly-
nomially more, which does not affect us.
By pursuing the above course, we aim to demonstrate that distributions of
solutions generated by LFP lie at a lower level of conditional independence than
distributions that occur in the d1RSB phase of random k-SAT. Consequently,
they have more economical parametrizations than the space of solutions in the
d1RSB phase does.
We will return to the task of constructing such an embedding in Sec. 8.3.
First we describe how we use LFP to create a distribution of solutions.
8.2 Generating Distributions from LFP
We will describe the method of generating distributions and showing economic
parametrizations by embedding the covariates into a larger directed graphical
model below for monadic LFP. We will indicate the differences for complex
LFP.
8.2.1 Encoding k-SAT into Structures
In order to use the framework from Chapters 4 and 5, we will encode k-SAT
formulae as structures over a fixed vocabulary.
80
8. SEPARATION OF COMPLEXITY CLASSES 81
Our vocabularies are relational, and so we need only specify the set of rela-
tions, and the set of constants. We will use three relations.
1. The first relation R
C
will encode the clauses that a SAT formula comprises.
Since we are studying ensembles of random k-SAT, this relation will have
arity k.
2. We need a relation in order to make FO(LFP) capture polynomial time
queries on the class of k-SAT structures. We will not introduce a linear
ordering since that would make the Gaifman graph a clique. Rather we
will include a relation such that FO(LFP) can capture all the polynomial
time queries on the structure. This will be a binary relation R
E
.
3. Lastly, we need a relation R
P
to hold “partial assignments” to the SAT
formulae. We will describe these in the Sec. 8.2.3.
4. We do not require constants.
This describes our vocabulary
σ = ¦R
C
, R
E
, R
P
¦.
Next, we come to the universe. A SAT formula is defined over n variables,
but they can come either in positive or negative form. Thus, our universe will
have 2n elements corresponding to the variables x
1
, . . . , x
n
, x
1
, . . . , x
n
. In or-
der to avoid new notation, we will simply use the same notation to indicate the
corresponding element in the universe. We denote by lower case x
i
the literals
of the formula, while the corresponding upper case X
i
denotes the correspond-
ing variable in a model.
Finally, we need to interpret our relations in our universe. We dispense with
the superscripts since the underlying structure is clear. The relation R
C
will
consist of k-tuples from the universe interpreted as clauses consisting of dis-
junctions between the variables in the tuple. The relation R
E
will be interpreted
as an “edge” between successive variables. The relation R
P
will be a partial
assignment of values to the underlying variables.
81
8. SEPARATION OF COMPLEXITY CLASSES 82
Now we encode our k-SAT formulae into σ-structures in the natural way.
For example, for k = 3, the clause x
1
∨ x
2
∨ x
3
in the SAT formula will be
encoded by inserting the tuple (x
1
, x
2
, x
3
) in the relation R
C
. Similarly, the
pairs (x
i
, x
i+1
) and (x
i
, x
i+1
), both for 1 ≤ i < n, as well as the pair (x
n
, x
1
)
will be in the relation R
E
. This chains together the elements of the structure.
The reason for the relation R
E
that creates the chain is that on such struc-
tures, polynomial time queries are captured by FO(LFP) [EF06, '11.2]. This is
a technicality. Recall that an order on the structure enables the LFP computa-
tion (or the Turing machine the runs this computation) to represent tuples in
a lexicographical ordering. In our problem of k-SAT, it plays no further role.
Specifically, the assignments to the variables that are computed by the LFP have
nothing to do with their order. They depend only on the relation R
C
which en-
codes the clauses and the relation R
P
that holds the initial partial assignment
that we are going to ask the LFP to extend. In other words, each stage of the
LFP is order-invariant. It is known that the class of order invariant queries is also
Gaifman local [GS00]. However to allow LFP to capture polynomial time on the
class of encodings, we need to give the LFP something it can use to create an
ordering. We could encode our structures with a linear order, but that would
make the Gaifman graph fully connected. What we want is something weaker,
that still suffices. Thus, we encode our structures as successor-type structures
through the relation R
E
. This seems most natural, since it imparts on the struc-
ture an ordering based on that of the variables. Note also that SAT problems
may also be represented as matrices (rows for clauses, columns for variables
that appear in them), which have a well defined notion of order on them.
Ensembles of k-SAT Let us now create ensembles of σ-structures using the
encoding described above. We will start with the ensemble SAT
k
(n, α) and
encode each k-SAT instance as a σ-structure. The resulting ensemble will be
denoted by S
k
(n, α). The encoding of the problem Φ
k
(n, α) as a σ-structure will
be denoted by P
k
(n, α).
82
8. SEPARATION OF COMPLEXITY CLASSES 83
8.2.2 The LFP Neighborhood System
In this section, we wish to describe the neighborhood system that underlies the
monadic LFP computations on structures of S
k
(n, α). We begin with the factor
graph, and build the neighborhood system through the Gaifman graph.
Let us recall the factor graph ensemble G
k
(n, m). Each graph in this ensem-
ble encodes an instance of random k-SAT. We encode the k-SAT instance as
a structure as described in the previous section. Next, we build the Gaifman
graph of each such structure. The set of vertices of the Gaifman graph are sim-
ply the set of variable nodes in the factor graph and their negations since we
are using both variables and their negations for convenience (this is simply an
implementation detail). For instance, the Gaifman graph for the factor graph of
Fig 2.2 will have 12 vertices. Two vertices are joined by an edge in the Gaifman
graph either when the two corresponding variable nodes were joined to a single
function node (i.e., appeared in a single clause) of the factor graph or if they are
adjacent to each other in the chain that relation R
E
has created on the structure.
On this Gaifman graph, the simple monadic LFP computation induces a
neighborhood system described as follows. The sites of the neighborhood sys-
temare the variable nodes. The neighborhood A
s
of a site s is the set of all nodes
that lie in the r-neighborhood of a site, where r is the locality rank of the first
order formula ϕ whose fixed point is being constructed by the LFP computation.
Finally, we make the neighborhood system into a graph in the standard way.
Namely, the vertices of the graph will be the set of sites. Each site s will be con-
nected by an edge to every other site in A
s
. This graph will be called the interac-
tion graph of the LFP computation. The ensemble of such graphs, parametrized
by the clause density α, will be denoted by I
k
(n, α).
Note that this interaction graph has many more edges in general than the
Gaifman graph. In particular, every node that was within the locality rank
neighborhood of the Gaifman graph is now connected to it by a single edge.
The resulting graph is, therefore, far more dense than the Gaifman graph.
What is the size of cliques in this interaction graph? This is not the same as
the size of cliques in the factor graph, or the Gaifman graph, because the density
83
8. SEPARATION OF COMPLEXITY CLASSES 84
of the graph is higher. The size of the largest clique is a random variable. What
we want is an asymptotic almost sure (by this we mean with probability tending
to 1 in the thermodynamic limit) upper bound on the size of the cliques in the
distribution of the ensemble I
k
(n, α).
Note: From here on, all the statements we make about ensembles should be under-
stood to hold asymptotically almost surely in the respective random ensembles. By that
we mean that they hold with probability 1 as n → ∞.
Lemma 8.2. The size of cliques that appear in graphs of the ensemble I
k
(n, α) are upper
bounded by poly(log n) asymptotically almost surely.
Proof. Let d
max
be as in (7.1), and r be the locality rank of ϕ. The maximum
degree of a node in the Gaifman graph is asymptotically almost surely upper
bounded by d
max
= O(log n). The locality rank is a fixed number (roughly equal
to 3
d
where d is the quantifier depth of the first order formula that is being
iterated). The node under consideration could have at most d
max
others adjacent
to it, and the same for those, and so on. This gives us a coarse d
r
max
upper bound
on the size of cliques.
Remark 8.3. While this bound is coarse, there is not much point trying to tighten
it because any constant power factor (r in the case above) can always be in-
troduced by computing a r-ary LFP relation. This bound will be sufficient for
us.
Remark 8.4. High degree nodes in the Gaifman graph become significant fea-
tures in the interaction graph since they connect a large number of other nodes
to each other, and therefore allow the LFP computation to access a lot of infor-
mation through a neighborhood system of given radius. It is these high degree
nodes that reduce factorization of the joint distribution since they represent di-
rect interaction of a large number of variables with each other. Note that al-
though the radii of neighborhoods are O(1), the number of nodes in them is
not O(1) due to the Poisson distribution of the variable node degrees, and the
existence of high degree nodes.
84
8. SEPARATION OF COMPLEXITY CLASSES 85
Remark 8.5. The relation being constructed is monadic, and so it does not intro-
duce new edges into the Gaifman graph at each stage of the LFP computation.
When we compute a k-ary LFP, we can encode it into a monadic LFP over a
polynomially (n
k
) larger product space, as is done in the canonical structure,
for instance, but with the linear order replaced by a weaker successor type rela-
tion. Therefore, we can always chose to deal with monadic LFP. This is really a
restatement of the transitivity principle for inductive definitions that says that
if one can write an inductive definition in terms of other inductively defined
relations over a structure, then one can write it directly in terms of the original
relations that existed in the structure [Mos74, p. 16].
8.2.3 Generating Distributions
The standard scenario in finite model theory is to ask a query about a structure
and obtain a Yes/No answer. For example, given a graph structure, we may ask
the query “Is the graph connected?” and get an answer.
But what we want are distributions of solutions that are computed by a pur-
ported LFP algorithm for k-SAT. This is not generally the case in finite model
theory. Intuitively, we want to generate solutions lying in exponentially many
clusters of the solution space of SAT in the d1RSB phase. How do we do this?
To generate these distributions, we will start with partial assignments to the set
of variables in the formula, and ask the question whether such a partial as-
signment can be extended to a satisfying assignment. We need the following
definition.
Definition 8.6. A global relation associated to a decision problem on a class K is
a relation R of a fixed arity k over A associated to each structure A ∈ K.
The following is a restatement of the Immerman-Vardi theorem phrased in
terms of computability of global relations. See [LR03, '11.2, p. 206] for a proof.
Theorem 8.7. A global relation R on a class of successor structures is computable in
polynomial time if and only if R is inductive.
85
8. SEPARATION OF COMPLEXITY CLASSES 86
We wish to see that the global relation that associates to each structure a
complete assignment that coincides with the partial assignment placed in the
relation R
P
is inductive. By the theorem above, this is equivalent to showing
that it is computable in polynomial time. In order to see this, we recall that
decision problems that are NP-complete have a property called self-reducibility
that allows us to query a decision procedure for them a polynomial number of
times and build a solution to the search version of the problem. If P = NP,
then all decision problems in NP have polynomial time solutions, and one can
use self-reducibility to see that the search version will also be polynomial time
solvable — namely, a solution will be constructible in polynomial time. Next
we will define our search problem in a way that a solution to it will be a global
relation: an instance of the problem will be a structure with partial assignments,
and the question will be whether the partial assignment can be extended to a
complete assignment. The complete assignment can be represented by a global
unary relation that will store all the literals assigned +1, and which must concur
with the partial assignment on its overlap. This decision problem is clearly in
NP, and therefore if P = NP, it would have a polynomial time search solution,
making R computable in polynomial time. The theorem then says R must be
inductive.
Since we want to generate exponentially many such solutions, we will have
to partially assign O(n) (a small fraction) of the variables, and ask the LFP to
extend this assignment, whenever possible, to a satisfying assignment to all
variables. Thus, we now see what the relation R
P
in our vocabulary stands for.
It holds the partial assignment to the variables. For example, suppose we want
to ask whether the partial assignment x
1
= 1, x
2
= 0, x
3
= 1 can be extended to
a satisfying assignment to the SAT formula, we would store this partial assign-
ment in the tuple (x
1
, x
2
, x
3
) in the relation R
P
in our structure.
As mentioned earlier, the output satisfying assignment will be computed as
a unary relation which holds all the literals that are assigned the value 1. This
means that x
i
is in the relation if x
i
has been assigned the value 1 by the LFP,
and otherwise x
i
is in the relation meaning that x
i
has been assigned the value
86
8. SEPARATION OF COMPLEXITY CLASSES 87
0 by the LFP computation. This is the simplest case where the FO(LFP) formula
is simple monadic. For more complex formulas, the output will be some section
of a relation of higher arity (please see Appendix A for details), and we will
view it as monadic over a polynomially larger structure.
Now we “initialize” our structure with different partial assignments and
ask the LFP to compute complete assignments when they exist. If the partial
assignment cannot be extended, we simply abort that particular attempt and
carry on with other partial assignments until we generate enough solutions. By
“enough” we mean rising exponentially with the underlying problem size. In
this way we get a distribution of solutions that is exponentially numerous, and
we now analyze it and compare it to the one that arises in the d1RSB phase of
random k-SAT.
8.3 Disentangling the Interactions: The ENSP Model
Now that we have a distribution of solutions computed by LFP, we would like
to examine its conditional independence characteristics. Does it factor through
any particular graphical model, for instance?
In Chapter 2, we considered various graphical models and their conditional
independence characteristics. Once again, our situation is not exactly like any
of these models. We will have to build our own, based on the principles we
have learnt. Let us first note two issues.
The first issue is that graphical models considered in literature are mostly
static. By this we mean that
1. they are of fixed size, over a fixed set of variables, and
2. the relations between the variables encoded in the models are fixed.
In short, they model fixed interactions between a fixed set of variables. Since
we wish to apply them to the setting of complexity theory, we are interested in
families of such models, with a focus on how their structure changes with the
problem size.
87
8. SEPARATION OF COMPLEXITY CLASSES 88
The second issue that faces us nowis as follows. Even within a certain size n,
we do not have a fixed graph on n vertices that will model all our interactions.
The way a LFP computation proceeds through the structure will, in general,
vary with the initial partial assignment. We would expect a different “trajec-
tory” of the LFP computation for different clusters in the d1RSB phase. So, if
one initial partial assignment landed us in cluster X, and another in cluster Y,
the way the LFP would go about assigning values to the unassigned variables
would be, in general, different. Even within a cluster, the trajectories of two
different initial partial assignments will not be the same, although we would
expect them to be similar. How do we deal with this situation?
In order to model this dynamic behavior, let us build some intuition first.
1. We know that there is a “directed-ness” to LFP in that elements that are
assigned values at a certain stage of the computation then go on to influ-
ence other elements who are as yet unassigned. Thus, there is a directed
flow of influence as the LFP computation progresses. This is, for exam-
ple, different from a Markov random field distribution which has no such
direction.
2. There are two types of flows of information in a LFP computation. Con-
sider simple monadic LFP. In one type of flow, neighborhoods across the
structure influence the value an unassigned node will take. In the other
type of flow, once an element is assigned a value, it changes the neighbor-
hoods (or more precisely the local types of various other elements) in its
vicinity. Note that while the first type of flow happens during a stage of
the LFP, the second type is implicit. Namely, there is no separate stage of
the LFP where it happens. It implicitly happens once any element enters
the relation being computed.
3. Because the flow of information is as described above, we will not be able
to express it using a simple DAG on either the set of vertices, or the set of
neighborhoods. Thus, we have to consider building a graphical model on
certain larger product spaces.
88
8. SEPARATION OF COMPLEXITY CLASSES 89
4. The stage-wise nature of LFP is central to our analysis, and the various
stages cannot be bundled into one without losing crucial information.
Thus, we do need a model which captures each stage separately.
5. In order to exploit the factorization properties of directed graphical models,
and the resulting parametrization by potentials, we would like to avoid
any closed directed paths.
Let us now incorporate this intuition into a model, which we will call a
Element-Neighborhood-Stage Product Model, or ENSP model for short. This model
appears to be of independent interest. We now describe the ENSP model for
a simple monadic least fixed point computation. The model is illustrated in
Fig. 8.1. It has two types of vertices.
Element Vertices These vertices, which encode the variables of the k-SAT in-
stance, are represented by the smaller circles in Fig. 8.1. They therefore
correspond to elements in the structure (recall that elements of the struc-
ture represent the literals in the k-SAT formula). However, each variable in
our original system X
1
, . . . , X
n
is represented by a different vertex at each stage
of the computation. Thus, each variable in the original system gives rise to

A
[ vertices in the ENSP model. Also recall that there are 2n elements in
the k-SAT structure, where n is the number of variables in the SAT for-
mula. However, in Fig 8.1, we have only shown one vertex per variable,
and allowed it to be colored two colors - green indicating the variable
has been assigned a value of +1, and red indicating the variable has been
assigned the value −1. Since the underlying formula ϕ that is being iter-
ated is positive, elements do not change their color once they have been
assigned.
Neighborhood Vertices These vertices, denoted by the larger circles with blue
shading in Fig. 8.1, represent the r-neighborhoods of the elements in the
structure. Just like variables, each neighborhood is also represented by a
different vertex at each stage of the LFP computation. Each of their pos-
sible values are the possible isomorphism types of the r-neighborhoods,
89
8. SEPARATION OF COMPLEXITY CLASSES 90
N(x
1,1
)
X
1,1
N(x
2,1
)
N(x
3,1
)
N(x
n-1,1
)
N(x
n,1
)
N(x
1,2
)
N(x
2,2
)
N(x
3,2
)
N(x
n-1,2
)
N(x
n,2
)
N(x
1,3
)
N(x
2,3
)
N(x
3,3
)
N(x
n-1,3
)
N(x
n,3
)
N(x
1
)
N(x
2
)
N(x
3
)
N(x
n-1
)
N(x
n
)

X
2,1
X
3,1
X
4,1
X
i,1
X
i+1,1
X
n-1,1
X
n,1


X
1,2
X
2,2
X
3,2
X
4,2
X
i,2
X
i+1,2
X
n-1,2
X
n,2
X
1,3
X
2,3
X
3,3
X
4,3
X
i,3
X
i+1,3
X
n-1,3
X
n,3
X
1
X
2
X
3
X
4
X
i
X
i+1
X
n-1
X
n
⋮ ⋮
⋮ ⋮ ⋮
Stages of LFP
E
l
e
m
e
n
t
s
N
e
i
g
h
b
o
r
h
o
o
d
s
Figure 8.1: The Element-Neighborhood-Stage Product (ENSP) model for LFP
ϕ
. See
text for description.
90
8. SEPARATION OF COMPLEXITY CLASSES 91
namely, the local r-types of the corresponding element. These vertices
may be thought of as vectors of size poly(log n) corresponding to the cliques
that occur in the neighborhood system we described in Sec. 8.2.2, or one
may think of them as a single variable taking the value of the various local
r-types.
Now we describe the stages of the ENSP. There are 2[ϕ
A
[ stages, starting
from the leftmost and terminating at the rightmost. Each stage of the LFP com-
putation is represented by two stages in the ENSP. Initially, at the start of the
LFP computation, we are in the left-most stage. Here, notice that some variable
vertices are colored green, and some red. In the figure, X
4,1
is green, and X
i,1
is
red. This indicates that the initial partial assignment that we provided the LFP
had variable X
4
assigned +1 and variable X
i
assigned −1. In this way, a small
fraction O(n) of the variables are assigned values. The LFP is asked to extend
this partial assignment to a complete satisfying assignment on all variables (if it
exists, and abort if not).
Let us now look at the transition to the second stage of the ENSP. At this
stage, based on the conditions expressed by the formula ϕ in terms of their
own local neighborhoods, and the existence of a bounded number of other local
neighborhoods in the structure, some elements enter the relation. This means
they get assigned +1 or −1. In the figure, the variable X
3,2
takes the color green
based on information gathered from its own neighborhood N(X
3,1
) and two
other neighborhoods N(X
2,1
) and N(X
n−1,1
). This indicates that at the first
stage, the LFP assigned the value +1 to the variable X
3
. Similarly, it assigns
the value −1 to variable X
n
(remember that the first two stages in the ENSP
correspond to the first stage of the LFP computation). The vertices that do not
change state simply transmit their existing state to the corresponding vertices
in the next stage by a horizontal arrow, which we do not show in the figure in
order to avoid clutter.
Once some variables have been assigned values in the first stage, their neigh-
borhoods, and the neighborhoods in their vicinity (meaning, the neighborhoods
of other elements that are in their vicinity) change. This is indicated by the dot-
91
8. SEPARATION OF COMPLEXITY CLASSES 92
ted arrows between the second and third stages of the ENSP. Note that this
happens implicitly during LFP computation. That is why we have represented
each stage of the actual LFP computation by two stages in the ENSP. The first
stage is the explicit stage, where variables get assigned values. The second stage
is the implicit stage, where variables “update their neighborhoods” and those
neighborhoods in their vicinity. For example, once X
3
has been assigned the
value +1, it updates its neighborhood and also the neighborhood of variable
X
2
which lies in its vicinity (in this example). In this way, influence propagates
through the structure during a LFP computation. There are two stages of the
ENSP for each stage of the LFP. Thus, there are 2[ϕ
A
[ stages of the ENSP in all.
By the end of the computation, all variables have been assigned values, and
we have a satisfying assignment. The variables at the last stage X
i,|ϕ
A
|
are just
the original X
i
. Thus, we recover our original variables (X
1
, . . . , X
n
) by simply
looking only at the last (rightmost in the figure) level of the ENSP.
By introducing extra variables to represent each stage of each variable and
each neighborhood in the SAT formula, we have accomplished our original
aim. We have embedded our original set of variates into a polynomially larger
product space, and obtained a directed graphical model on this larger space.
This product space has a nice factorization due to the directed graph structure.
This is what we will exploit.
Remark 8.8. The explicit stages of the ENSP also perform the task of propagating
the local constraints placed by the various factors in the underlying factor graph
outward into the larger graphical model. For example, in our case of the factors
encoding clauses of a k-SAT formula, the local constraint placed by a clause
is that the global assignment must evade exactly one restriction to a specified
set of k coordinates. For example, in the case of k = 3 the clause x
1
∨ x
2

x
3
permits all global assignments except those whose first three coordinates
are (−1, −1, +1). In contrast, if the factor were a XORSAT clause, the local
restrictions are all in the form of linear spaces, and so the global solution is an
intersection of such spaces. k-SAT asks a question about whether certain spaces
92
8. SEPARATION OF COMPLEXITY CLASSES 93
of the form
¦ω: (ω
i
1
, . . . , ω
i
k
) = (ν
1
, . . . , ν
k

have non-empty intersections, where 1 ≤ i
1
< i
2
< < i
k
≤ n and the
prohibited ν
i
are ±1. Note that these are O(1) local constraints per factor. In
contrast, XORSAT asks the question about whether certain linear spaces have a
non-empty intersection. Linearity is a global constraint. Of course, all messages
are coded into the formula ϕ. Thus, the end result of multiple runs of the LFP
will be a space of solutions conditioned upon the requirements. So, for instance,
if we were to try to solve XORSAT formulae, we would obtain a space that
would be linear.
Thus, we have a directed graph with 2n + n = 3n vertices at each stage,
and 2[ϕ
A
[ stages. Since the LFP completes its computation in under a fixed
polynomial number of steps, this means that we have managed to represent
the LFP computation on a structure as a directed model using a polynomial
overhead in the number of parameters of our representation space. In other
words, by embedding the covariates into a polynomially larger space, we have
been able to put a common structure on various computations done by LFP
on them. Note that without embedding the covariates into a larger space, we
would not be able to place the various computations done by LFP into a single
graphical model. The insight that we can afford to incur a polynomial cost in
order to obtain a common graphical model on a larger product space was key
to this section.
8.4 Parametrization of the ENSP
Our goal is to demonstrate the following.
If LFP were able to compute solutions to the d1RSB phase of randomk-SAT,
then the distribution of the entire space of solutions would have a substan-
tially simpler parametrization than we know it does.
93
8. SEPARATION OF COMPLEXITY CLASSES 94
In order to accomplish this, we need to measure the growth in the dimension of
independent parameters it requires to parametrize the distribution of solutions
that we have just computed using LFP.
In order to do this, we have embedded our variates into a polynomially
larger space that has factorization according to a directed model — the ENSP.
We have seen that the cliques in the ENSP are of size poly(log n). By employ-
ing the version of Hammersley-Clifford for directed models, Theorem 2.13, we
also know that we can parameterize the distribution by specifying a system of
potentials over its cliques, automatically ensuring conditional independence.
The directed nature of the ENSP also means that we can factor the resulting
distribution into conditional probability distributions (CPDs) at each vertex of
the model of the form P(x [ pa(x)), and then normalize each CPD. Once again,
each CPD will have scope only poly(log n). From our perspective, the major
benefit of directed graphical models is that we can do this always, without any
added positivity constraints. Recall that positivity is required in order to apply
the Hammersley-Clifford theorem to obtain factorizations for undirected mod-
els.
How do we compute the CPDs or potentials? We assign various initial par-
tial assignments to the variables as described in Sec. 8.2.3 and let the LFP com-
putations run. We only consider successful computations, namely those where
the LFP was able to extend the partial assignment to a full satisfying assignment
to the underlying k-SAT formula. We represent each stage of the LFP compu-
tation on the corresponding two stages of the ENSP and thus obtain one full
instantiation of the representation space. We do this exponentially numerous
times, and build up our local CPDs by simply recording local statistics over all
these runs. This gives us the factorization (over the expanded representation
space) of our distribution, assuming that P = NP.
The ENSP for different runs of the LFP will, in general, be different. This
is because the flow of influences through the stages of the ENSP will, in gen-
eral, depend on the initial partial assignment. What is important is that each
such model will have some properties — such as largest clique size, which de-
94
8. SEPARATION OF COMPLEXITY CLASSES 95
termines the order of the number of parameters — in common. Let us inspect
these properties that determine the parametrization of the ENSP model.
1. There are polynomially many more vertices in the ENSP model than ele-
ments in the underlying structure.
2. Lemma 8.2 gives us a poly(log n) upper bound on the size of the neigh-
borhoods. The number of local r-types whose value each neighborhood
vertex can take is 2
poly(log n)
.
3. By Theorem 5.9 there is a fixed constant s such that there must exist s
neighborhoods in the structure satisfying certain local conditions for the
formula to hold. Remember, we are presently analyzing a single stage of
the LFP. This again gives us poly(n) (O(n
s
) in this case) different possibil-
ities for each explicit stage of the ENSP. The same can also be arrived at
by utilizing the normal form of Theorem 5.10. By the previous point, each
of these possibilities can be parameterized by 2
poly(log n)
parameters, giving
us a total of 2
poly(log n)
parameters required.
4. At each implicit stage of the ENSP, we have to update the types of the
neighborhoods that were affected by the induction of elements at the pre-
vious explicit stage. There are only n neighborhoods, and each has poly(log n)
elements at most.
The ENSP is an interaction model where direct interactions are of size poly(log n),
and are chained together through conditional independencies.
Proposition 8.9. A distribution that factorizes according to the ENSP can be pa-
rameterized with 2
poly(log n)
independent parameters. The scope of the factors in the
parametrization grows as poly(log n).
This also underscores the principle that the description of the parameter
space is simpler because it only involves interactions between l variates at a
time directly, and then chains these together through conditional independen-
cies. In the case of the LFP neighborhood system, the size of the largest cliques
95
8. SEPARATION OF COMPLEXITY CLASSES 96
are poly(log n) for each single run of the LFP. This will not change if we were
computing using complex fixed points since the space of k-types is only poly-
nomially larger than the underlying structure.
The crucial property of the distribution of the ENSP is that it admits a recur-
sive factorization. This is what drastically reduces the parameter space required
to specify the distribution. It also allows us to parametrize the ENSP by simply
specifying potentials on its maximal cliques, which are of size poly(log n).
While the entire distribution obtained by LFP may not factor according to
any one ENSP, it is a mixture of distributions each of whom factorizes as per
some ENSP. Next, we analyze the features of such a mixture when exponen-
tially many instantiations of it are provided. As the reader may intuit, when
such a mixture is asked to provide exponentially many samples, these will show
features of scope poly(log n). This is simply a statement about the paucity of in-
dependent parameters in the component distributions in the mixture.
8.5 Separation
We continue our treatment of range limited poly(log n)-parametrizations. We
will treat the value limited case shortly. The property of the ENSP for range
limited models that allows us to analyze the behavior of mixtures is that it is
specified by local Gibbs potentials on its cliques. In other words, a variable
interacts with the rest of the model only through the cliques that it is part of.
These cliques are parametrized by potentials. We may think of the cliques as
the building blocks of each ENSP. The cliques are also upper bounded in size
by poly(log n). Furthermore, a vertex may be in at most O(log n) such cliques.
Therefore, a vertex displays collective behavior only of range poly(log n). Thus,
the mixture comprises distributions that can be parametrized by a subspace of
R
poly(log n)
, in contrast to requiring the larger space R
O(n)
. This means that when
exponentially many solutions are generated, the features in the mixture will be
of size poly(log n), not of size O(n).
Next, let us examine the value limited case. In this case, the differences are
96
8. SEPARATION OF COMPLEXITY CLASSES 97
as follows
1. The solutions are generated by complex LFP, as sections of inductive rela-
tions of higher arity.
2. There are O(n) interactions at each stage, but the graphical model is parametriz-
able with only 2
poly(log n)
parameters.
3. Since the interactions are O(n), the Gibbs potentials are specified over
cliques of size O(n).
4. However, the potentials are parameterized with only 2
poly(log n)
parameters
inspite of having O(n) size. If we think of a potential as a CPD, then the
CPDs are wide (have O(n) columns), but are not very long (have only
2
poly(log n)
rows).
How do we analyze mixtures of such potentials? The idea is as follows. The
potentials are already large in their scope (O(n)). So we will create a single po-
tential over the entire graphical model which will have scope poly(n) (since the
computation terminates in polynomial time). How do we merge various O(n)
potentials into a single poly(n) sized potential? And what will be the resulting
parametrization of this merged potential?
In order to merge the potentials, we observe that they have a certain sheaf-
like property. Namely, since they are CPDs of the same LFP, they must agree
on overlaps. This means that two CPDs cannot specify different behavior for
the same priors. Remember, these CPDs are nothing but the rules by which the
computation proceeds, and these rules are the same for different computations
since it is the same LFP that is being used. Thus, the final merged potential will
be compatible with each smaller potential on overlaps.
Using this property, we can see that if each of the potentials had poly(log n)
parametrization, then so must the final merged potential. Once again we see
that we cannot instantiate exponentially many solutions from such a limited
parametrization and obtain the d1RSB picture which requires ample O(n) joint
distributions.
97
8. SEPARATION OF COMPLEXITY CLASSES 98
This explains why polynomial time algorithms fail when interactions be-
tween variable are ample-O(n), without the possibility of factoring into smaller
pieces through conditional independencies. This also puts on rigorous ground
the empirical observation that even NP-complete problems are easy in large
regimes, and become hard only when the densities of constraints increase above
a certain threshold. This threshold is precisely the value where ample irreducible-
O(n) interactions first appear in almost all randomly constructed instances.
In case of random k-SAT in the d1RSB phase, these ample irreducible-O(n)
interactions manifest through the appearance of cores which comprise clauses
whose variables are coupled so tightly that one has to assign them “simultane-
ously.” Cores arise when a set of C = O(n) clauses have all their variables also
lying in a set of size C. Once clause density is sufficiently high, cores cannot
be assigned poly(log n) at a time, and successive such assignments chained to-
gether through conditional independencies. Nor are they value limited since
they instantiate in each of the exponentially many clusters in the d1RSB phase.
Since cores do not factor through conditional independencies, and are not value
limited either, this makes it impossible for polynomial time algorithms to assign
their variables correctly. Intuitively, variables in a core are so tightly coupled to-
gether that they can only vary jointly, without any conditional independencies
between subsets. Furthermore, their variation is ample. In other words, they
represent irreducible interactions of size O(n) which may not be factored any
further, and which display the ample joint behavior of a system of n covari-
ates, which requires O(c
n
) independent parameters to specify. In such cases,
parametrization over cliques of size only poly(log n) is insufficient to specify the
joint distribution. Likewise, parametrization over cliques of size O(n), but with
only 2
poly(log n)
parameters, is insufficient.
We have shown that in the ENSP for range limited models, the size of the
largest such irreducible interactions are poly(log n), not O(n). Furthermore,
since the model is directed, it guarantees us conditional independencies at the
level of its largest interactions. More precisely, it guarantees us that there will
exist conditional independencies in sets of size larger than the largest cliques in
98
8. SEPARATION OF COMPLEXITY CLASSES 99
its moral graph, which are O(poly(log n)). In other words, there will be inde-
pendent variation within cores when conditioned upon values of intermediate
variables that also lie within the core, should the core factorize as per the ENSP.
This is illustrated in Fig. 8.2. This is contradictory to the known behaviour of
cores for sufficiently high values of k and clause density in the d1RSB phase. In
other words, while the space of solutions generated by LFP has features of size
poly(log n), the features present in cores in the d1RSB phase have size O(n).
The framework we have constructed allows us to analyze the set of poly-
nomial time algorithms simultaneously, since they can all be captured by
some LFP, instead of dealing with each individual algorithm separately. It
makes precise the notion that polynomial time algorithms can take into ac-
count only interactions between variables that grow as poly(log n), not as
O(n).
poly(log n) poly(log n)
Independent given
Intermediate values
Independent given
Intermediate values
Figure 8.2: The factorization and conditional independencies within a core due
to potentials of size poly(log n).
At this point, we are ready to state our main theorem.
Theorem 8.10. P = NP.
Proof. Consider the solution space of k-SAT in the d1RSB phase for k > 8 as
recalled in Section. 6.2.1. We know that for high enough values of the clause
99
8. SEPARATION OF COMPLEXITY CLASSES 100
density α, we have O(n) frozen variables in almost all of the exponentially
many clusters. The first observation we make is that since the variables in cores
are instantiated in exponentially many clusters, we can preclude value limited
poly(log n)-parametrization. Let us consider then the situation where these clus-
ters were generated by a purported range limited LFP algorithm for k-SAT that
can be parametrized by the ENSP model with clique sizes poly(log n). When
exponentially many solutions have been generated from distributions having
the parametrization of the ENSP model, we will see the effect of conditional
independencies beyond range poly(log n). Let αβγ be a representation of the
variables in cliques α, β and γ, then given a value of β, we will see independent
variation over all their possible conditional values in the variables of α and
γ. If each set of such variables has scope at most poly(log n), then this means
that we have generated more than exponential in poly(log n) distinct solutions,
we will have non-trivial conditional distributions conditioned upon values of β
variables. At this point, the conditional independencies ensure that we will see
cross terms of the form
α
1
βγ
1
α
2
βγ
2
α
1
βγ
2
α
2
βγ
1
.
Note that since O(n) variables have to be changed when jumping from one clus-
ter to another, we may even choose our poly(log n) blocks to be in overlaps of
these variables. This would mean that with a poly(log n) change in frozen vari-
ables of one cluster, we would get a solution in another cluster. But we know
that in the highly constrained phases of d1RSB, we need O(n) variable flips to
get fromone cluster to the next. This gives us the contradiction that we seek.
The basic question in analyzing such mixtures is: How many variables do
we need to condition upon in order to split the distribution into conditionally
independent pieces? The answer is given by (a) the size of the largest cliques
and (b) the number of such cliques that a single variable can occur in. In our
case, these two give us a poly(log n) quantity. When exponentially many solu-
tions have been generated, there will be conditional distributions that exhibit
conditional independence between blocks of variates size poly(log n). Namely,
100
8. SEPARATION OF COMPLEXITY CLASSES 101
there will be no effect of the values of one upon those of the other. This is what
prevents the Hamming distance between solutions from being O(n). This is
shown pictorially in Fig. 8.2.
We may think of such mixtures as possessing only c
poly(log n)
“channels” to
communicate directly with other variables. All long range correlations trans-
mitted in such a distribution must pass through only these many channels.
Therefore, exponentially many solutions cannot independently transmit O(n)
correlations (namely, the variables that have to be changed when jumping from
one cluster to another). Their correlations must factor through this bottleneck,
which gives us conditional independences after range poly(log n). This means
that blocks of size larger than this are now varying independently of each other
conditioned upon some intermediate variables. This gives us the cross-terms
described earlier, and prevents the Hamming distance from being O(n) on the
average over exponentially many solutions. Instead, it must be poly(log n).
We can see that due to the limited parameter space that determines each
variable, it can only display a limited joint behavior. This behavior is completely
determined by poly(log n) other variates, not by O(n) other variates. Thus, the
“jointness” in this distribution lies at a level poly(log n). This is why when
enough solutions have been generated by the LFP, the resulting distribution
will start showing features that are at most of size poly(log n). In other words,
there will be solutions that show cross-terms between features whose size is
poly(log n).
It is also useful to consider how many different parametrizations a block of
size poly(log n) may have. Each variable may choose poly(log n) partners out of
O(n) to form a potential. It may choose O(log n) such potentials. Even coarsely,
this means blocks of variables of size poly(log n) only “see” the rest of the dis-
tribution through equivalence classes that grow as O(n
poly(log n)
)). This quantity
would have to grow exponentially with n in order to display the behavior of
the d1RSB phase. Once again we return to the same point — that the jointness
of the distribution that a purported LFP algorithm would generate would lie
at the poly(log n) levels of conditional independence, whereas the jointness in
101
8. SEPARATION OF COMPLEXITY CLASSES 102
the distribution of the d1RSB solution space is truly O(n). Namely, there are
irreducible interactions of size O(n) that cannot be expressed as interactions be-
tween poly(log n) variates at a time, and chained together by conditional inde-
pendencies as would be done by a LFP. This is central to the separation of com-
plexity classes. Hard regimes of NP-complete problems allow O(n) variates to
irreducibly jointly vary, and accounting for such O(n) jointness that cannot be
factored any further is beyond the capability of polynomial time algorithms.
We collect some observations in the following.
Remark 8.11. The poly(log n) size of features and therefore Hamming distance
between solutions tells us that polynomial time algorithms correspond to the
RS phase of the 1RSB picture, not to the d1RSB phase.
Remark 8.12. We can see from the preceding discussion that the number of in-
dependent parameters required to specify the distribution of the entire solution
space in the d1RSB phase (for k > 8) rises as c
n
, c > 1. This is because it takes
that many parameters to specify the exponentially many O(n) variable “jumps”
between the clusters. These jumps are independent, and cannot be factored
through poly(log n) sized factors since that would mean conditional indepen-
dence of pieces of size poly(log n) and would ensure that the Hamming distance
between solutions was of that order.
Remark 8.13. Note that the central notion is that of the number of independent
parameters, not frozen variables. For example, frozen variables would occur
even in low dimensional parametrizations in the presence of additional con-
straints placed by the problem. This is what happens in XORSAT, where the
linearity of the problem causes frozen variables to occur. The frozen variables
in XORSAT do not arise due to a high dimensional parametrization, but sim-
ply because the 2-core percolates [MM09, '18.3]. Each cluster is a linear space
tagged on to a solution for the 2-core, which is also why the clusters are all of
the same size. Linear spaces always admit a simple description as the linear
span of a basis, which takes the order of log of the size of the space.
Remark 8.14. It is tempting to think that there will be such a parametrization
whenever the algorithmic procedure used to generate the solutions is stage-
102
8. SEPARATION OF COMPLEXITY CLASSES 103
wise local. This is not so. We need the added requirement that “mistakes” are
not allowed. Namely, we cannot change a decision that has been made. Other-
wise, even PFP has the stage-wise bounded local property, but it can give rise to
distributions without any conditional independence factorizations whose fac-
tors are of size poly(log n). When placed in the ENSP, we see that there is fac-
torization, but over an exponentially larger space, where clique sizes are of ex-
ponential size. One might observe that the requirement that we not make any
trial and error at all that limits LFP computations in a fundamentally different
manner than the locality of information flows. See [Put65] for an interesting
related notion of “trial and error predicates” in computability theory.
8.6 Some Perspectives
The following perspectives are reinforced by this work.
1. The most natural object of study for constraint satisfaction problems is the
entire space of solutions. It is this space where the dependencies and inde-
pendencies that the CSP imposes upon covariates that satisfy it manifest.
2. There is an intimate relation between the geometry of the space and its
parametrization. Studying the parametrization of the space of solutions is
a worthwhile pursuit.
3. The view that an algorithm is a means to generate one solution is limited
in the sense that it is oblivious to the geometry of the space of all solutions.
It may, of course, be the appropriate approach in many applications. But
there are applications where requiring algorithms to generate numerous
solutions and approximate with increasing accuracy the entire space of
solutions seems more natural.
4. Conditional independence over factors of small scope is at the heart of re-
solving CSPs by means of polynomial time algorithms. In other words,
polynomial time algorithms succeed by successively “breaking up” the
103
8. SEPARATION OF COMPLEXITY CLASSES 104
problem into smaller subproblems that are joined to each other through
conditional independence. Consequently, polynomial time algorithms can-
not solve problems in regimes where blocks whose order is the same as the
underlying problem instance require simultaneous resolution.
5. Polynomial time algorithms resolve the variables in CSPs in a certain or-
der, and with a certain structure. This structure is important in their study.
In order to bring this structure under study, we may have to embed the
space of covariates into a larger space (as done by the ENSP).
104
A. Reduction to a Single LFP
Operation
A.1 The Transitivity Theorem for LFP
We now gather a few results that will enable us to cast any LFP into one having
just one application of the LFP operator. Since we use this construction to deal
with complex fixed points, we reproduce it in this appendix. The presentation
here closely follows [EF06, Ch. 8].
The first result, known as the transitivity theorem, tells us that nested fixed
points can always be replaced by simultaneous fixed points. Let ϕ(x, X, Y ) and
ψ(y, X, Y ) be first order formulas positive in X and Y . Moreover, assume that
no individual variable free in LFP
y,Y
ψ(y, X, Y ) gets into the scope of a corre-
sponding quantifier or LFP operator in A.1.
[LFP
x,X
ϕ(x, X, [LFP
y,Y
ψ(y, X, Y )])]t (A.1)
Then A.1 is equivalent to a formula of the form
∃(∀)u[LFP
z,Z,
χ(z, Z)]u,
where χ is first order.
105
APPENDIX A. REDUCTION TO A SINGLE LFP OPERATION 106
A.2 Sections and the Simultaneous Induction Lemma
for LFP
Next we deal with simultaneous fixed points. Recall that simultaneous induc-
tions do not increase the expressive power of LFP. The proof utilizes a coding
procedure whereby each simultaneous induction is embedded as a section in a
single LFP operation of higher arity. First, we introduce the notion of a section.
Definition A.1. Let R be a relation of arity (k + l) on A and a ∈ A
k
. Then the
a-section of R, denoted by R
a
, is given by
R
a
:= ¦b ∈ A
k
[R(ba)¦
Next we see how sections can be used to encode multiple simultaneous op-
erators producing relations of lower arity into a single operator producing a
relation of higher arity. Let m operators F
1
, . . . , F
m
act as follows:
F
1
: (A
k
1
) (A
k
m
) → (A
k
1
)
F
2
: (A
k
1
) (A
k
m
) → (A
k
2
)
.
.
.
F
m
: (A
k
1
) (A
k
m
) → (A
k
m
)
(A.2)
We wish to embed these operators as sections of a “larger” operator, which
is known as their simultaneous join.
We will denote a tuple consisting only of a’s by ˜ a. The length of ˜ a be clear
from context.
Definition A.2. Let F
1
, . . . , F
m
be operators acting as above. Set
k := max¦k
1
, . . . , k
m
¦ +m+ 1.
The simultaneous join of F
1
, . . . , F
m
, denoted by J(F
1
, . . . , F
m
), is an operator
acting as
J(F
1
, . . . , F
m
): (A
k
) → (A
k
)
106
APPENDIX A. REDUCTION TO A SINGLE LFP OPERATION 107
such that for any a, b ∈ A, the ˜ ab
i
-section (where the length of ˜ a here is k −
i + 1) of the n
th
power of J is the n
th
power of the operator F
i
. Concretely, the
simultaneous join is given by
J(R) :=
¸
a,b∈A,a=b
((F
1
(R
˜ ab
1, . . . , R
˜ ab
m) ¦˜ ab
1
¦) ∪
∪ (F
m
(R
˜ ab
1, . . . , R
˜ ab
m) ¦˜ ab
m
¦)). (A.3)
The simultaneous join operator defined above has properties we will need
to use. These are collected below.
Lemma A.3. The i
th
power J
i
of the simultaneous join operator satisfies
J
i
=
¸
a,b∈A,a=b
((F
i
1
¦˜ ab
1
¦) ∪ ∪ (F
i
m
¦˜ ab
m
¦)). (A.4)
The following corollaries are now immediate.
Corollary A.4. The fixed point J

of the simultaneous join of operators (F
1
, . . . , F
m
)
exists if and only if their simultaneous fixed point (F

1
, . . . , F

m
) exists.
Corollary A.5. The simultaneous join of inductive operators is inductive.
Finally, we need to show that the simultaneous join can itself be expressed
as a LFP computation. We need formulas that will help us define sections of a
simultaneous induction. Since the sections are coded using tuples of the form
a
k−i+k
i
+1
b
i
, we will need formulas that can express this.
Definition A.6. For ≥ 1 and i = 1, . . . , , the section formulas δ
l
i
(x
1
, . . . , x
l
, v, w)
δ
l
i
(x
1
, . . . , x
l
, v, w) :=

(v = w) ∧ (x
1
= = x

= v) i = 1
(v = w) ∧ (x
1
= = x
−i+1
= v) ∧
(x
−i+2
= = w) i > 1.
(A.5)
For distinct a, b ∈ A, A [= δ
i
[˜ ab
j
ab] if and only if i = j.
Now we are ready to show that simultaneous fixed-point inductions of for-
mulas can be replaced by the fixed point induction of a single formula.
107
APPENDIX A. REDUCTION TO A SINGLE LFP OPERATION 108
Definition A.7. Let
ϕ
1
(R
1
, . . . , R
m
, x
1
), . . . , ϕ
m
(R
1
, . . . , R
m
, x
m
)
be formulas of LFP. As always, we let R
i
be a k
i
-ary relation and x
i
be a k
i
-tuple.
Furthermore, let ϕ
1
, . . . , ϕ
m
be positive in R
1
, . . . , R
m
. Set k := max¦k
1
, . . . , k
m
¦+
m+ 1. Define a new first order formula χ
J
having k variables and computing a
single k-ary relation Z by
χ
J
(Z, z
1
, . . . , z
k
) := ∃v∃w(v = w∧
((ϕ
1
(Z
˜ vw
1, . . . , Z
˜ vw
m, z
1
, . . . , z
k
) ∧ δ
k
1
(z
1
, . . . , z
k
, v, w))
∨ (ϕ
2
(Z
˜ vw
1, . . . , Z
˜ vw
m, z
1
, . . . , z
k
) ∧ δ
k
2
(z
1
, . . . , z
k
, v, w))
.
.
.
∨ (ϕ
m
(Z
˜ vw
1, . . . , Z
˜ vw
m, z
1
, . . . , z
k
) ∧ δ
k
m
(z
1
, . . . , z
k
, v, w)))) (A.6)
Then, the relation computed by the least fixed point of χ
J
contains all the
individual least fixed points computed by the simultaneous induction as its sec-
tions.
108
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116

ÚÊ

This work is dedicated to my late parents: my father Shri. Shrinivas Deolalikar, my mother Smt. Usha Deolalikar, and my maushi Kum. Manik Deogire, for all their hard work in raising me; and to my late grand parents: Shri. Rajaram Deolalikar and Smt. Vimal Deolalikar, for their struggle to educate my father inspite of extreme poverty. This work is part of my Matru-Pitru Rin1 .

I am forever indebted to my wife for her faith during these years.

1

The debt to mother and father that a pious Hindu regards as his obligation to repay in this

life.

Abstract We demonstrate the separation of the complexity class NP from its subclass P. Throughout our proof, we observe that the ability to compute a property on structures in polynomial time is intimately related to an atypical property of the space of solutions — namely, the space is parametrizable with only cpoly(log n) , c > 1 parameters instead of the typical cn parameters required for a joint distribution of n covariates. This type of exponentially smaller parametrization arises as a result of severe limitations placed on the interaction between the variates. In particular, it may arise from range limited interactions where variates interact at short ranges, and chain together such interactions to create long range interactions. Such long range interactions then would be characterized by the statistical notions of conditional independence and sufficient statistics. The presence of conditional independencies manifests in the form of economical parametrizations of the joint distribution of covariates. Likewise, such economical parametrizations can arise from interactions which take only cpoly(log n) many values. In both cases, the result on the joint distribution is the same — it is parametrizable with only cpoly(log n) independent parameters. In order to apply this analysis to the space of solutions of random constraint satisfaction problems, we utilize and expand upon ideas from several fields spanning logic, statistics, graphical models, random ensembles, and statistical physics. We begin by introducing the requisite framework of graphical models for a set of interacting variables. We focus on the correspondence between Markov and Gibbs properties for directed and undirected models as reflected in the factorization of their joint distribution, and the number of independent parameters required to specify the distribution. Next, we build the central contribution of this work. We show that there are fundamental conceptual relationships between polynomial time computation,

we encode k-SAT formulae as structures on which FO(LFP) captures polynomial time. Distributions computed by LFP must satisfy this model. The Hamming distance between a solution that lies in one cluster and that in another is O(n). Then we relate complex fixed points to value limited interactions. an arbitrarily large fraction of all variables in cores freeze within exponentially many clusters in the thermodynamic limit. as the clause density is increased towards the SAT-unSAT threshold. In particular. known as the d1RSB phase. we build distributions of solutions. We recollect the description of the clustered phase for random k-SAT that arises when the clause density is sufficiently high and k ≥ 9. and poly(log n)-parametrization. . Note that the onset of this phase is rigorously proven only for k ≥ 9. We then use results from ensembles of factor graphs of random k-SAT to bound the various information flows in this directed graphical model. In this phase. monadic LFP is a range limited interaction model that possesses certain directed Markov properties that may be stated in terms of conditional independence and sufficient statistics. Next. we exploit the limitation that first order logic can only express properties in terms of a bounded number of local neighborhoods of the underlying structure. and then utilize the limitations of first order logic. which allows us to compute factorizations locally and parameterize using Gibbs potentials on cliques. By asking FO(LFP) to extend partial assignments on ensembles of random k-SAT. We parametrize the resulting distributions in a manner that demonstrates that irreducible interactions between covariates — namely. which again result in poly(log n)parametrization. Next we introduce ideas from the 1RSB replica symmetry breaking ansatz of statistical physics. we view the LFP computation as “factoring through” several stages of first order computations. In order to demonstrate these relationships.which is completely captured by the logic FO(LFP) on classes of successor structures. We then construct a dynamic graphical model on a product space that captures all the information flows through the various stages of a LFP computation on ensembles of k-SAT structures. This model is directed. and it is here that we will demonstrate our separation. Specifically.

For value limited complex LFP.those that may not be factored any further through conditional independencies — cannot grow faster than poly(log n) in the range limited monadic LFP computed distributions. and demonstrates the separation of P from NP. Using the aforementioned limitations of LFP. This allows us to analyze the behavior of the entire class of polynomial time algorithms on ensembles simultaneously. Our work shows that every polynomial time algorithm must fail to produce solutions to large enough problem instances of k-SAT in the d1RSB phase. This shows that polynomial time algorithms are not capable of solving NP-complete problems in their hard phases. we demonstrate that a purported polynomial time solution to k-SAT would result in solution space that is a mixture of distributions each having an exponentially smaller parametrization than is consistent with the highly constrained d1RSB phases of k-SAT. we show how to obtain a parametrization of the solution space by merging potentials with scope O(n). We show that this would contradict the behavior exhibited by the solution space in the d1RSB phase. . This corresponds to the intuitive picture provided by physics about the emergence of extensive (meaning O(n)) long-range correlations between variables in this phase and also explains the empirical observation that all known polynomial time algorithms break down in this phase.

. . . . . . . . . . . . .1 4. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Distributions with poly(log n)-Parametrization 3. 1 . . . . . . . .3 2. . . . . . . . .Contents 1 Introduction 1. . . . . . . I-maps and D-maps . .1 Two Kinds of poly(log n)-parameterizations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.1 3.1. . .3 3. . . . . . Conditional Independence in Undirected Graphical Models . .1 2. . . . .2 3. . . . . .2 Conditional Independence . . The Markov-Gibbs Correspondence for Directed Models . . . . . . . . . . 3. . . Factor Graphs . .1. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Value Limited Interactions . . 4 Logical Descriptions of Computations 4. 3 5 15 15 17 21 24 26 29 30 32 32 35 38 38 40 41 44 Interaction Models and Conditional Independence 2. . . . . Our Treatment of Range and Value Limited Distributions . . . . . . . .1. . . . . . . . . . .4 2. . . . . . . . . . . . . . On the Atypical Nature of poly(log n)-parameterization . . . . . .4 Range Limited Interactions . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 Inductive Definitions and Fixed Points . . .1 2. . . .1 2 Synopsis of Proof . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1. . . . . . . .5 Gibbs Random Fields and the Hammersley-Clifford Theorem . . . . . . . . Fixed Point Logics for P and PSPACE . . . . .

5. . . . . . . . . . . 6. .1 8. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4 6 The Limitations of LFP . . . . . . . . 8 Separation of Complexity Classes 8. .1 The Transitivity Theorem for LFP . . Aggregate Properties of LFP over Ensembles .1 6. . . . . . . . .4 8. . . Performance of Known Algorithms in the d1RSB Phase . . 106 2 . . . . . . . 8. . . . . . . . . .1. 7 Random Graph Ensembles 7. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Some Perspectives . The d1RSB Phase . . . . . . . . . 105 A. . . . Degree Profiles in Random Graphs . .3 8. . . .2. .1 8. 48 50 51 55 60 62 64 64 66 68 71 74 75 75 76 78 78 80 80 83 85 87 93 96 The 1RSB Ansatz of Statistical Physics 6. . . . . . .2 Locally Tree-Like Property . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 Cores and Frozen Variables . . . . . . .2 Ensembles and Phase Transitions . . . . . . . . . . . .3 8. . . . . . Separation .5 8. . . . . . . . . . 7. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Conditional Independence in Complex Fixed Points . . . .2. . . . . .1 Locality of First Order Logic . 103 105 A Reduction to a Single LFP Operation A. . . . . . . . .2 5 The Link Between Polynomial Time Computation and Conditional Independence 5. . . . . . . .2. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6 Encoding k-SAT into Structures . . . . . . .2 Sections and the Simultaneous Induction Lemma for LFP . . . . . . . . . . . . . The LFP Neighborhood System . . Simple Monadic LFP and Conditional Independence . . . . . . . . . . .2 Measuring Conditional Independence in Range Limited Models . . Parametrization of the ENSP . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 5. . .1 5. . . . . . .1. . . . . . . . . . .2. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Generating Distributions .1 7. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Disentangling the Interactions: The ENSP Model . . . .2 8. . . . . .3 5. . . . . . . . . . . . .1 6. Generating Distributions from LFP .1 Properties of Factor Graph Ensembles . . . .2. . . . .1. .

If. would be profound. If P = NP. and H AMILTONIAN C IRCUIT. Later. since every one of these problems would have a polynomial time solution. Cook [Coo71]. This shifted the focus to methods us? ? ? 3 . and on the general philosophical question of whether human creativity can be automated. Introduction The P = NP question is generally considered one of the most important and far reaching questions in contemporary mathematics and computer science. we could never solve these problems efficiently. The Cook-Levin theorem showed the existence of complete problems for this class. the consequences would be even more stunning. and Levin [Lev73]. which include T RAVELLING S ALESMAN.1. on the other hand P = NP. C LIQUE. From the initial question in logic. many problems central to diverse areas of application were shown to be NP-complete (see [GJ79] for a list). were also NP-complete. The P = NP question is also singular in the number of approaches that researchers have brought to bear upon it over the years. the focus moved to complexity theory where early work used diagonalization and relativization techniques. ¨ The origin of the question seems to date back to a letter from Godel to Von Neumann in 1956 [Sip92]. In subsequent years. However. Formal definitions of the class NP awaited work by Edmonds [Edm65]. and demonstrated that SAT– the problem of determining whether a set of clauses of Boolean literals has a satisfying assignment – was one such problem. Karp [Kar72] showed that twenty-one well known combinatorial problems. [BGS75] showed that these methods were perhaps inadequate to resolve P = NP by demonstrating relativized worlds in which P = NP and others in which P = NP (both relations for the appropriately relativized classes). The implications of this on applications such as cryptography.

This is the area of descriptive complexity theory — the branch of finite model theory that studies the expressive power of various logics viewed through the lens of complexity theory. and also to the negative results mentioned above. the question might be independent of standard axioms of set theory. there has been speculation that resolving the P = NP question might be outside the domain of mathematical techniques. etc. More precisely. The reader is referred to [Coo06] for an introduction which also serves as the official problem description for the Clay Millenium Prize. provided one-way functions exist. also contain accounts of the problem and attempts made to resolve it. INTRODUCTION 4 ing circuit complexity and for a while this approach was deemed the one most likely to resolve the question. NP. and notions of reductions and completeness for complexity classes. The influence of the P = NP question is felt in other areas of mathematics. Owing to the difficulty of resolving the question. Once again. PSPACE. Preliminaries and Notation Treatments of standard notions from complexity theory. An older excellent review is [Sip92]. See [Wig07] for a more recent introduction. a negative result in [RR97] showed that a class of techniques known as “Natural Proofs” that subsumed the above could not separate the classes NP and P. We mention one of these. and complexity theory in particular. 4 ? ? ? ? . such as definitions of the complexity classes P. There are several introductions to the P = NP question and the enormous amount of research that it has produced. See the books [Sip97] and [BDG95] for standard references. The first such results in [HH76] show that some relativized versions of the P = NP question are independent of reasonable formalizations of set theory. BDG95]. Later.1. characterizations of the classes P [Imm86]. This field began with the result [Fag74] that showed that NP corresponds to queries that are expressible in second order existential logic over finite structures. [Var82] and PSPACE over ordered structures were also obtained. may be found in [Sip97. Most books on theoretical computer science in general. since it is central to our work.

For an engaging introduction. please see [Bis06. these may be the variables in a k-SAT instance that interact with each other through the clauses present in the k-SAT formula. and affect the values each other may take. or n Ising spins that interact with each other in a ferromagnet. INTRODUCTION 5 Our work will span various developments in three broad areas. While we have endeavored to be relatively complete in our treatment. first order language. An earlier text is [MPV87]. Through their interaction. etc. Additional references to results will be provided within the chapters. For an early treatment in statistical mechanics of Markov random fields and Gibbs distributions. For example. in the order in which they appear in the work. For ease of presentation. Ch. The proof centers on the study of logical and algorithmic constructs where 5 . Lib04] for excellent treatments of finite model theory and [Imm99] for descriptive complexity. Preliminaries from logic. we recommend [MM09]. 1. vocabulary. Standard references for graphical models include [Lau96] and the more recent [KF09]. may be obtained from any standard text on logic such as [Hod93]. we will assume our variables are binary. Given this. This represents the majority of the effort that went into constructing the proof. In particular. models. see [KS80].. variables exert an influence on each other. we felt that it would be beneficial to explain the various stages of the proof. such as notions of structure. 8]. For a treatment of the statistical physics approach to random CSPs. we refer to [EF06.1 Synopsis of Proof This proof requires a convergence of ideas and an interplay of principles that span several areas within mathematics and physics. and highlight their interplay. we feel it would be helpful to provide standard textual references for these areas.1. Consider a system of n interacting variables such as is ubiquitous in mathematical sciences. The technical details of each stage are described in subsequent chapters.

Though initially these two distributions appear quite different. 1). In the first example. We will call such distributions poly(log n)-parametrizable. 0) and (1. 0). 1. we can specify the joint distribution since the variates are independent. c > 1 points. 0. there is a commonality. Though both distributions have simple descriptions. (1. 0. the reasons are very different. Consider next the distribution over 5 covariates which is uniformly supported only on (0. In the second example. There are two components to this. 1)} There is no correlation between the two variables in this distribution. We will see that such distributions are at the heart of polynomial time computability. the two points on which it is supported. 1. With this much information. the covariates are tightly correlated. 1). but the distribution is not “ample”. 0. 0). The first measures correlations. A distribution over n covariates is defined to be ample when it is supported on cn .1. in hard phases of constraint satisfaction problems such as k-SAT. They are independent. (0. Consider first the uniform distribution over all binary pairs {(0. INTRODUCTION such complex interactions have “simple” descriptions. We will study distributions on n covariates that require only 2poly(log n) parameters to specify. we again need two parameters to specify the distribution — namely. 6 What constitutes a simple description of the interaction of n variables? The number of independent parameters required to specify the joint distribution is a measure of the complexity of interactions between the covariates. (1. 6 . Both can be specified with just two parameters. and the second measures “ampleness” under those correlations. This causes all polynomial time algorithms to fail on them. This is best explained with two examples. 1. Conversely. the two parameters are the probability of the first variate and the probability of the second variate taking the value 1. the space of solutions is both correlated and ample. In this distribution.

1. INTRODUCTION

7

A distribution is simple to describe if there is either independence between the variates (as was the case in our first example) or limited support of the distribution (as was the case in our second example). We call the first case a range limited interaction because variates interact with a limited range of other variates. The second case is called value limited since the number of joint values the variates can take is limited. The common feature underlying both cases is that the distribution has a very economical parametrization as compared to “true” joint distributions (more precisely, statistically typical joint distributions) on n covariates, which require O(2n ) parameters to specify. Thus, we wish to study such distributions, and will consider both the cases of range and value limited interactions. At this point, we visit the topic of graphical interaction models and conditional independence which is a manifestation of range limited interactions. While complete independence between variates in a complex system is rare, conditional independence between blocks of variables is fairly frequent. We see that factorization into conditionally independent pieces manifests in terms of economical parametrizations of the joint distribution. Graphical models offer us a way to measure the size of these interactions. The factorization of interactions can be represented by a corresponding factorization of the joint distribution of the variables over the space of configurations of the n variables subject to the constraints of the problem. It has been realized in the statistics and physics communities for long that certain multivariate distributions decompose into the product of a few types of factors, with each factor itself having only a few variables. Such a factorization of joint distributions into simpler factors can often be represented by graphical models whose vertices index the variables. A factorization of the joint distribution according to the graph implies that the interactions between variables can be factored into a sequence of “local interactions” between vertices that lie within neighborhoods of each other. Consider the case of an undirected graphical model. The factoring of interactions may be stated in terms of either a Markov property, or a Gibbs property

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1. INTRODUCTION

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with respect to the graph. Specifically, the local Markov property of such models states that the distribution of a variable is only dependent directly on that of its neighbors in an appropriate neighborhood system. Of course, two variables arbitrarily far apart can influence each other, but only through a sequence of successive local interactions. The global Markov property for such models states that when two sets of vertices are separated by a third, this induces a conditional independence on variables corresponding to these sets of vertices, given those corresponding to the third set. On the other hand, the Gibbs property of a distribution with respect to a graph asserts that the distribution factors into a product of potential functions over the maximal cliques of the graph. Each potential captures the interaction between the set of variables that form the clique. The Hammersley-Clifford theorem states that a positive distribution having the Markov property with respect to a graph must have the Gibbs property with respect to the same graph. The condition of positivity is essential in the Hammersley-Clifford theorem for undirected graphs. However, it is not required when the distribution satisfies certain directed models. In that case, the Markov property with respect to the directed graph implies that the distribution factorizes into local conditional probability distributions (CPDs). Furthermore, if the model is a directed acyclic graph (DAG), we can obtain the Gibbs property with respect to an undirected graph constructed from the DAG by a process known as moralization. We will return to the directed case shortly. Chapter 2 develops the principles underlying the framework of graphical models. We will not use any of these models in particular, but construct another directed model on a larger product space that utilizes these principles and tailors them to the case of least fixed point logic, which we turn to next. At this point, we change to the setting of finite model theory. Finite model theory is a branch of mathematical logic that has provided machine independent characterizations of various important complexity classes including P, NP, and PSPACE. In particular, the class of polynomial time computable queries on successor structures has a precise description — it is the class of queries

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1. INTRODUCTION

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expressible in the logic FO(LFP) which extends first order logic with the ability to compute least fixed points of positive first order formulae. Least fixed point constructions iterate an underlying positive first order formula, thereby building up a relation in stages. We take a geometric picture of a monadic LFP computation. Initially the relation to be built is empty. At the first stage, certain elements, whose types satisfy the first order formula, enter the relation. This changes the neighborhoods of these elements, and therefore in the next stage, other elements (whose neighborhoods have been thus changed in the previous stages) become eligible for entering the relation. The positivity of the formula implies that once an element is in the relation, it cannot be removed, and so the iterations reach a fixed point in a polynomial number of steps. Importantly from our point of view, the positivity and the stage-wise nature of LFP means that the computation has a directed representation on a graphical model that we will construct. Recall at this stage that distributions over directed models enjoy factorization even when they are not defined over the entire space of configurations. We may interpret this as follows: monadic LFP relies on the assumption that variables that are highly entangled with each other due to constraints can be disentangled in a way that they now interact with each other through conditional independencies induced by a certain directed graphical model construction. Of course, an element does influence others arbitrarily far away, but only through a sequence of such successive local and bounded interactions. The reason LFP computations terminate in polynomial time is analogous to the notions of conditional independence that underlie efficient algorithms on graphical models having sufficient factorization into local interactions. In order to apply this picture in full generality to all LFP computations, we use the simultaneous induction lemma to push all simultaneous inductions into nested ones, and then employ the transitivity theorem to encode nested fixed points as sections of a single relation of higher arity. We then see that this is the case of a value limited interaction between O(n) variates. Namely, although n variates interact with each other, they do not take cn joint values. Building

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Namely. Namely. In the past two decades. This phase is called 1dRSB (1Step Dynamic Replica Symmetry Breaking) and was conjectured by physicists as part of the 1RSB ansatz. It demonstrates the properties of high correlation between large sets of variables that we will need. In search of regimes where such situations arise. we turn to the study of ensemble random k-SAT where the properties of the ensemble are studied as a function of the clause density parameter. The distribution is ample. and blocks of n variables are instantiated cn distinct ways under these strong correlations. They are so “dense” that they cannot be factored through the bottleneck of the local and bounded properties of first order logic that limit each stage of LFP computation. 1.1. the emergence of cores that are sets of 10 . and highly correlated distributions having no factorization into conditionally independent pieces (remember the value limited case is already ruled out since the distribution is ample). INTRODUCTION 10 the machinery that can precisely map all these cases to the picture of either factorization into range limited or value limited interactions is the subject of Chapter 5. we have ample. We need a regime of NP-complete problems where interactions between variables have the following two properties. 2. have gathered much research attention. The 1RSB ansatz of statistical mechanics says that the space of solutions of random k-SAT shatters into exponentially many clusters of solutions when the clause density is sufficiently high. The preceding insights now direct us to the setting necessary in order to separate P from NP. We will now add ideas from this field which lies on the intersection of statistical mechanics and computer science to the set of ideas in the proof. Specifically. Intuitively. this should happen when each variable has to simultaneously satisfy constraints involving an extensive (O(n)) fraction of the variables in the problem. it takes cn joint values. It has since been rigorously proved for high values of k. the phase changes in the solution geometry of random k-SAT ensembles as the clause density increases.

Due to strong O(n) correlations that cannot be factored through conditional independencies. INTRODUCTION 11 C clauses all of whose variables lie in a set of size C (this actually forces C to be O(n)). which arises from their instantiations in exponentially many clusters. they resist attack by local and bounded first order stages of a monadic LFP computation. Due to their ampleness. Changing the value of a variable within a cluster necessitates changing O(n) other variables in order to arrive at another satisfying solution. We reproduce the rigorously proved picture of the 1RSB ansatz that we will need in Chapter 6. we make a brief excursion into the random graph theory of 11 . we will work in this regime. In other words. the variables in these cores “freeze. as the clause density is increased towards the SAT-unSAT threshold. there is empirical evidence that this picture does not hold. For lower values of k. We should stress that the picture described above is known to hold in the case of random k-SAT only for k ≥ 9. Therefore. Since we need all the known properties of the d1RSB phase. In Chapter 7. our proof does not say anything about the efficacy of various algorithms for 3-SAT. Finally. which would be in a different cluster. As the clause density is increased. 1. Such stages are precisely the ones that we need since they possess the following two properties. 2. for instance. they resist attack by complex fixed points that produce value limited distributions. the solution space vanishes. they take the same value throughout the cluster. each cluster collapses steadily towards a single solution. Furthermore. such as k = 3. as the clause density increases above the SAT-unSAT threshold. We specifically prove that the d1RSB phase is out of reach for polynomial time algorithms.1. the “true” d1RSB phase arises in random k-SAT for k ≥ 9 as the clause density rises above (2k /k) ln k. Physicists think of this as an “energy gap” between the clusters.” Namely. that is maximally far apart from every other cluster. and this phase is only reached at k ≥ 9. and the underlying instance of SAT is no longer satisfiable.

Finally in Chapter 8. In order to do so. We call this the Element-Neighborhood-Stage Product. we encode k-SAT instances as queries on structures over a certain vocabulary in a way that LFP captures all polynomial time computable queries on them. Next. This model is only polynomially larger than the structure itself. At this point. INTRODUCTION 12 the factor graph ensembles underlying random k-SAT. 1. These provide us with bounds on the largest irreducible interactions between variables during the various stages of a LFP computation. specifically that neighborhoods that occur during the LFP computation are of size poly(log n) asymptotically almost surely in the n → ∞ limit. First. 12 . or ENSP model. we obtain results that asymptotically almost surely upper bound the size of the largest cliques in the neighborhood systems on the Gaifman graphs that we study later when we build models for the range limited interactions that occur during monadic LFP. 3. The distribution of solutions generated by LFP then is a mixture of distributions each of whom factors according to an ENSP.1. We then set up the framework whereby we can generate distributions of solutions to each instance by asking a purported LFP algorithm for k-SAT to extend partial assignments on variables to full satisfying assignments. we embed the space of covariates into a larger product space which allows us to “disentangle” the flow of information during a LFP computation. we utilize the following properties for range limited models. The locality and boundedness properties of FO that put constraints upon each individual stage of the LFP computation. The directed nature of the model that comes from properties of LFP. The properties of neighborhoods that are obtained by studies on random graph ensembles. 2. we pull all the threads and machinery together. we wish to measure the growth of independent parameters of distributions of solutions whose embeddings into the larger product space factor over the ENSP. From here. This allows us to study the computations performed by the LFP with various initial values under a directed graphical model.

In particular. Next. In other words.) Now we close the loop and show that a distribution of solutions for k-SAT constructed by any purported LFP algorithm (monadic or complex) would not have enough parameters to describe the known picture of k-SAT in the d1RSB phase for k ≥ 9 — namely. we would have conditionally independent variation between blocks of poly(log n) variables. thereby giving us poly(log n)-parametrization. we will see features that reflect the poly(log n) factor size of the conditionally independent parametrization. We build a technique that merges various O(n) potentials that are poly(log n)-parametrizable into a single potential that is also poly(log n)-parametrizable. but they are limited to only cpoly(log n) values.1. the presence of extensive frozen variables in exponentially many clusters with Hamming distance between the clusters being O(n). The crucial property that allows us to analyze mixtures of range limited distributions that factor according to some ENSP is that we can parametrize the distribution using potentials on cliques of its moralized graph that are of size at most poly(log n). This shows that LFP cannot express the satisfiability query in the d1RSB phase for high enough k. and separates P from NP. This means that when the mixture is exponentially numerous. such as the closure ordinal being a polynomial in the structure size. This behavior will manifest when exponentially many solutions are generated by the LFP construction. interactions are of size O(n). This also explains the 13 . and covers the entire graphical model (that has poly(n) variables. Simple properties of LFP. We show how to deal with mixtures of value limited models. causing the Hamming distance between solutions to be of this order as well. The case of value limited LFP also leads to a contradiction since it would be unable to explain the exponentially many cluster instantiations of cores that are present in the d1RSB phase. INTRODUCTION 13 4. solutions for k-SAT that are constructed using range limited LFP will display aggregate behavior that reflects that they are constructed out of “building blocks” of size poly(log n). in exponentially numerous mixtures of range limited models. Here. we come to value limited models.

1. INTRODUCTION 14 empirical observation that all known polynomial time algorithms fail in the d1RSB phase for high values of k. and also establishes on rigorous principles the physics intuition about the onset of extensive long range correlations in the d1RSB phase that causes all known polynomial time algorithms to fail. are the source of failure of polynomial time algorithms. 14 . since it says that extensive O(n) correlations that (a) cannot factor through conditional independencies and (b) are amply instantiated. It also completes this picture.

Because of the presence of such dependencies in a complex system with interacting variables. The values a random variable takes will be denoted by the corresponding lower case letters. However. one often hopes that by exploiting the conditional independence between certain sets of variables. and so 15 . Both independence and conditional independence among sets of variables have been standard objects of study in probability and statistics.1 Conditional Independence We first fix some notation. y) will denote the joint mass of (X. it is not often that one encounters independence between variables. Throughout this work. PY (y). Interaction Models and Conditional Independence Systems involving a large number of variables interacting in complex ways are ubiquitous in the mathematical sciences. Y ). we assume our random variables to be discrete unless stated otherwise. We may also assume that they take values in a common finite state space.Y (x. Z. such as x. Y. etc. These interactions induce dependencies between the variables. PZ (z) respectively. Z by PX (x). one may avoid the cost of enumeration of an exponential number of hypothesis in evaluating functions of the distribution that are of interest. We denote the probability mass functions of discrete random variables X. z. which we usually denote by Λ following physics convention. Similarly. Y. 2. one frequently encounters conditional independence between sets of variables. Random variables will be denoted by upper case letters such as X. y. PX.2. Speaking in terms of algorithmic complexity.

2. Thus. In particular. and can be replaced by the following symmetric definition. The asymmetric version which says that the information contained in Y is superfluous to determining the value of X once the value of Z is known may be represented as P (x | y. Let notation be as above. then T is a sufficient statistic if P (θ | x) = P (θ | t). This is an asymmetric definition. if Θ is the parameter to be estimated. z) = P (x | z). if Θ is a posterior that is being 16 . no further information about the value of X can be extracted from the value of Y . all there is to be gained from the sample in terms of information about Θ is already present in T alone. Thus.2. X is conditionally independent of Y given Z. E XAMPLE 2. Several notions from statistics may be recast in this language. The notion of conditional independence is central to our proof. The notion of sufficiency may be seen as the presence of a certain conditional independence [Daw79]. y | z) = P (x | z)P (y | z). We freely use the term “distribution” for the probability mass function. Z) is equal to the conditional distribution of X given Z alone. if ⊥Y P (x. written X⊥ | Z. A sufficient statistic T in the problem of parameter estimation is that which renders the estimate of the parameter independent of any further information from the sample X. The intuitive definition of the conditional independence of X from Y given Z is that the conditional distribution of X given (Y. INTERACTION MODELS AND CONDITIONAL INDEPENDENCE 16 on. Daw80]. Definition 2. y) = P (x)P (y). The notion of conditional independence pervades statistical theory [Daw79. We drop subscripts on the P when it causes no confusion.1. This means that once the value of Z is given. Recall that X is independent of Y if P (x.

. Xn ).1 illustrates an undirected graphical model with ten variables. but not less than those prescribed by the graph. E) whose n vertices index a set of n random variables (X1 . . such a statement would lead to a reduction in the complexity of inference.2. 17 . . . broadly. The random vector (X1 . xn ). and its factorization. Let P be a probability measure on the configuration space. Clearly. two kinds of graphical models: directed and undirected. . We first consider the case of undirected models.2 Conditional Independence in Undirected Graphical Models Graphical models offer a convenient framework and methodology to describe and exploit conditional independence between sets of variables in a system. One may think of the graphical model as representing the family of distributions whose law fulfills the conditional independence statements made by the graph. . Xn ) then takes values in a configuration space Ωn = Λn . We will study the interplay between conditional independence properties of P and its factorization properties. INTERACTION MODELS AND CONDITIONAL INDEPENDENCE 17 computed by Bayesian inference. Fig. Random Fields and Markov Properties Graphical models are very useful because they allow us to read off conditional independencies of the distributions that satisfy these models from the graph itself. Xn ) simply by x = (x1 . . The notation XV \I will denote the set of variables excluding those whose indices lie in the set I. . . . A member of this family may satisfy any number of additional conditional independence statements. Recall that we wish to study the relation between conditional independence of a distribution with respect to a graphical model. In general. . . 2. We will denote values of the random vector (X1 . . we will consider graphs G = (V. There are. 2. . The random variables all take their values in a common state space Λ. then the above relation says that the posterior depends on the data X through the value of T alone. . .

the relationship of being a neighbor is mutual: si ∈ Nj ⇔ sj ∈ Ni . one may write increasingly stringent conditional independence properties that a set of random variables satisfying a graphical model may possess. Namely. with respect to the graph.1: An undirected graphical model. Definition 2.2. A⊥ | C. and / 2. for 18 . a site is not a neighbor to itself (this also means there are no self-loops in the induced graph): si ∈ Ni . In many applications. For random variables to satisfy the global Markov property relative to this graphical model. The vertices in set A are separated from those in set B by set C. In order to state these. Given a set of variables S known as sites. we first define two graph theoretic notions — those of a general neighborhood system. We will often be interested in homogeneous neighborhood systems of S on a graph in which. the sites are vertices on a graph. Each vertex represents a random variable. and of separation. and the neighborhood system Ni is the set of neighbors of vertex si on the graph. INTERACTION MODELS AND CONDITIONAL INDEPENDENCE 18 A C B Figure 2. ⊥B Towards that end. a neighborhood system NS on S is a collection of subsets {Ni : 1 ≤ i ≤ n} indexed by the sites in S that satisfy 1. the corresponding sets of random variables must be conditionally independent.3.

. sj ) ≤ r}. in such neighborhood systems. where r will be determined by considerations from logic that will be introduced in the next two chapters. B. . INTERACTION MODELS AND CONDITIONAL INDEPENDENCE each si ∈ S. We will study the following two Markov properties. C be three disjoint subsets of the vertices V of a graph G. the neighborhood of a site is simply the set of sites that lie in the radius r ball around that site. 19 Namely. The distribution Xi (for every i) is conditionally independent of the rest of the graph given just the variables that lie in the neighborhood of the vertex. Let A. A probability measure P on Ωn is said to satisfy certain Markov properties with respect to the graph when it satisfies the appropriate conditional independencies with respect to that graph. . C of V such that C separates A from B in the graph. . We will need to use the general case. the influence that variables exert on any given variable is completely described by the influence that is exerted through the neighborhood variables alone. Definition 2. 2.5. Xn ) taking values in a configuration space Ωn . and their relation to factorization of the distribution. . Definition 2. ⊥B We are interested in distributions that do satisfy such properties. In other words. 1. Note that a nearest neighbor system that is often used in physics is just the case of r = 1. it holds that A⊥ | C. Xn ) and the vector (X1 . The set C is said to separate A and B if every path from a vertex in A to a vertex in B must pass through C. the neighborhood Ni is defined as Gi := {sj ∈ S : d(si . Now we return to the case of the vertices indexing random variables (X1 . The global Markov property. . . The local Markov property. . We will use the term “variable” freely in place of “site” when we move to logic. B. and will examine what effect these Markov properties have on the factorization of the 19 .2.4. For any disjoint subsets A.

The second condition says that Markov random fields satisfy the local Markov property with respect to the neighborhood system. 20 . this is done in the context of Markov random fields. . Definition 2. ⊥{x / A Markov random field is the natural generalization of this picture to higher dimensions and more general neighborhood systems. n. the influence of far away vertices must “factor through” local interactions. We motivate a Markov random field with the simple example of a Markov chain {Xn : n ≥ 0}.6. Namely. Xn is a Markov random field with respect to a neighborhood system on G if and only if the following two conditions are satisfied. 1. For most applications. This may be interpreted as: The influence of far away variables is limited to that which is transmitted through the interspersed intermediate variables — there is no “direct” influence of far away vertices beyond that which is factored through such intermediate interactions. we can think of interactions between variables in Markov random fields as being characterized by “piecewise local” interactions. n + 1} | Xn−1 . The collection of random variables X1 .2. The distribution at each vertex is conditionally independent of all other vertices given just those in its neighborhood: P (Xi | XV \i ) = P (Xi | XNi ) These local conditional distributions are known as local characteristics of the field. . . The distribution is positive on the space of configurations: P (x) > 0 for x ∈ Ωn . . Xn+1 }. INTERACTION MODELS AND CONDITIONAL INDEPENDENCE 20 distributions. The Markov property of this chain is that any variable in the chain is conditionally independent of all other variables in the chain given just its immediate neighbors: Xn ⊥ k : k ∈ {n − 1. Thus. 2.

2. 21 . With this positivity condition. See [KS80] for a treatment that focusses on this setting. a vertex may influence any other arbitrarily far away. Markov random fields satisfy the global Markov property as well. Note the positivity condition on Markov random fields. the complete set of conditionals given by the local characteristics of a field determine the joint distribution [Bes74]. we need only know the local joint distributions and use these to infer the correlations of far away variables. through such local interactions. Their local properties were later found to have applications to analysis of images and other systems that can be modelled through some form of spatial interaction. See also [Li09]. that this is a considerably simpler picture than having to consult the joint distribution over all variables for all interactions. Markov random fields with respect to a neighborhood system satisfy the global Markov property with respect to the graph constructed from the neighborhood system.2. This field started with [Bes74] and came into its own with [GG84] which exploited the Markov-Gibbs correspondence that we will deal with shortly. We now describe another random field that has a global characterization — the Gibbs random field. INTERACTION MODELS AND CONDITIONAL INDEPENDENCE 21 However. We shall see in later chapters that this picture. their local conditional independence characteristics.1 Gibbs Random Fields and the Hammersley-Clifford Theorem We are interested in how the Markov properties of the previous section translate into factorization of the distribution. with some additional caveats.7. such as Ising spins. is at the heart of polynomial time computations. Notice though. Markov random fields originated in statistical mechanics [Dob68]. Note that Markov random fields are characterized by a local condition — namely. for here. Theorem 2. 2. where they model probability measures on configurations of interacting particles.

3. the distribution tends to be uniform over the configurations. It controls the sharpness of the distribution. T is a constant known as the “Temperature” that has origins in statistical mechanics. a Gibbs random field has a probability distribution that factorizes into its constituent “interaction potentials. At high temperatures. At low temperatures. 2.2. . broken up into cliques. These capture the interactions between vertices in the clique. over the set of cliques C of G. . The functions Vc : c ∈ C are the clique potentials such that the value of Vc (x) depends only on the coordinates of x that lie in the clique c. Z is the partition function and is a normalizing factor that ensures that the measure sums to unity. each particle 22 . . T Evaluating Z explicitly is hard in general since it is a summation over each of the Λn configurations in the space. A Gibbs random field (or Gibbs distribution) with respect to a neighborhood system NG on the graph G is a probability measure on the set of configurations Ωn having a representation of the form P (x1 . Z T exp(− U (x) ). Thus. Z= x∈Ωn U (x) 1 exp(− ).” This says that the probability of a configuration depends only on the interactions that occur between the variables. INTERACTION MODELS AND CONDITIONAL INDEPENDENCE 22 Definition 2. xn ) = where 1.8. . U (x) is the “energy” of configuration x and takes the following form as a sum U (x) = c∈C Vc (x). For example. let us say that in a system. it tends towards a distribution that is supported only on the lowest energy states.

The precise notion is that of independent parameters it takes to specify the distribution. One may immediately see that the degree of a distribution is a measure of the complexity of interactions in the system since it is the size of the largest set of variables whose interaction cannot be split up in terms of smaller interactions between subsets. Factorization into conditionally independent interactions of scope k means that we can specify the distribution in O(γ k ) parameters rather than O(γ n ). The theorem appears in the unpublished manuscript [HC71] and uses a certain “blackening algebra” in the proof. Thus.2. The first published proofs appear in [Bes74] and [Mou74]. The following example from [Mou74] shows that relaxing this 23 . Theorem 2. Note that the condition of positivity on the distribution (which is part of the definition of a Markov random field) is essential to state the theorem in full generality. The support of the potential Vc is the cardinality of the clique c. Definition 2.9. X is Markov random field with respect to a neighborhood system NG on the graph G if and only if it is a Gibbs random field with respect to the same neighborhood system. the Gibbs factorization carries in it a faithful representation of the underlying interactions between the particles. denoted by deg(P ). The Hammersley-Clifford theorem relates the two types of random fields. We will return to this at the end of this chapter. The degree of the distribution P . the degree of the distribution is the size of the largest clique that occurs in its factorization. In other words. Let P be a Gibbs distribution whose energy function U (x) = c∈C Vc (x). is the maximum of the supports of the potentials. INTERACTION MODELS AND CONDITIONAL INDEPENDENCE 23 interacts with only 2 other particles at a time. each of whom had just three variables in its support. This type of factorization obviously yields a “simpler description” of the distribution. One would expect this to be the hurdle in efficient algorithmic applications. (if one prefers to think in terms of statistical mechanics) then the energy of each state would be expressible as a sum of potentials.10 (Hammersley-Clifford).

and factor nodes. 1. 0. (0. 0) (0. 1) (0.2. 1. 24 . We may check that this distribution has the global Markov property with respect to the 4 vertex cycle graph. INTERACTION MODELS AND CONDITIONAL INDEPENDENCE 24 condition allows us to build distributions having the Markov property.2: A factor graph showing the three clause 3-SAT formula (X1 ∨ X4 ∨ ¬X6 ) ∧ (¬X1 ∨ X2 ∨ ¬X3 ) ∧ (X4 ∨ X5 ∨ X6 ). 0. 0. X4 }. 0. x1 x2 x3 x4 x5 x6 C1 C2 C3 Figure 2. 1. 1. ⊥X ⊥X However. See Fig. X3 . They are a class of undirected models. 1. 1. 1. 1). 2.11. while the remaining combinations are disallowed. but not the Gibbs property.3 Factor Graphs Factor graphs are bipartite graphs that express the decomposition of a “global” multivariate function into “local” functions of subsets of the set of variables. 0. 0. 0) (1. the distribution does not factorize into Gibbs potentials. Namely we have X1 ⊥ 3 | X2 . The two types of nodes in a factor graph correspond to variable nodes. 0) (1. 2. 1. 1) (0. E XAMPLE 2. X4 and X2 ⊥ 4 | X1 . Consider a system of four binary variables {X1 .2. X2 . X3 . 0. 0) (1. Each of the following combinations have probability 1/8. 0. A dashed line indicates that the variable appears negated in the clause. 1) (1.

. As might be expected from the preceding comments.. in general. Then. See [KFaL98] and [AM00] for surveys of this field. most notably perhaps in coding theory where they are used as graphical models that underlie various decoding algorithms based on forms of belief propagation (also known as the sum-product algorithm) that is an exact algorithm for computing marginals on tree graphs but performs remarkably well even in the presence of loops.2. x6 ). x5 . these do not focus on conditional independence. a positive distribution that satisfies the global Markov property with respect to a factor graph satisfies the Gibbs property with respect to its completion. and no others. x5 . and connecting it to all the variable nodes in the clique. A Hammersley-Clifford type theorem holds over the completion of a factor graph. x6 )ϕ2 (x1 . x2 . INTERACTION MODELS AND CONDITIONAL INDEPENDENCE 25 The distribution modelled by this factor graph will show a factorization as follows p(x1 . x6 )ϕ2 (x1 . This global information is contained in the partition function. x2 . x6 ) = where Z = 1 ϕ1 (x1 . The system must embed each of these factors in ways that are global and not obvious from the factors.x6 Factor graphs offer a finer grained view of factorization of a distribution than Bayesian networks or Markov networks... the factorization above is not the one what we are seeking — it does not imply a series of conditional independencies in the joint distribution.1) (2. x6 ). Factor graphs have been very useful in various applications. x4 . (2. . Thus. In summary.2) x1 .. The completion of a factor graph is obtained by introducing a new function node for each clique. Z ϕ1 (x1 . x3 )ϕ(x4 . x3 )ϕ(x4 . these factors do not represent conditionally independent pieces of the joint distributions. but rather on algorithmic applications of local features (such as locally tree like) of factor graphs. . x4 . A clique in a factor graph is a set of variable nodes such that every pair in the set is connected by a function node. One should keep in mind that this factorization is (in general) far from being a factorization into conditionals and does not express conditional independence. . 25 .

if we denote the set of parents of the variable xi by pa(xi ).3 (left). which is simply a directed graph without any directed cycles in it. INTERACTION MODELS AND CONDITIONAL INDEPENDENCE 26 2. ·) between vertices which is just the length of the shortest path between them. we say that x is a parent of y. and y is the child of x. Finally. Similarly. Note that DAGs is allowed to have loops (and loopy DAGs are central to the study of iterative decoding algorithms on graphical models). x3 . . then 26 . The corresponding factorization of the joint density that is induced by the DAG model is p(x1 .2. . while the set of children of x is denoted by ch(a). A set of random variables whose interdependencies may be represented using a DAG is known as a Bayesian network or a directed Markov field. 2. In general. every joint distribution that satisfies this DAG factorizes as above. . In moralization. we (a) replace a directed edge from one vertex to another by an undirected one between the same two vertices and (b) “marry” the parents of each vertex by introducing edges between each pair of parents of the vertex at the head of the former directed edge. . The set of vertices from whom directed paths lead to x is called the ancestor set of x and is denoted an(x). one may construct an undirected one by a process known as moralization. x4 ). Some specific points of additional terminology for directed graphs are as follows. x6 ) = p(x1 )p(x2 )p(x3 )p(x4 | x1 )p(x5 | x2 . Consider the DAG of Fig. If there is a directed edge from x to y. Given a directed graphical model. The process is illustrated in the figure below. The idea is best illustrated with a simple example. we often assume that the graph is equipped with a distance function d(·. Thus.4 The Markov-Gibbs Correspondence for Directed Models Consider first a directed acyclic graph (DAG). the set of vertices to whom directed paths from x lead is called the descendant set of x and is denoted de(x). The set of parents of x is denoted by pa(x).

) for v ∈ V defined on Λ×Λ| pa(v)| where the first factor is the state space for Xv and the second for Xpa(v) . We will use the result from [LDLL90]. dropping the positivity requirement) for the case of directed Markov fields. however. . such that k v (yv . one may remove the positivity condition safely. . In doing so. In some cases however. . xpa(v) )µv (dyv ) = 1 27 . the joint distribution of (x1 . .3: The moralization of the DAG on the left to obtain the moralized p(x1 . [LDLL90] extends the Hammersley-Clifford correspondence to the case of arbitrary distributions (namely. A measure p admits a recursive factorization according to graph G if there exist non-negative functions. .2. which we reproduce next. 2. Definition 2. In particular. INTERACTION MODELS AND CONDITIONAL INDEPENDENCE 27 x1 x2 x3 x5 undirected graph on the right.. We have seen that relaxing the positivity condition on the distribution in the Hammersley-Clifford theorem (Thm. they simplify and strengthen an earlier criterion for directed graphs given by [KSC84]. . is to obtain a Markov-Gibbs equivalence for such graphical models in the same manner that the Hammersley-Clifford theorem provided for positive Markov random fields. k v (. . known as kernels. xn ) = n=1 p(xn | pan ). We want.10) cannot be done in general.12. xn ) factorizes as N x1 x4 x2 x3 x5 x4 Figure 2. . .

then it admits a factorization (into potentials) according to the moral graph G m . and neither the node nor any of its descendants is in C. §8. Consider the set of all directed paths coming from a node in A and going to a node in B. 2.13. and C be sets of vertices on a directed model. ⊥B 28 . 1..3. For directed models. INTERACTION MODELS AND CONDITIONAL INDEPENDENCE and p = f. Arrows on the path meet head-to-tail or tail-to-tail at a node in C.2. the kernels k v (. Let A. In this case. §3. and the joint distribution must satisfy A⊥ | C.B. then C is said to D-separate A from B. If all paths from A to B are blocked as above.1] and [Bis06.2. We simply state the property and refer the reader to [KF09. The notion is what one would expect intuitively if one views directed models as representing “flows” of probabilistic influence. Theorem 2.µ where f (x) = v∈V 28 k v (xv . Arrows meet head-to-head at a node. D-separation We have considered the notion of separation on undirected models and its effect on the set of conditional independencies satisfied by the distributions that factor according to the model. If p admits a recursive factorization according to G.2] for discussion and examples. xpa(v) ) are the conditional densities for the distribution of Xv conditioned on the value of its parents Xpa(v) = xpa(v) . there is an analogous notion of separation known as D-separation. Such a path is said to be blocked if one of the following two scenarios occurs. xpa(v) ). Now let G m be the moral graph corresponding to G.

and C that is satisfied by the distri⊥B bution is reflected in the graph.4] for examples). In other words a P-map expresses precisely the set of conditional independencies that are present in the distribution. Indeed.15. Thus. a completely disconnected graph having no edges is trivially a D-map for any distribution. A graph that is both an I-map and a D-map for a distribution is called its P-map (’perfect map’). A graph (directed or undirected) is said to be a I-map (’independencies map’) for a distribution if every conditional independence statement of the form A⊥ | C for sets of variables A. Definition 2. §3. INTERACTION MODELS AND CONDITIONAL INDEPENDENCE 29 2. Definition 2. Thus. Not all distributions have P-maps. Definition 2. A graph (directed or undirected) is said to be a D-map (’dependencies map’) for a distribution if every conditional independence statement of the form A⊥ | C for sets of variables A. A I-map may express less conditional independencies than the distribution possesses. The conditional independence properties of these two classes are obtained differently. 29 .8.16. and C that is expressed ⊥B by the graph is also satisfied by the distribution.2.5 I-maps and D-maps We have seen that there are two broad classes of graphical models — undirected and directed — which may be used to represent the interaction of variables in a system. A D-map may express more conditional independencies than the distribution possesses. B. the class of distributions having directed P-maps is itself distinct from the class having undirected P-maps and neither equals the class of all distributions (see [Bis06. B. a completely connected graph is trivially a I-map for any distribution.14.

. n covariates require 2n − 1 parameters to specify their joint distribution. we could find that at the remaining configuration. we would expect that it would be “somewhat like” a joint distribution on only poly(log n) covariates. Distributions with poly(log n)-Parametrization We now come to a central theme in our work. given the function value at 2n − 1 configurations. . we would have to give the probability mass function at each of the 2n configurations that these n variables can take jointly. This statement can be made more precise — the typical joint distribution on n variates requires O(2n ) parameters for its specification. Thus. We shall refer to such distributions as having poly(log n)-parametrization. Indeed. This means that in the absence of any additional information. . xn ) in the absence of any additional information. . a joint distribution that requires only 2poly(log n) parameters to specify would seem quite unusual. Let us take an extreme case of such a “simple” joint distribution. . We would intuitively expect it to be “much simpler” in some way than the typical joint distribution on n variates. it takes exponentially many in n parameters to specify a “true” joint distribution of n covariates. In other words — distributions on n variates but requiring only 2poly(log n) parameters for their specification are like the typical distribution on poly(log n) variates. . The only constraint given on these probability masses is that they must sum up to 1.3. Take the case of n covariates. Xn ). . Thus. . except that we are provided with one critical piece of extra 30 . Consider a system of n binary covariates (X1 . To specify their joint distribution p(x1 . because of the exponent of poly(log n). In light of the above.

Definition 3. but not both. . In that case. we require only two parameters to specify the distribution. . . Consider the distribution on n variates that is non-zero only at (0. it is severely limited by the small number of joint values the covariates take. 1. just the p(xi )). A distribution on n variates will be called ample if it is supported on cn joint values for c > 1. Here. as a result of the independence. 1). DISTRIBUTIONS WITH poly(LOG N )-PARAMETRIZATION 31 information — that the n variates are independent of each other. nor limited support. the probability that it takes the value 1. We will see that distributions constructed by polynomial time algorithms can have one or the other property. that will permit more economical parametrization. Thus. A distribution on n variates will be said to have irreducible O(n) correlations if there exist correlations between O(n) variates that do not permit factorization into smaller scopes through conditional independencies. we make the following definition. In both cases above. Note that distributions having both these properties require O(2n ) independent parameters to specify. . we go from exponentially many independent parameters to linearly many if we know that the variates are independent. 31 . 0) and (1. . it is because the distribution is supported on only two out of a possible 2n values. 0. we would need 1 parameter to specify each of their individual distributions — namely. In other words. ample distributions take the typical number of joint values. In other words. In this case. In order to state the typical case of a n variate distribution. But once again.2. . It is distributions that possess both these properties that are problematic for polynomial time algorithms. the distribution on n covariates required far fewer parameters to specify than the typical n variate distribution does. the variates are highly correlated. These n parameters then specify the joint distribution simply because the distribution factorizes completely into factors whose scopes are single variables (namely.3. Let us consider another extreme case of such a distribution. There is neither factorization. Definition 3.1. . .

they have poly(log n)parametrization. Namely.1 Two Kinds of poly(log n)-parameterizations We have seen that distributions on n variates that are poly(log n)-parametrizable are very atypical. and what would be its limitations? This question is really the heart of P = NP. the distribution of solutions in the hard phases of NP-complete problems displays two properties 1. the distribution of solutions requires exponentially many parameters to specify.3. When do they arise? They can be studied in two categories. What is far more frequent 32 .1. DISTRIBUTIONS WITH poly(LOG N )-PARAMETRIZATION 32 This brings us to a key motivating question: What if n covariates had a joint distribution that required only exponential in poly(log n) many parameters to specify? When would such a distribution arise. both of which will correspond to polynomial time algorithms. Note that both conditions are required. The variates are as far from being independent as possible — they interact with each other O(n) at a time. 3. the distribution has irreducible O(n) correlations. The distribution is ample. all the machinery we build and use in this work really takes us to the following insight: Polynomial time computations build distributions of solutions that can be parameterized using only exponential in poly(log n) many parameters.1 Range Limited Interactions As noted earlier. in the hard phases of NP-complete problems like k-SAT. Indeed. In particular. it is not often that complex systems of n interacting variables have complete independence between some subsets. ? 3. with no possibility for factorization into conditional independencies. It is not only long range correlations. but (a) the non-factorizability of such correlations and (b) ampleness under such non-factorizable correlations that characterizes the solution spaces in hard phases of NP-complete problems. In other words. 2. In contrast.

given the parents. Therefore. If the factorization is into conditionally independent factors. In this case. not a factorization into conditional independents. Namely. a major feature of directed graphical models is that their factorizations are already globally normalized once they are locally normalized. For example. We should emphasize that the factors must give us conditional independence for this to be true. each of whose scope is of size at most k . DISTRIBUTIONS WITH poly(LOG N )-PARAMETRIZATION 33 is that there are conditional independencies between certain subsets given some intermediate subset. Our proof scheme requires us to distinguish distributions based on the size of the irreducible direct interactions between subsets of the covariates. We may also moralize the graph and see this as a factorization over cliques in the moralized graph. and so we cannot conclude anything about the number of independent parameters by just examining the factor graph. The conditional independence in this case is from all non-descendants. if each node has at most k parents.3. Note that such a factorization (namely. then we can parametrize the joint distribution with at most n2n independent parameters. we can parametrize the distribution using at most n2k independent parameters. but it is. From our perspective. . The measure that allows us to make this distinction is the number of independent parameters it takes to specify the distribution. When the size of the smallest irreducible inter- 33 . We would like to contrast such distributions from others which can be so factored through factors having only poly(log n) variates in their scope. Xn ). the joint will factorize into factors each of whose scope is a subset of (X1 . See [KF09] for further discussion on parameterizations for directed and undirected graphical models. . . we would like to distinguish distributions where there are O(n) such covariates whose joint interaction cannot be factored through smaller interactions (having less than O(n) covariates) chained together by conditional independencies. . starting from a directed model and moralizing) holds even if the distribution is not positive in contrast with those distributions which do not factor over directed models and where we have to invoke the Hammersley-Clifford theorem to get a similar factorization. meaning that there is a recursive factorization of the joint into conditionally independent pieces. in general. factor graphs give us a factorization.

but their range is limited to poly(log n). 34 . Although interactions between variables may be ample for their range. DISTRIBUTIONS WITH poly(LOG N )-PARAMETRIZATION 34 Range Limited to poly(log n) Ra n ge Li m ite d to po ly( lo g n) Range Limited to poly(log n) Figure 3.3.1: A range limited joint distribution on n covariates that has poly(log n)parametrization.

we will build machinery that shows that if a problem lies in P as a result of a range limited algorithm (like monadic LFP).1. it is just c∈C 2|c| . precisely because variables do not interact all at once. In this section. but rather in smaller subsets in a directed manner that gives us conditional independencies between sets that are of size poly(log n). In Chapter 5. The resulting distribution is ample. if at most k < n variables interact directly at a time. Namely. and such interactions are chained together through conditional independencies. 3. One sees immediately that the underlying limitation in both this case and the previous is common — the set of n covariates 35 . By HammersleyClifford.1 Let us consider the example of a Markov random field.3. and therefore. then we would need only O(cpoly(log n) ) parameters. we have an upper bound on the number of parameters it takes to specify the distribution. then the factorization of the distribution of solutions to that problem causes it to have economical parametrization. On the other hand. we will see another such limited interaction. it is also a Gibbs random field over the set of maximal cliques in the graph encoding the neighborhood system of the Markov random field. This Gibbs field comes with conditional independence assurance. DISTRIBUTIONS WITH poly(LOG N )-PARAMETRIZATION 35 actions is O(n). if we were able to demonstrate that the distribution factors through interactions which always have scope poly(log n). and this would give us a more economical parameterization than the one which requires 2n − 1 parameters.2). This was the case where the n variates interact directly only poly(log n) at a time. 3. Thus. then we need O(cn ) parameters where c > 1. See Fig. then the largest clique size would be k. 3. but they are restricted to taking only cpoly(log n) many distinct values (see Fig. where the n variates do interact directly O(n) at a time. Note that the case where all n variates are independent falls into the range limited category with range being one.2 Value Limited Interactions In the previous section we saw the first type of interaction between n covariates that can be parametrized by just poly(log n) independent parameters.

in both cases. We should stress that this behavior has been rigorously shown to hold for some phases of k-SAT for high values of k. both range and value limited interactions require only O(cpoly(log n) ) independent parameters to specify. How do we precisely state this property? Through the notion of independent parameters. this is because the covariates only jointly vary with poly(log n) other variates at a time. this is because though O(n) variates vary jointly. in both cases. Instead. Thus. We only need note that the linear nature of XORSAT solution spaces mean there is a poly(log n)-parametrization (the basis provides this for linear spaces). Take the case of clustering in XORSAT. In the case of range limited. DISTRIBUTIONS WITH poly(LOG N )-PARAMETRIZATION 36 do not take 2n different values with extensive O(n) correlations that do not factor through conditional independencies like a “true”(or more precisely. the n covariates behave in ways that is similar to a system of poly(log n) covariates. We will measure the jointness of a distribution by the number of independent parameters required to specify it. The core issue is that of the number of independent parameters it takes to specify the distribution of the entire space of solutions. We will recall this behavior in some detail in Chapter 6. in both cases. their “jointness” resembles a system of poly(log n) covariates. O(cpoly(log n) ) independent parameters simply will not suffice to explain the behavior of the solution space of the problem. c > 1 independent parameters to specify. It is in these phases that our separation of complexity classes can be demonstrated. as we shall see. We should also point out that once we have isolated the precise notion that is at the heart of polynomial time computation — namely poly(log n)parametrizability of the space of solutions — several apparent issues resolve themselves. the joint distribution 36 . On the other hand. not elsewhere. A “true” joint distribution takes O(cn ). for instance.3. Namely. we shall see that in the hard phases of problems such as k-SAT for k > 8. In particular. typical) joint distribution of n variates. they only take 2poly(log n) joint values. In the case of value limited interactions. In both cases — range limited and value limited interactions — the system of n covariates behaves as though it was a system of only poly(log n) covariates. This is the crux of the P = NP question.

but not range limited. Whereas the distribution supported on the all 1 and all 0 tuple is value limited. we will build machinery to see that polynomial time LFP algorithms can capture either range or value limited behaviors. Value Limited to 2poly(log n) Range O(n) Figure 3. 37 In later chapters. DISTRIBUTIONS WITH poly(LOG N )-PARAMETRIZATION has a very economical parametrization using only 2poly(log n) independent parameters. For instance. It is also useful to notice that neither type of limitation implies the other. but not the joint behavior of a “true” joint distribution of n covariates. n independent variates are range limited.2: A value limited joint distribution on n covariates that has poly(log n)parametrization. Regimes of problems where the distributions of solutions are neither value limited nor range limited cause the failure of polynomial time algorithms on the average.3. 37 Value Limited to 2poly(log n) Value Limited to 2poly(log n) . but not value limited. Although interactions between variables are O(n) at a time. they do not display ampleness in their joint distribution.

We will return to this issue in future versions of this paper or in the manuscript [Deo10] which is under preparation. even though a covariate sees O(n) other covariates. if we picked a n variable distribution at random. The solution space shows the behavior of a typical joint distribution on n covariates in that it is ample and correlated.3. In other words.3 On the Atypical Nature of poly(log n)-parameterization We briefly mentioned earlier that the typical member of the space of distributions on n covariates requires O(2n ) parameters. We end this chapter by tying poly(log n)-parameterizations to a Markov or 38 . This short section owes its existence to Leonid Levin and Avi Wigderson. This observation may be used to state results about average case complexity in hard phases of random k-SAT. 3. it only utilizes poly(log n) amount of the information in them in order to make its decision. these hard phases are simply typical. In both cases. It is polynomial time solution spaces that are atypical for n variate distributions in that they are either not ample (the value limited case) or they are not correlated solidly enough (the range limited case. where they admit Gibbs factorizations into smaller potentials). For purposes of pedagogy. We can even think of the value limited behavior as a type of range limited behavior where.1. Namely. nothing more. both of whom asked us whether our methods could be used to make statements about average case complexity. DISTRIBUTIONS WITH poly(LOG N )-PARAMETRIZATION 38 3. with high likelihood. In many ways.4 Our Treatment of Range and Value Limited Distributions The two types of distributions that we have mentioned above are only superficially dissimilar.1. with high likelihood we would get a distribution that required O(2n ) parameters to specify. Note that this is a statistical statement. we will disregard this superficial dissimilarity and provide a full treatment of the range limited case. we would not get a poly(log n)parametrizable distribution. the range of behaviors of the n covariates can be parametrized with the number of independent parameters it takes to specify a joint distribution of only poly(log n) covariates.

the random field would have poly(log n)-parametrization. A value limited parameterization could have maximum cliques of size O(n).3. but the number of parameters for such a clique would only be 2poly(log n) instead of the possible 2O(n) .1 and 3. 3. In either case. consider two kinds of poly(log n)-parameterizations — range limited and value limited.2. DISTRIBUTIONS WITH poly(LOG N )-PARAMETRIZATION 39 (equivalently for directed) Gibbs models. See Figs. A range limited parametrization would correspond to a Gibbs field whose potentials are specified over maximum cliques of size poly(log n). Once again. 39 .

Rm . over ordered structures. cA . . there is a precise and highly insightful characterization of the class of queries that are computable in polynomial time. . Each relation has a fixed arity. Readers from a finite model theory background may skip e this chapter. c1 . This poses no shortcomings since functions may be encoded as relations. . A σ-structure A consists of a set A which is the universe of A. . cs . . Then. R1 . . σ = R1 .4. A A A = A. . and those that are computable in polynomial space. In particular. Rm . . denoted by σ. we begin with a brief pr´ cis of this theory. We quickly set notation. We consider only relational vocabularies in that there are no function symbols. . . In order to keep the treatment relatively complete. 1 s An example is the vocabulary of graphs which consists of a single relation symbol having arity two. and interpretations cA for each of the constant symbols in the vocabulary. interpretations RA for each of the relation symbols in the vocabulary. . cA . . . A vocabulary. Namely. Logical Descriptions of Computations Work in finite model theory and descriptive complexity theory — a branch of finite model theory that studies the expressive power of various logics in terms of complexity classes — has resulted in machine independent characterizations of various complexity classes. is a set consisting of finitely many relation and constant symbols. . . . a graph may be seen as a structure over this 40 .

and we refer the reader to [Mos74] for the first monograph on the subject. we insert into the relation S the tuples according to ξ x ∈ Iφ ⇔ φ( η<ξ η Iφ . where the defining relation for each stage can be written in the first order language of the underlying structure and uses elements added to the set in previous stages. x1 . there is an underlying structure A = A. and the relation symbol is interpreted as an edge. and to [EF06. See [Imm99] for a text on descriptive complexity theory. LOGICAL DESCRIPTIONS OF COMPUTATIONS 41 vocabulary. R1 . Rm and a formula φ(S. where the universe is the set of nodes. We will also require that φ have only positive occurrences of the n-ary relation variable S. and stresses the facts we need. Inductive definitions are a fundamental primitive of mathematics. In addition. xn ) in the first-order language of A. The idea is to build up a set in stages. We also denote by σn the extension of σ by n additional constants. Lib04] for detailed treatments in the context of finite model theory. namely all occurrences of S be 41 . x) ≡ φ(S. a) the structure where the tuple a has been identified with these additional constants. x). . some applications may require us to work with a graph vocabulary having two constants interpreted in the structure as source and sink nodes respectively. In the most general case. and denote by (A. . . 4.4. The variable S is a second-order relation variable that will eventually hold the set we are trying to build up in stages. At the ξ ξ th stage of the induction. denoted by Iφ . . Our treatment is taken mostly from these sources. The decomposition into its various stages is a central characteristic φ of inductively defined relations.1 Inductive Definitions and Fixed Points The material in this section is standard. . . . . We will denote the stage that a tuple enters the relation in the induction defined by φ by | · |A .

1. a transfinite induction may result. and 2. constructive. X ⊆ F (X). The operator F is monotone if it respects subset inclusion. we define sequences induced by operators. and then consider the operators on structures that are induced by first order formulae. 42 . and P(A) be its power set. We begin by defining two classes of operators on sets. Finally. Relations that may be defined by R(x) ⇔ Iφ (a. Sets of the form Iφ are known as fixed points of the structure. inductive relations are sections of fixed points. this is also known as the inductive depth. Note that the cardinality of the ordinal κ is at most |A|n . we define the relation Iφ = ξ ξ Iφ . In the most general case. Note that the definition above is 1. LOGICAL DESCRIPTIONS OF COMPUTATIONS 42 within the scope of an even number of negations. if X ⊆ Y . Let A be a finite set. then F (X) ⊆ F (Y ). We will use both these properties throughout our work. Definition 4. Thus. κ+1 κ The least ordinal κ at which Iφ = Iφ is called the closure ordinal of the induc- tion.4. for all subsets X. When the underlying structures are finite. The operator F is inflationary if it maps sets to their supersets. x) for some choice of tuple a over A are known as inductive relations. Such inductions are called positive elementary. namely. Note that there are definitions of the set Iφ that are equivalent. and characterize the sequences induced by monotone and inflationary operators. Next. but can be stated only in the second order language of A. elementary at each stage. We now proceed more formally by introducing operators and their fixed points. namely. An operator F on A is a function F : P(A) → P(A). and is denoted by |φA |. Y of A.

Let F be a monotone operator on a set A. the sequence (F i ) is inductive. we define F ∞ ∞ := i=0 F i. LOGICAL DESCRIPTIONS OF COMPUTATIONS 43 Definition 4. Definition 4. Namely. However. F has a least fixed point LFP(F ) which is the intersection of all the fixed points of F . if F i ⊆ F i+1 for all i. . (4. Now we are ready to define fixed points of operators on sets. (4. therefore we need a means of constructing fixed points for non-monotone operators. 43 .4.2. and also provides two constructions of the least fixed point for such operators: one “from above” and the other “from below.1). defined by F 0 = ∅. namely. Not all operators have fixed points. If F is either monotone or inflationary. F i+1 = F (F i ). The set X ⊆ A is called a fixed point of F if F (X) = X. A fixed point X of F is called its least fixed point. Let F be an operator on A.1). 2. denoted LFP(F ). F 1 . if it is contained in every other fixed point Y of F . 1.1) This sequence (F i ) is called inductive if it is increasing. Namely. .2) Lemma 4. LFP(F ) = {Y : Y = F (Y )}. Let F be an operator on A. Consider the sequence of sets F 0 . X ⊆ Y whenever Y is a fixed point of F .5 (Tarski-Knaster). The TarskiKnaster guarantees that monotone operators do. not all operators are monotone. let alone least fixed points.” The latter construction uses the sequences (4.3. LFP(F ) = F i = F ∞. . namely.4. In this case. LFP(F ) is also equal to the union of the stages of the sequence (F i ) defined in (4. Theorem 4.

4. F m = F n . We wish to extend FO by adding fixed points of operators of the form Fφ . namely. Now. Definition 4. Let ϕ(R. 4. In the first case. as F n in the first case. . The sequence may or may not stabilize. x) defines an operator Fϕ : P(Ak ) → P(Ak ) on Ak which acts on a subset X ⊆ Ak as Fϕ (X) = {a | A |= ϕ(X/R. The logic FO(IFP) is obtained by extending FO with the following formation rule: if ϕ(R. LOGICAL DESCRIPTIONS OF COMPUTATIONS 44 Definition 4. For an arbitrary operator G. and the empty set in the second case. and hence eventually stabilizes to the fixed point F ∞ . Consider the sequence (F i ) induced by an arbitrary operator F on A. where ϕ(X/R. The formula ϕ(R. 1. where φ is a formula in FO.3) . then [IFPR. a}. we associate the inflationary operator Ginfl defined by Ginfl (Y ) set Ginfl ∞ Y ∪ G(Y ). Let the notation be as above.8. x) is a formula and t a k-tuple of terms. x) be a formula of vocabulary σ ∪ {R}.x ϕ(R. the sequence F i is inductive. for all n ≤ 2|A| . Definition 4.7. we define the partial fixed point of F . x1 . . x)](t) 44 (4. there is a positive integer n such that F n+1 = F n . a} means that R is interpreted as X in ϕ. Let σ be a relational vocabulary. This gives us fixed point logics which play a central role in descriptive complexity theory. and denoted by IFP(G). denoted PFP(F ). F n = F n+1 . the sequence F i does not stabilize. Definition 4.2 Fixed Point Logics for P and PSPACE We now specialize the theory of fixed points of operators to the case where the operators are defined by means of first order formulae. .6. Now consider a structure A of vocabulary σ. and R a relational symbol of arity k that is not in σ. and therefore for all m > n. . For an inflationary operator F . xn ) = ϕ(R. In the latter case. The is called the inflationary fixed point of G.9.

x) is a formula and t a k-tuple of terms.4.3) will be monotone. Hence. and thus will have a least fixed point. We need a definition. there are no negative occurrences of R in the formula. Let notation be as earlier. A formula is said to be positive in R if all occurrences of R in it are positive. An occurrence of R is said to be positive if it is under the scope of an even number of negations. Lemma 4. We cannot define the closure of FO under taking least fixed points in the above manner without further restrictions since least fixed points are guaranteed to exist only for monotone operators.x ϕ(R. LOGICAL DESCRIPTIONS OF COMPUTATIONS 45 is a formula whose free variables are those of t. The semantics are given by A |= [PFPR. x) is positive in R. The semantics are given by A |= [IFPR. then the operator obtained from ϕ by construction (4. 2. x)](a) iff a ∈ PFP(Fϕ ). In particular.10. The logic FO(PFP) is obtained by extending FO with the following formation rule: if ϕ(R.3) is monotone. If we were to form a logic by extending FO by least fixed points without further restrictions.11. and negative if it is under the scope of an odd number of negations. then [PFPR. we would obtain a logic with an undecidable syntax. Let ϕ be a formula containing a relational symbol R.x ϕ(R. and testing for monotonicity is undecidable. 45 . x)](t) is a formula whose free variables are those of t. we make some restrictions on the formulae which guarantee that the operators obtained from them as described by (4. Let notation be as earlier.x ϕ(R. Definition 4. x)](a) iff a ∈ IFP(Fϕ ). Now we can define the closure of FO under least fixed points of operators obtained from formulae that are positive in a relational variable. or there are no occurrences of R at all. If the formula ϕ(R.

Immerman [Imm82] and Vardi [Var82] obtained the following central result that captures the class P on ordered structures. Theorem 4. adding the ability to do simultaneous induction over several formulae does not increase the expressive power of the logic.x ϕ(R. 184] for details. First. The semantics are given by A |= [LFPR. the stage at which the tuple a enters the relation R is denoted by |a|A .12. We end this section by relating these logics to various complexity classes. These are the central results of descriptive complexity theory. The logic FO(LFP) is obtained by extending FO with the following formation rule: if ϕ(R.4. Next. and inductive depths are denoted by |ϕA |. 46 . As earlier. A tuple may enter and leave the relation being built multiple times.13 (Fagin). x) is a formula that is positive in the k-ary relational variable R. ∃SO refers to the restriction of second-order logic to formulae of the form ∃X1 · · · ∃Xm ϕ. In fixed points (such as partial fixed points) where the underlying formula is not necessarily positive. and secondly FO(IFP) = FO(LFP) over finite structures. x)](a) iff a ∈ LFP(Fϕ ). Fagin [Fag74] obtained the first machine independent logical characterization of an important complexity class. ∃SO = NP. and t is a k-tuple of terms. Here. We have introduced various fixed point constructions and extensions of first order logic by these constructions. LOGICAL DESCRIPTIONS OF COMPUTATIONS 46 Definition 4. p. where ϕ does not have any second-order quantification. we informally state two well-known results on the expressive power of fixed point logics. then [LFPR. This is well defined for least ϕ fixed points since a tuple enters a relation only once. and is never removed from it after. §10.3. See [Lib04. x)](t) is a formula whose free variables are those of t. this is not true.x ϕ(R.

14 (Immerman-Vardi). Vardi). Over finite. Over finite. FO(LFP) = P. ordered structures. A characterization of PSPACE in terms of PFP was obtained in [AV91. the queries expressible in the logic FO(PFP) are precisely those that can be computed in polynomial space. the queries expressible in the logic FO(LFP) are precisely those that can be computed in polynomial time. LOGICAL DESCRIPTIONS OF COMPUTATIONS 47 Theorem 4. Theorem 4. Note: We will often use the term LFP generically instead of FO(LFP) when we wish to emphasize the fixed point construction being performed. 47 . Namely. Var82].15 (Abiteboul-Vianu. rather than the language. FO(PFP) = PSPACE. ordered structures. Namely.4.

The treatment of LFP versus FO in finite model theory centers around the fact that FO can only express local properties. Thus. while LFP allows non-local properties such as transitive closure to be expressed. this influence must necessarily be bottlenecked by the simpler interactions that it must factor through. In this chapter. the influence can only be “transmitted through” the values of the intermediate conditioning variables.5. and asking how this non-local nature factors at each step. and what is the effect of such a factorization on the joint distribution of LFP acting upon ensembles. simpler interactions. This necessarily affects the type of influence a variable may exert on other variables in the system. 48 . The Link Between Polynomial Time Computation and Conditional Independence In Chapter 2 we saw how certain joint distributions that encode interactions between collections of variables “factor through” smaller. In the case where there are conditional independencies. In other words. while a variable in such a system can exert its influence throughout the system. the influence must propagate with bottlenecks at each stage. we will uncover a similar phenomenon underlying the logical description of polynomial time computation on ordered structures. We are taking as given the non-local capability of LFP. and so limitations of first order logic must be the source of the bottleneck at each stage to the propagation of information in such computations. The fundamental observation is the following: Least fixed point computations “factor through” first order computations.

we will bring to bear ideas from statistical mechanics and message passing to the logical description of computations. but this non-local influence must factor through first order logic at each stage. z) ∧ R(z. y) given by ϕ(R. We want to understand the stage-wise bottleneck that a fixed point computation faces at each step of its execution. In this case. vertices that have entered a relation make other vertices that are adjacent to them eligible to enter the relation at the next stage. y) ≡ E(x. Namely. builds the transitive closure relation in stages. Thus. the information flow used to 49 .5. It will be beneficial to state this intuition with the example of transitive closure. The sequence (Fϕ ) of op- erators that construct fixed points may be seen as the propagation of influence in a structure by means of setting values of “intermediate variables”. x. y) ∨ ∃z(E(x. It can be expressed in FO(LFP) as follows. though the resulting property is non-local. Notice that the decision of whether a vertex enters the relation is based on the immediate neighborhood of the vertex. and tie this back to notions of conditional independence and factorization of distributions. Then we can see that iterating the positive first order formula ϕ(R. but comes cloaked i in a very different garb — that of logic and operators. In other words. This is a very similar underlying idea to the statistical mechanical picture of random fields over spaces of configurations that we saw in Chapter 2. Let E be a binary relation that expresses the presence of an edge between its arguments. x. In order to accomplish this. y)). E XAMPLE 5. The transitive closure of an edge in a graph is the standard example of a non-local property that cannot be expressed by first order logic. THE LINK BETWEEN POLYNOMIAL TIME COMPUTATION AND CONDITIONAL INDEPENDENCE 49 Fixed point logics allow variables to be non-local in their influence.1. we must understand the limitations of each stage of a LFP computation and understand how this affects the propagation of long-range influence in relations computed by LFP. the relation is built stage by stage. and at each stage. the variables are set by inducting them into a relation at various stages of the induction.

The primary technique for demonstrating the limitations of fixed point logics in expressing properties is to consider them a segment of the logic Lk .5.1 The Limitations of LFP Many of the techniques in model theory break down when restricted to finite models. we will need to understand the limitations of first order logic. This has led to much research attention to game theoretic characterizations of various logics. but the factorization of that influence (encoded in the joint distribution) reveals the stage-wise local nature of the interaction. 5. where such local interactions are chained together in a way that variables can exert their influence to arbitrary lengths. which extends first order logic with infinitary connectives. A notable exception is the Ehrenfeucht-Fra¨ss´ game for first order ı e logic. The computation factors through a local property at each stage. separating P from NP) since NP ⊆ PSPACE and the latter class is captured by PFP. 50 . We will now proceed to build the requisite framework. but by chaining many such local factors together. for instance. This picture relates to a Markov random field. We have used this simple example just to provide some preliminary intuition. ∞ω One of the central contributions of our work is demonstrating a completely different viewpoint of LFP computations in terms of the concepts of conditional independence and factoring of distributions. we obtain the non-local relation of transitive closure. whereas a Markov random field is undirected. and ∞ω then use the characterization of expressibility in this logic in terms of k-pebble games. both of which are fundamental to statistics and probability theory. In order to arrive at this correspondence. The limitations of first order formulae mentioned in the previous section therefore appear at each step of a least fixed point computation. which is also a segment of Lk . This is however not useful for our purpose (namely. Least fixed point is an iteration of first order formulas. THE LINK BETWEEN POLYNOMIAL TIME COMPUTATION AND CONDITIONAL INDEPENDENCE 50 compute it is stage-wise local. There are important differences however — the flow of LFP computation is directed.

Informally. it is not only the locality 51 . some of the most striking applications of such properties are in graphs with bounded degree. these properties were developed to deal with cases where the neighborhoods of the elements in the structure had bounded diameters. THE LINK BETWEEN POLYNOMIAL TIME COMPUTATION AND CONDITIONAL INDEPENDENCE 51 Viewing LFP as “stage-wise first order” is central to our analysis. Hanf locality says that whether or not a first order formula ϕ holds in a structure depends only on its multiset of isomorphism types of spheres of radius r. The basic idea is that first order formulae can only “see” up to a certain distance away from their free variables. we will use some of the normal forms developed in the context of locality properties in finite model theory. such as the linear time algorithm to evaluate first order properties on bounded degree graphs [See96]. Ch. In particular. 4].1 Locality of First Order Logic The local properties of first order logic have received considerable research attention and expositions can be found in standard references such as [Lib04. In contrast. but in the scenario where neighborhoods of elements have unbounded diameter. We are interested in factoring complex interactions between variables into their smallest constituent irreducible factors.5. Ch. [EF06. LFP has a natural factorization into its stages. 6]. both notions express properties of combinations of neighborhoods of fixed size. The idea that first order formulae are local has been formalized in essentially two different ways. Gaifman locality says that whether or not ϕ holds in a structure depends on the number of elements of that structure having pairwise disjoint r-neighborhoods that fulfill first order formulae of quantifier depth d for some fixed d (which depends on ϕ). This distance is determined by the quantifier rank of the formula. 5. 2]. Clearly. Thus.1. Let us now analyze the limitations of the LFP computation through this viewpoint. Ch. Viewed this way. which are all described by first order formulae. Let us pause for a while and see how this fits into our global framework. This has led to two major notions of locality — Hanf locality [Han65] and Gaifman locality [Gai82]. In the literature of finite model theory. [Imm99.

Definition 5. We extend this to a notion of distance between tuples from A as follows. We will need both these properties in our analysis. .5. Namely. A A The r-neighborhood of a in A is the σn -structure Nr (a) whose universe is Br (a). . 1 ≤ j ≤ m}. There is no restriction on n and m above. . . as simply the length of the shortest path between ai and aj in GA . and the n additional constants are interpreted as a1 . we have the notion of distance between a tuple and a singleton element. . bm ). The ball of radius r around a is a set defined by A Br (a) = {b ∈ A : dA (a. . . A each relation R is interpreted as RA restricted to Br (a). an ) and b = (b1 . In particular. . Definition 5. an . but the exact specification of the finitary nature of the first order computation. With the graph defined. The Gaifman graph of a σ-structure A is denoted by GA and defined as follows. We need some definitions in order to state the results. the definition above also applies to the case where either of them is equal to one. aj of A. b) ≤ r}. . Let a = (a1 . . THE LINK BETWEEN POLYNOMIAL TIME COMPUTATION AND CONDITIONAL INDEPENDENCE 52 that is of interest to us. There is an edge between two nodes a1 and a2 in GA if there is a relation R in σ and a tuple t ∈ RA such that both a1 and a2 appear in t. We will see that what we need is that first order logic can only exploit a bounded number of local properties.2. Recall that σn is the expansion of σ by n additional constants. Then dA (a. We are now ready to define neighborhoods of tuples. The set of nodes of GA is A.3. b) = min{dA (ai . Recall the notation and definitions from the previous chapter. if L is a logic (or language). Informally. . the Ltype of a tuple is the sum total of the information that can be expressed about it 52 . We recall the notion of a type. Let A be a σ-structure and let a be a tuple over A. denoted by d(ai . we have a notion of distance between elements ai . . aj ). bj ) : 1 ≤ i ≤ n.

an ) and Nr (b1 . The first relates two different structures. As mentioned earlier. . 2. namely in Nr (a). and those that follow from Gaifman’s theorem. B be σ-structures and let m ∈ N. . Note that any A B isomorphism between Nr (a1 . Notation as above. .5. bn ) must send ai to bi for 1 ≤ i ≤ n. Definition 5. 1.5. the first order type of a m-tuple in a structure is defined as the set of all FO formulae having m free variables that are satisfied by the tuple.6. there are two broad flavors of locality results in literature – those that follow from Hanf’s theorem. A more useful notion is the local type of a tuple. . Definition 5. quantification in such formulas is restricted to the structure Nr (x). either 1. this notion is far too powerful since it characterizes the structure (A. THE LINK BETWEEN POLYNOMIAL TIME COMPUTATION AND CONDITIONAL INDEPENDENCE 53 in the language L. Thus. The following three notions of locality are used in stating the results. Let A. . In what follows. a) up to isomorphism. If for every isomorphism type τ of a r-neighborhood of a point. .4. we need a definition. In other words. Over finite structures. we may drop the superscript if the underlying structure is clear. 53 . We provide below the locality result due to [FSV95] that is suitable for finite models. Both A and B have the same number of elements of type τ . The local r-type of a tuple a in A is the type of A a in the substructure induced by the r-neighborhood of a in A. To proceed. Formulas whose truth at a tuple a depends only on Br (a) are called r-local. Definition 5. Boolean combinations of formulas that are local around the various coordinates xi of x are said to be basic local. Formulas that are r-local around their variables for some value of r are said to be local. . a neighborhood is a σn -structure. . and a type of a neighborhood is an equivalence class of such structures up to isomorphism. [Han65] proved his result for infinite structures. 3. In particular.

there exist r. Let ϕ(x) be a formula of quantifier depth q. Furthermore. Notation as above. 54 . We refer the reader to [FSV95] for a discussion comparing the Fagin-StockmeyerVardi theorem with Hanf’s theorem in the context of applications to finite model theory. m)-equivalent and every element has degree at most l. local formula around x. then they satisfy the same first order formulae up to quantifier rank k. 5. Theorem 5. where the φ are r-local. then A |= ϕ(a) ↔ B |= ϕ(b). Next we come to Gaifman’s version of locality. xs i=1 φ(xi ) ∧ 1≤i≤j≤s d>2r (xi . m > 0 such that if A and B are threshold (r.9 ([Gai82]). In particular. 54 Theorem 5. and 2.7.8. l > 0. THE LINK BETWEEN POLYNOMIAL TIME COMPUTATION AND CONDITIONAL INDEPENDENCE 2. Then there is a radius r and threshold t such that if A and B have the same multiset of local types up to threshold t. written A ≡k B. and the elements a ∈ A and b ∈ B have the same local type up to radius r. Every FO formula ϕ(x) over a relational vocabulary is equivalent to a Boolean combination of 1.7 ([FSV95]). The Hanf locality lemma for formulae having a single free variable has a simple form and is an easy consequence of Thm. neither theorem seems to imply the other. For each k. sentences of the form s ∃x1 . See [Lin05] for an application to computing simple monadic fixed points on structures of bounded degree in linear time. . Lemma 5. r depends only on k. xj ) . .5. . Both A and B have more than m elements of type τ . m)-equivalent. . Then we say that A and B are threshold (r.

we exploit the limitations described in the previous section to build conceptual bridges from least fixed point logic to the Markov-Gibbs picture of the preceding section. y).10 ([SB99]). this may seem to be an unlikely union. some subset of elements enters the relation. This changes the local 55 . The key is to see the constructions underlying least fixed point computations through the lens of influence propagation and conditional independence. In later sections. Namely. This again expresses the bounded number of local properties feature that limits first order logic. THE LINK BETWEEN POLYNOMIAL TIME COMPUTATION AND CONDITIONAL INDEPENDENCE 55 In words.5. and where the LFP relation being constructed is monadic. for every first order formula. We wish to build a view of fixed point computation as an information propagation algorithm. we will demonstrate this relationship for the case of simple monadic least fixed points. where ϕ is local around y. there is an r such that the truth of the formula on a structure depends only on the number of elements having disjoint r-neighborhoods that satisfy certain local formulas. none of the elements of the structure are in the relation being computed. In order to do so. At first. we show how to deal with complex fixed points as well. At stage zero of the fixed point computation. let us examine the geometry of information flow during an LFP computation. At the first stage.2 Simple Monadic LFP and Conditional Independence In this section. The following normal form for first order logic that was developed in an attempt to merge some of the ideas from Hanf and Gaifman locality. a FO(LFP) formula without any nesting or simultaneous induction. But we will establish that there are fundamental conceptual relationships between the directed Markovian picture and least fixed point computations. Every first-order sentence is logically equivalent to one of the form ∃x1 · · · ∃xl ∀yϕ(x. In this section. Theorem 5. 5.

Consequently. Thus. Thus. In that case. On a graph of bounded degree. we observe that The influence of an element during LFP computation propagates in a similar manner to the influence of a random variable in a directed Markov field. x) changes local neighborhoods of elements at each stage of the computation.11. the fundamental vehicle of this information propagation is that a fixed point computation ϕ(R.5. This correspondence is important to us. influence flows in the direction of the stages of the LFP computation. This propagation is 1. and the changes “propagate” through the structure. directed. Lemma 5. This ensures that once an element is inserted into the relation that is being computed. The directed property comes from the positivity of the first order formula that is being iterated. In other words. it is never removed. Let us try to uncover the underlying principles that cause it. Due to the global changes in the multiset of local types. Furthermore. and 2. This correspondence is most striking in the case of bounded degree structures. and the vertices that lie in these local neighborhoods change their local type. but only through its influence on various local neighborhoods. we have only O(1) local types. This process continues. this influence flow is local in the following sense: the influence of an element can propagate throughout the structure. In order to determine whether an element in a structure satisfies a first order formula we need (a) the multiset of local r-types in the structure (also known 56 . there are only a fixed number of local rtypes. there is a fixed number of non-isomorphic neighborhoods with radius r. more elements in the structure become eligible for inclusion into the relation at the next stage. relies on a bounded number of local neighborhoods at each stage. THE LINK BETWEEN POLYNOMIAL TIME COMPUTATION AND CONDITIONAL INDEPENDENCE 56 neighborhoods of these elements.

12. THE LINK BETWEEN POLYNOMIAL TIME COMPUTATION AND CONDITIONAL INDEPENDENCE 57 as its global type) for some value of r. in a purely stage-wise local manner. For example. Once it enters the relation. This type potentially changes with each stage of the LFP. At this point. The FO formula that is being iterated can only express a property about some bounded number of such local neighborhoods. by threshold Hanf. Remark 5.5. In particular. and such changes render them eligible. we only need to know the multiset of local types up to a certain threshold. it will do so. This is a Markov property: the influence of an element upon another must factor entirely through the local neighborhood of the latter. we will cross the Hanf threshold for the multiset of r-types. in the Gaifman form. we will be making a decision of whether an element enters the relation based solely on its local r-type. knowing some information about certain local neighborhoods renders the rest of the information about variable values that have entered the relation in previous stages of the graph superfluous. The same concept can be expressed in the language of sufficient statistics. This is how the computation proceeds. except that we have to consider all the local neighborhoods in the structure. but not from elements that will enter the relation subsequently. here the bounded nature of FO comes in. For large enough structures. In the more general case where degrees are not bounded. Knowing this statistic gives us conditional independence from the values of other elements that have already entered the relation previously. However. we still have factoring through local neighborhoods. and so on. 57 . Gaifman’s theorem says that for first order properties. Namely. there exists a sufficient statistic that is gathered locally at a bounded number of elements. there are s distinguished disjoint neighborhoods that must satisfy some local condition. and (b) the local type of the element. it changes the local r-type of all those elements which lie within a r-neighborhood of it. Furthermore. This is similar to the directed Markov picture where there is conditional independence of any variable from non-descendants given the value of the parents. At the time when this change renders the element eligible for entering the relation.

highly constrained by one another Φ1 Φ2 LFP assumes conditional independence after statistics are obtained Φs-1 Φs Bounded number of local statistics at each stage Conditional Independence and factorization over a larger directed model called the ENSP (developed in Chapter 7) Figure 5. THE LINK BETWEEN POLYNOMIAL TIME COMPUTATION AND CONDITIONAL INDEPENDENCE 58 X1 X2 Xn-1 Xn Interacting variables. 58 .5.1: Range limited LFP computation process viewed as conditional independencies.

we have exhibited a correspondence between two apparently very different formalisms. This correspondence is illustrated in Fig. THE LINK BETWEEN POLYNOMIAL TIME COMPUTATION AND CONDITIONAL INDEPENDENCE 59 At this point. 59 . 5.5.1.

leading once again to poly(log n) parametrization. we have the following situation. This is because even though the interactions are of O(n) range. Next. we showed that the natural “factorization” of LFP into first order logic. namely. Steps 1 and 2 involve standard constructions in finite model theory. 2. Let us examine the case of a 2-ary relation that is being computed. the computation terminates in poly(n) steps. Recall the discussion 60 . First. since for any element a of the structure. c. 1. we use the simultaneous induction lemma for fixed point logic to encode the relation to be computed as a “section” of a single LFP relation of higher arity. How can we show that this picture is the same for complex fixed points? We accomplish this in stages. The key point to note is that we still have only poly(log n) parametrization. Every pair of elements occurs in the set of 2-tuples. At this point. giving us a economical parametrization of the state space. we use the transitivity theorem for fixed point logic to move nested fixed points into simultaneous fixed points without nesting. In this case. This means that when there is a change to a 2-tuple containing a. which we recall in Appendix A. At this point. This means that the neighborhood of every pair is O(n). we see that we are in the situation of O(n) range interactions. instead of single elements. This will change the distance properties of the resulting structure of k-tuples. they are severely value limited. we are now working with k-tuples. coupled with the bounded local property of first order logic can be used to exhibit conditional independencies in the relation being computed. Put another way. But the argument we provided was for simple fixed points having one free variable.3 Conditional Independence in Complex Fixed Points In the previous sections.5. for monadic least fixed points. that change affects the neighborhoods of O(n) other 2-tuples. d. THE LINK BETWEEN POLYNOMIAL TIME COMPUTATION AND CONDITIONAL INDEPENDENCE 60 5. every other element b. · · · occurs in a pair along with a. for a k fixed for all problem sizes. though the interactions are indeed between O(n) elements at a time.

This happens because the behavior of one variable is dependent on all n − 1 others simultaneously.5. In this way. 61 . one can consider a construction known as the canonical structure due originally to [DLW95] who used it to provide a model theoretic proof of the important theorem in [AV95] that P = PSPACE if and only if LFP = PFP. c > 1 different values. THE LINK BETWEEN POLYNOMIAL TIME COMPUTATION AND CONDITIONAL INDEPENDENCE 61 of the two kinds of poly(log n) parameterizations (range limited and value limited) from Chapter 3. The issue one faces is that there is a linear order on the canonical structure. the number of joint values taken by the system of n variables is only 2poly(log n) . not just for ordered structures. The basic nature of information gathering and processing in LFP does not change when the arity of the computation rises. Note that there are elegant ways to work with the space of equivalence classes of k-tuples with equivalence under first order logic with k-variables. In other words. We could work over a product structure where LFP captures the class of polynomial time computable queries. it has the capability to utilize only poly(log n) amount of that information in the following precise sense. It requires. this does not pose a problem for encoding instances of k-SAT. In particular. but again the parametrization is only poly(log n). A “true” joint distribution over n takes cn . we have to work in a structure whose elements are k-tuples of our original structure. a k-ary LFP over the original structure would be a monadic LFP over this structure. We also need to ensure that our original structure has a relation that allows an order to be established on k-tuples. Remark 5.13. We will actually build a graphical model to give us the parameterization in Chapter 8. Note that this is for all structures. But since the LFP terminates in polynomially many steps. this can not be the case since the resulting distribution can be parameterized far too economically. therefore. For instance. O(cn ) independent parameters to specify. It merely adds the ability to gather polynomially more information at each stage taken from O(n) variates at a time. Although each element sees O(n) variates at each stage of the LFP. The O(n) nature of interactions remains. In cases of joint distributions of n covariates which take only 2poly(log n) values.

The simple scheme described above suffices for our purposes. 204] where the result is stated for successor structures. p. 5. there is no probabilistic picture. We are only describing a fully deterministic computation. Remark 5. When we examine the properties in the aggregate of LFP running over ensembles.2. it holds for structures equipped with a successor relation (and no linear ordering). §11. after extracting a statistic from the local neighborhoods of the underlying structure. THE LINK BETWEEN POLYNOMIAL TIME COMPUTATION AND CONDITIONAL INDEPENDENCE 62 which renders the Gaifman graph trivial (totally connected). Likewise.5] for more details on canonical structures. Though the Immerman-Vardi theorem is usually stated for ordered structures. 62 . The benefit of equipping our structures only with a successor structure is that the Gaifman graph remains non-trivial. The distribution we seek will arise when we examine the aggregate behavior of LFP over ensembles of structures that come from ensembles of constraint satisfaction problems (CSPs) such as random k-SAT.14. This gives us the setting where we can exploit the full machinery of graphical models of Chapter 2. we will find the following.5. §11. Thus far. The “bounded number of local” property of each stage of monadic LFP computation manifests as conditional independencies in the distribution. See [Lib04.4 Aggregate Properties of LFP over Ensembles We have shown that any polynomial time computation will update its relation according to a certain Markov type property on the space of k-types of the underlying structure. or a distribution that we can analyze. value limited interactions in higher arity LFP computations also lead to distribution of solutions that are poly(log n)-parametrizable. See [LR03. making the distribution of solutions poly(log n)-parametrizable.

63 . we will bring in ideas from statistical physics into the proof.5. THE LINK BETWEEN POLYNOMIAL TIME COMPUTATION AND CONDITIONAL INDEPENDENCE 63 Before we examine the distributions arising from LFP acting on ensembles of structures. We begin this in the next chapter.

Cm } uniformly from the 2k n k possible clauses having k variables. 3-SAT— might be NP-complete. . An instance is generated by drawing each of the m clauses {C1 . Furthermore. The 1RSB Ansatz of Statistical Physics 6. . xn }. . The entire ensemble of ran- dom k-SAT having m clauses over n literals will be denoted by SATk (n. . m). dating back at least to [CF86]. . 64 . such “easy” instances lay in certain well defined regimes of the CSP. . The decision problem of whether a satisfying assignment to the variables exists is NP-complete for k ≥ 3. We will see this behavior in some detail for the specific case of the ensemble known as random k-SAT. researchers were motivated to study randomly generated ensembles of CSPs having certain parameters that would specify which regime the instances of the ensemble belonged to. each of whom is a disjunction of k literals taken from n variables {x1 . The ensemble known as random k-SAT consists of instances of k-SAT generated randomly as follows. While a given CSP — say. . many instances of the CSP might be quite easy to solve. Thus. An instance of k-SAT is a propositional formula in conjunctive normal form Φ = C1 ∧ C2 ∧ · · · ∧ Cm having m clauses Ci .6. . even using fairly simple algorithms. while “harder” instances lay in clearly separated regimes.1 Ensembles and Phase Transitions The study of random ensembles of various constraint satisfaction problems (CSPs) is over two decades old.

6. THE 1RSB ANSATZ OF STATISTICAL PHYSICS

65

and a single instance of this ensemble will be denoted by Φk (n, m). The clause density, denoted by α and defined as α := m/n is the single most important parameter that controls the geometry of the solution space of random k-SAT. Thus, we will mostly be interested in the case where every formula in the ensemble has clause density α. We will denote this ensemble by SATk (n, α), and an individual formula in it by Φk (n, α). Random CSPs such as k-SAT have attracted the attention of physicists because they model disordered systems such as spin glasses where the Ising spin of each particle is a binary variable (”up” or “down”) and must satisfy some constraints that are expressed in terms of the spins of other particles. The energy of such a system can then be measured by the number of unsatisfied clauses of a certain k-SAT instance, where the clauses of the formula model the constraints upon the spins. The case of zero energy then corresponds to a solution to the k-SAT instance. The following formulation is due to [MZ97]. First we translate the Boolean variables xi to Ising variables Si in the standard way, namely Si = −(−1)xi . Then we introduce new variables Cli as follows. The variable Cli is equal to 1 if the clause Cl contains xi , it is −1 if the clause contains ¬xi , and is zero if neither appears in the clause. In this way, the sum the satisfiability of clause Cl . Specifically, if the Hamiltonian H=
i=1 n i=1 n i=1

Cli Si measures

Cli Si − k > 0, the clause is

satisfied by the Ising variables. The energy of the system is then measured by
m n

δ(
i=1

Cli Si , −K).

Here δ(i, j) is the Kronecker delta. Thus, satisfaction of the k-SAT instance translates to vanishing of this Hamiltonian. Statistical mechanics then offers techniques such as replica symmetry, to analyze the macroscopic properties of this ensemble. Also very interesting from the physicist’s point of view is the presence of a sharp phase transition [CKT91, MSL92] (see also [KS94]) between satisfiable and unsatisfiable regimes of random k-SAT. Namely, empirical evidence suggested that the properties of this ensemble undergoes a clearly defined transition when the clause density is varied. This transition is conjectured to be as follows. For 65

6. THE 1RSB ANSATZ OF STATISTICAL PHYSICS

66

each value of k, there exists a transition threshold αc (k) such that with probability approaching 1 as n → ∞ (called the Thermodynamic limit by physicists), • if α < αc (k), an instance of random k-SAT is satisfiable. Hence this region is called the SAT phase. • If α > αc (k), an instance of random k-SAT is unsatisfiable. This region is known as the unSAT phase. There has been intense research attention on determining the numerical value of the threshold between the SAT and unSAT phases as a function of k. [Fri99] provides a sharp but non-uniform construction (namely, the value αc is a function of the problem size, and is conjectured to converge as n → ∞). Functional upper bounds have been obtained using the first moment method [MA02] and improved using the second moment method [AP04] that improves as k gets larger.

6.2

The d1RSB Phase

More recently, another thread on this crossroad has originated once again from statistical physics and is most germane to our perspective. This is the work in the progression [MZ97], [BMW00], [MZ02], and [MPZ02] that studies the evolution of the solution space of random k-SAT as the constraint density increases towards the transition threshold. In these papers, physicists have conjectured that there is a second threshold that divides the SAT phase into two — an “easy” SAT phase, and a “hard” SAT phase. In both phases, there is a solution with high probability, but while in the easy phase one giant connected cluster of solutions contains almost all the solutions, in the hard phase this giant cluster shatters into exponentially many communities that are far apart from each other in terms of least Hamming distance between solutions that lie in distinct communities. Furthermore, these communities shrink and recede maximally far apart as the constraint density is increased towards the SAT-unSAT threshold. As this threshold is crossed, they vanish altogether. 66

6. THE 1RSB ANSATZ OF STATISTICAL PHYSICS

67

As the clause density is increased, a picture known as the “1RSB hypothesis” emerges that is illustrated in Fig. 6.1, and described below. RS For α < αd , a problem has many solutions, but they all form one giant cluster within which going from one solution to another involves flipping only a finite (bounded) set of variables. This is the replica symmetric phase. d1RSB At some value of α = αd which is below αc , it has been observed that the space of solutions splits up into “communities” of solutions such that solutions within a community are close to one another, but are far away from the solutions in any other community. This effect is known as shattering [ACO08]. Within a community, flipping a bounded finite number of variable assignments on one satisfying takes one to another satisfying assignment. But to go from one satisfying assignment in one community to a satisfying assignment in another, one has to flip a fraction of the set of variables and therefore encounters what physicists would consider an “energy barrier” between states. This is the dynamical one step replica symmetry breaking phase. unSAT Above the SAT-unSAT threshold, the formulas of random k-SAT are unsatisfiable with high probability. Using statistical physics methods, [KMRT+ 07] obtained another phase that lies between d1RSB and unSAT. In this phase, known as 1RSB (one step replica symmetry breaking), there is a “condensation” of the solution space into a subexponential number of clusters, and the sizes of these clusters go to zero as the transition occurs, after which there are no more solutions. This phase has not been proven rigorously thus far to our knowledge and we will not revisit it in this work. The 1RSB hypothesis has been proven rigorously for high values of k. Specifically, the existence of the d1RSB phase has been proven rigorously for the case of k > 8, starting with [MMZ05] (see also [DMMZ08]) who showed the existence of clusters in a certain region of the SAT phase using first moment methods. Later, [ART06] rigorously proved that there exist exponentially many clus67

in the region of constraint density α ∈ [αd .6. one may obtain the core of the cluster by “peeling away” variable assignments that. the fraction of variables that take the same value in the entire cluster (the so-called frozen variables) goes to one as the SAT-unSAT threshold is approached. α αd αc Figure 6.1: The clustering of solutions just before the SAT-unSAT threshold. In summary. loosely speaking occur only in clauses that are satisfied by other 68 . [ART06]. as well as confirmed the O(n) Hamming separation between clusters. and [ACO08]. Between αd and αc . We first need the notion of the core of a cluster.1 Cores and Frozen Variables In this section. Above αc . which is indicated by the unfilled circle. Given any solution in a cluster. αc ]. there are no more solutions. the solutions break up into exponentially many communities. the solution space is comprised of exponentially many communities of solutions which require a fraction of the variable assignments to be flipped in order to move between each other. Further [ACO08] obtained analytical expressions for the threshold at which the solution space of random k-SAT (as also two other CSPs — random graph coloring and random hypergraph 2-colorability) shatters. Below αd .2. 6. THE 1RSB ANSATZ OF STATISTICAL PHYSICS 68 ters in the d1RSB phase and showed that within any cluster. the space of solution is largely connected. we reproduce results about the distribution of variable assignments within each cluster of the d1RSB phase from [MMW07].

we say that a variable in a partial assignment is free when each clause it occurs in has at least one other variable that satisfies the clause. we have no way to tell that the core will not be the all ∗ partial assignment. assign it a ∗. with each variable being assigned a 0. This process will eventually lead to a fixed point.6. r) < αc such that for all α ∈ [α(k. THE 1RSB ANSATZ OF STATISTICAL PHYSICS variable assignments. 1. to obtain the core of a cluster. it follows that frozen variables take the same value throughout the cluster. there exists a clause density α(k. . . αc ]. if the variable xi takes value 1 in the core of a cluster. This process leads to the core of the cluster. we repeat the following starting with any solution in the cluster: if a variable is free. r). Finally. ∗}. However. xn ) as an assignment of each variable to a value in {0. . we do not know whether there are any frozen variables at all. almost every variable in a core is frozen as we increase the clause density towards the SAT-unSAT threshold. For example. . 69 To get a formal definition. first we define a partial assignment of a set of variables (x1 . 1 or a ∗. Apriori. 69 . Note that since the core can be arrived at starting from any choice of an initial solution in the cluster. with probability going to 1 in the thermodynamic limit. Of obvious interest are those variables that are assigned 0 or 1. For every r ∈ [0. Namely. These take both values 0 and 1 in the cluster. or has as assignment to ∗. and that is the core of the cluster. Next.1 ([ART06]). These variables are said to be frozen. [ART06] proved that for high enough values of k. The non-frozen variables are those that are assigned the value ∗ in the core. Theorem 6. We may easily see that the core is not dependent upon the choice of the initial solution. then every solution lying in the cluster has xi assigned the value 1. 1 ] there is a constant kr such that for all 2 k ≥ kr . The ∗ assignment is akin to a “joker state” which can take whichever value is most useful in order to satisfy the k-SAT formula. Clearly the number of ∗ variables is a measure of the internal entropy (and therefore the size) of a cluster since it is only these variables whose values vary within the cluster. What does the core of a cluster look like? Recall that the core is itself a partial assignment.

fewer than rn variables take the value ∗. but informally cores are too large to pass through the bottlenecks that the stage-wise first order LFP algorithms create. which means that when non-trivial cores do exist ( [ART06] proved their existence for k ≥ 9). By bounding the probability of this event. there exist α < αc (k) such that with high probability. this sort of interaction cannot be dealt with by LFP algorithms. As the reader may imagine after reading the previous chapters. they must involve a fraction of all the variables in the formula. cannot be dealt with using an LFP algorithm. 2. For every k ≥ 9. This gives us the corollary.6. but only when they can be factored into interactions of degree poly(log n) or are value limited. αn) has frozen variables. In other words. [MMW07] obtained a lower bound on the size of cores. But the appearance of cores is equivalent to the onset of O(n) degree interactions which cannot be further factored into poly(log n) degree interactions. αn) has at least (1 − r)n frozen variables. The bound is linear. this core is instantiated amply in the solution space (by that we mean it takes exponentially many values in those many clusters of the d1RSB phase). We will need more work to make this precise. every cluster of the solution space of Φk (n. 70 . caused by increasing the clause density sufficiently.2 ([ART06]). 70 Corollary 6. and are ample. This may also be interpreted as follows. a core may be thought of as the onset of a large single interaction of degree O(n) among the variables. Algorithms based on LFP can tackle long range interactions between variables. THE 1RSB ANSATZ OF STATISTICAL PHYSICS asymptotically almost surely 1. See also the remark at the end of this section. Furthermore. We end this section with a physical picture of what forms a core. then these clauses must have literals that come from a set of at most C variables. If a formula Φ has a core with C clauses. every cluster of solutions of Φk (n. Such ample irreducible O(n) interactions. Note that this picture is known to hold only for k ≥ 9 and is an open question for k < 9.

we turn to the question of how the two are related. there has been an understanding that hard instances of random k-SAT tend to occur when the constraint density α is near the transition threshold. 3. Hence. The precise statement of this intuitive picture will be provided in the next chapter when we build our conditional independence hierarchies. for low values of k such as k = 2. there is empirical evidence that this phenomenon does not take place [MMW05]. also see the discussion in [ART06. see [ACO08] and [CO09]. Thus. The ampleness precludes value limited interactions also as we shall see. This bottleneck is too small for a core to factor through in range limited LFP. The freezing of variables in cores is known to happen only for k ≥ 9 [ART06]. the ease of finding a solution differs quite dramatically on traditional SAT solvers due to a clustering of the solution space into numerous communities that are far apart 71 . See also [CO09] for the best current algorithm along with a comparison of various other algorithms to it. It remains open for k < 8. Now that we have surveyed the known results about the geometry of the space of solutions in this region. THE 1RSB ANSATZ OF STATISTICAL PHYSICS 71 We have already noted that this is because LFP algorithms factor through first order computations.6. our separation of complexity classes needs the regime of k ≥ 9. while both regimes in SAT have solutions with high probability. and in a first order computation. 6. §1]. and that this behavior was similar to phase transitions in spin glasses [KS94]. It has been empirically observed that the onset of the d1RSB transition seems to coincide with the constraint density where traditional solvers tend to exhibit exponential slowdown. Indeed.2. Beginning with [CKT91] and [MSL92]. and pointers to more detailed surveys. the decision of whether an element is to enter the relation being computed is based on information collected from local neighborhoods and combined in a bounded fashion.2 Performance of Known Algorithms in the d1RSB Phase We end this chapter with a brief overview of the performance of known algorithms as a function of the clause density.

we are currently unable to find them in polynomial time. These properties are not known to hold except for k ≥ 9 and clause densities above (2k /k) ln k. THE 1RSB ANSATZ OF STATISTICAL PHYSICS 72 from each other in terms of Hamming distance. well below the SAT-unSAT threshold.6. Hence. See [ACO08] for proofs that the clause density where all known polynomial time algorithms fail on NP-complete problems such as k-SAT and graph coloring coincides with the onset of the d1RSB phase in these problems. the freezing of variables within clusters. no algorithms are known to produce solutions in polynomial time with probability Ω(1) — neither on the basis of rigorous or empirical analysis. or any other evidence [CO09]. in regimes where we know solutions exist. In particular. this is fundamentally a limitation of polynomial time algorithms. we are guaranteed the presence of the full d1RSB phenomena only for k ≥ 9 72 . §2. for our separation of complexity classes. Our work will explain that indeed. Rem. This is because in the d1RSB phase. We will require all known properties of the d1RSB phase — namely. precluding both range and value limited parametrizations. and the O(n) variable changes required to move from one cluster to another. Please see [CO09] for the best known algorithm that does solve SAT instances with non-vanishing probability for densities up to 2k ω(k)/k for any sequence ω(k) → ∞. Compare this to the SAT-unSAT threshold. Thus. we will work with random k-SAT in the k ≥ 9 regime. the distribution of solutions is both irreducibly correlated at ranges O(n). and the clause density sufficiently high so that we are in the d1RSB phase. for clause densities above O(2k /k). which is asymptotically 2k ln 2. 2]. The significance of the value of k and clause density above (2k /k) ln k. By the results of [ART06] and [ACO08. the exponentially many clusters. the solution space geometry is not expressible as a mixture of range or value limited poly(log n)-parametrizable pieces. and ample. in such phases (for k ≥ 9).1. The earlier [ART06] had established the existence of shattering and freezing of variables within cores for α = Θ(2k ). Specifically. This clause density threshold for the onset of the d1RSB phase is 2k /k ln k [ACO08].

73 . Incomplete algorithms are a class that do not always find a solution when it exists. The cores in the clusters of random 3-SAT are trivial. We are not aware of experimental work done that shows the efficacy (even under mild requirements) of any algorithm on k ≥ 9 after the onset of the d1RSB phase with nontrivial cores. 3. The original work reported in [MPZ02] was on 3-SAT. where experiments are reported on 4-SAT. unlike k ≥ 9 where [ART06] show the existence of nontrivial cores for almost all clusters after the d1RSB threshold. THE 1RSB ANSATZ OF STATISTICAL PHYSICS 73 It should be noted that there is empirical evidence that the d1RSB phase is not present in random 3-SAT in the following sense. The algorithm uses the 1RSB hypothesis about the clustering of the solution space into numerous communities. The behavior of survey propagation for higher values of k is still being researched. Survey propagation seems to scale as n log n in this region. 4. See also [KMRT+ 06]. a breakthrough for incomplete algorithms in this field came with [MPZ02] who used the cavity method from spin glass theory to construct an algorithm named survey propagation that does very well on instances of random k-SAT with constraint density above the aforementioned clustering threshold. More recently. We should also point out that the experimental behavior of algorithms for k-SAT is largely characterized for lower values of k = 2. the experimental behavior of algorithms reported in [MRTS07] is on random 4-SAT. For instance. nor do they indicate the lack of solution except to the extent that they were unable to find one. and continues to perform well very close to the threshold αc for low values of k. By that we mean that they tend to be the all ∗ core.6. Incomplete algorithms are obviously very important for hard regimes of constraint satisfaction problems since we do not have complete algorithms in these regimes that have economical running times. where the full d1RSB picture is not known to hold.

m → ∞ with the ratio α := m/n being held constant. Graphs constructed in this manner may have two function nodes connected to the same k-tuple of variables. The random k-factor graph ensemble. Our treatment of this section follows [MM09. Definition 7. The random (k. In this section we introduce the factor graph ensembles that represent random k-SAT. Random Graph Ensembles We will use factor graphs as a convenient means to encode various properties of the random k-SAT ensemble.2. denoted by Gk (n. both the ensembles converge in the properties that are important to us. α). α)-factor graph ensemble. We will be interested in the case of the thermodynamic limit of n. consists of graphs having n variable nodes and m function nodes constructed as follows. while the degree of the variable nodes is a random variable with expectation km/n. denoted by Gk (n. Chapter 9]. a k-tuple of variables uniformly from the for such a k-tuple chosen from n variables. consists of graphs constructed as follows.7. In this case. the number of function nodes is a random variable with expectation αn.1. For each of the with probability αn/ n k n k n k possibilities k-tuples of variables. A graph in the ensemble is constructed by picking. for each of the m function nodes in the graph. Definition 7. In this ensemble. a function node that connects to only these k variables is added to the graph . function nodes all have degree k. and both can be seen as the 74 . In this ensemble. m). and the degree of variable nodes is a random variable with expectation αk.

1 Locally Tree-Like Property We have seen in Chapter 5 that the propagation of influence of variables during a LFP computation is stagewise-local. With the definitions in place. At each position. However. the probability of the graph structure occurring is p|E| (1 − p) . This is really the fundamental limitation of LFP that we seek to exploit. One may demonstrate this for the ErdosRenyi random graph as follows. Consider the probability of a certain graph (V. §9. we are ready to describe two properties of random graph ensembles that are pertinent to our problem. E) occurring as a subgraph of the Erdos-Renyi graph. Here.1. 7. and there is an edge between any two with probability c/n where c is a constant that parametrizes the density of the graph. Applying Stirling’s approximations. By that we mean that there are no cycles in a O(1) sized neighborhood of any vertex as the size of the graph goes to infinity [MM09. there are many extensive (meaning O(n)) correlations between variables that arise due to loops of sizes O(log n) and above. Edges are “drawn” uniformly and independently of each other. In order to understand why this is a limitation. If the graph is connected.7. remarkably.1 Properties of Factor Graph Ensembles The first property provides us with intuition on why algorithms find it so hard to put together local information to form a global perspective in CSPs. we see that such a graph occurs asymptotically O(|V | − |E|) times. 7. |V | ≤ |E| − 1 with equality 75 . RANDOM GRAPH ENSEMBLES 75 underlying factor graph ensembles to our random k-SAT ensemble SATk (n. we need to examine what local neighborhoods of the factor graphs underlying NP-complete problems like k-SAT look like in hard phases such as d1RSB. such graphs are locally trivial. Such a graph can occur in |V | −|E| 2 n |V | positions. there are n vertices.5]. In such phases. α) (see Chapter 6 for definitions and our notation for random k-SAT ensembles).

In short. Let G be a randomly chosen graph in the ensemble Gk (n. The next would be small connected subgraphs (triangles. m) are indistinguishable from each other. m). for instance). in the limit of n → ∞. Let us see what this means in terms of the information such graphs divulge locally. m) having degree d is the same as the expected value that a single variable node has degree d. m) and Tk (n. such random graphs do not provide any of their global properties through local inspection at each element.7. if only local neighborhoods are examined. 7. The expected value of the fraction of variables in Gk (n. RANDOM GRAPH ENSEMBLES 76 only for trees. In other words. of course. Thus. finite connected graphs have vanishing probability of occurring in finite neighborhoods of any element. the two ensembles Gk (n. These are.2 Degree Profiles in Random Graphs The degree of a variable node in the ensemble Gk (n. But even this next step is not available. d In the large graph limit we get lim P (deg vi = d) = e−kα (kα)d . available through local inspection. these loops are invisible when we inspect local neighborhoods of a fixed finite size. m) as n → ∞. Then the r-neighborhood of i in G converges in distribution to Tk (n.1. m) is a random variable. as the problem size grows. We wish to understand the distribution of this random variable. The simplest local property is degrees of elements. Theorem 7. both being equal to P (deg vi = d) = m k p (1 − p)m−d d where p = k . Let us think about what this implies. n! n→∞ 76 .3. However. We know from the onset of cores and frozen variables in the 1dRSB phase of k-SAT that there are strong correlations between blocks of variables of size O(n) in that phase. and i be a uniformly chosen node in G.

log log z (log z)2 . the degree is asymptotically a Poisson random variable. In particular. 184] for a discussion of this upper bound. p. m) is asymptotically almost surely O(log n). (7. RANDOM GRAPH ENSEMBLES In other words.7. Proof. Lemma 7.1) 77 .4. 77 A corollary is that the maximum degree of a variable node is almost surely less than O(log n) in the large graph case. The maximum variable node degree in Gk (n. it asymptotically almost surely satisfies the following dmax z = 1+Θ kαe log(z/ log z) where z = (log n)/kαe. as well as a lower bound. See [MM09.

1 Measuring Conditional Independence in Range Limited Models Our central concern with respect to range limited models is to understand which variable interactions in a system are irreducible — namely. Both are hampered by the same underlying property — that inspite of being distributions on n covariates. Separation of Complexity Classes We have built a framework that connects ideas from graphical models.8. What 78 . We are now ready to begin our final constructions that will yield the separation of complexity classes. this means that their joint distribution behaves like the joint distribution of only poly(log n) covariates instead of n covariates. We have described the fundamental similarity between range limited and value limited distributions in Chapter 3. they can be specified with only 2poly(log n) parameters. In light of the above. Such irreducible interactions can be 2-interactions (between pairs). those that cannot be expressed in terms of interactions between smaller sets of variables with conditional independencies between them. statistical mechanics. 8. they are both poly(log n)-parametrizable. Informally. A joint distribution encodes the interaction of a system of n variables. 3-interactions (between triples). up to n-interactions between all n variables simultaneously.5. we first consider the case of range limited poly(log n)parametrizations. In our terminology. We return to value limited poly(log n)-parametrizations just before the final separation of complexity classes in Section 8. and so on. and random graphs. logic.

Remark 8. At level zero of this “hierarchy”. or dually. We may. with k < n? In such a case. When the largest irreducible interactions are k-interactions. they are coupled together n at a time. but they grow relatively slowly. they behave in ways similar to a set of poly(log n) covariates. In the case of ordered graphs. the covariates should be independent of each other.5. SEPARATION OF COMPLEXITY CLASSES 79 would happen if all the direct interactions between variables in the system were all of less than a certain finite range k. without the possibility of being decoupled. the independent parameter space grows polynomially with n. the “jointness” of the distribution would lie at a lower level than n. we can make statements about how deeply entrenched the conditional independence between the covariates is. the n covariates do not display the behavior of a typical joint distribution of n variables. upper and lower bound the level using minimal I-maps and maximal D-maps for the distribution. 2. the “jointness” of the covariates really would lie at a lower “level” than n. as noted in Sec. The case of complex LFP is also one of poly(log n)parametrization. However. If. Similarly. it grows exponentially with n. In both cases above. if the variables did interact n at a time. as stated in Chapter 3. whereas in a general distribution without any conditional independencies. There are some technical issues with constructing such a hierarchy to measure conditional independence. Instead. for instance. the distribution can be parametrized with n2k independent parameters. We would like to measure the “level” of conditional independence in a system of interacting variables by inspecting their joint distribution. Thus. the distribution has a directed P-map. The first issue would be how to measure the level of a distribution in this hierarchy. The case of monadic LFP lies in between — the interactions are not of fixed size.1. but took only 2poly(log n) joint values. in families of distributions where the irreducible interactions are of fixed size. not all distributions have such maps. In this way. of course. we should note that there may be different minimal I-maps for 79 . then we could measure the size of the largest clique that appears in its moralized graph. except it is a value-limited O(n) interaction model. about how large the set of direct interactions between variables is.8. At level n.

the larger distribution factorized recursively according to some directed graphical model.2 Generating Distributions from LFP We will describe the method of generating distributions and showing economic parametrizations by embedding the covariates into a larger directed graphical model below for monadic LFP. 80] for an example. p. we will encode k-SAT formulae as structures over a fixed vocabulary. If we could somehow embed the distribution of solutions generated by LFP into a larger distribution. the larger distribution had only polynomially many more variates than the original one.2. We will return to the task of constructing such an embedding in Sec. The insight that allows us to resolve the issue is as follows.1 Encoding k-SAT into Structures In order to use the framework from Chapters 4 and 5. SEPARATION OF COMPLEXITY CLASSES 80 the same distribution for different orderings of the variables. and would cost us only polynomially more. then we would have obtained a parametrization of our distribution that would reflect the factorization of the larger distribution. We will indicate the differences for complex LFP. which does not affect us. First we describe how we use LFP to create a distribution of solutions. we aim to demonstrate that distributions of solutions generated by LFP lie at a lower level of conditional independence than distributions that occur in the d1RSB phase of random k-SAT. such that 1. 80 . Consequently. and 2. By pursuing the above course.8. they have more economical parametrizations than the space of solutions in the d1RSB phase does. See [KF09. 8. 8.3. 8.

SEPARATION OF COMPLEXITY CLASSES 81 Our vocabularies are relational. 4. 81 . we come to the universe. In order to avoid new notation. Next. . ¬x1 . We will use three relations. but they can come either in positive or negative form. The relation RC will consist of k-tuples from the universe interpreted as clauses consisting of disjunctions between the variables in the tuple. ¬xn . We will describe these in the Sec. RP }. 8. our universe will have 2n elements corresponding to the variables x1 . Rather we will include a relation such that FO(LFP) can capture all the polynomial time queries on the structure. The relation RE will be interpreted as an “edge” between successive variables. . 1.8. The relation RP will be a partial assignment of values to the underlying variables. A SAT formula is defined over n variables. RE . we need to interpret our relations in our universe. We do not require constants. Lastly. . we will simply use the same notation to indicate the corresponding element in the universe. xn . This describes our vocabulary σ = {RC . . The first relation RC will encode the clauses that a SAT formula comprises. . Thus. Since we are studying ensembles of random k-SAT. 2. We will not introduce a linear ordering since that would make the Gaifman graph a clique. we need a relation RP to hold “partial assignments” to the SAT formulae. this relation will have arity k. . and so we need only specify the set of relations. Finally. This will be a binary relation RE .2. 3. We dispense with the superscripts since the underlying structure is clear. We need a relation in order to make FO(LFP) capture polynomial time queries on the class of k-SAT structures. . while the corresponding upper case Xi denotes the corresponding variable in a model. We denote by lower case xi the literals of the formula. . and the set of constants.3.

α). The resulting ensemble will be denoted by Sk (n. Specifically. Recall that an order on the structure enables the LFP computation (or the Turing machine the runs this computation) to represent tuples in a lexicographical ordering. which have a well defined notion of order on them. We could encode our structures with a linear order. it plays no further role. However to allow LFP to capture polynomial time on the class of encodings. 82 . that still suffices. ¬x2 . This seems most natural. for k = 3. but that would make the Gaifman graph fully connected. both for 1 ≤ i < n. each stage of the LFP is order-invariant. The reason for the relation RE that creates the chain is that on such structures. ¬x3 ) in the relation RC . xi+1 ) and (¬xi . the pairs (xi . Ensembles of k-SAT Let us now create ensembles of σ-structures using the encoding described above. What we want is something weaker. This is a technicality. α). the clause x1 ∨ ¬x2 ∨ ¬x3 in the SAT formula will be encoded by inserting the tuple (x1 . as well as the pair (xn . This chains together the elements of the structure. ¬x1 ) will be in the relation RE . In other words. SEPARATION OF COMPLEXITY CLASSES 82 Now we encode our k-SAT formulae into σ-structures in the natural way. For example.8. polynomial time queries are captured by FO(LFP) [EF06. the assignments to the variables that are computed by the LFP have nothing to do with their order. α) as a σ-structure will be denoted by Pk (n. Note also that SAT problems may also be represented as matrices (rows for clauses. we need to give the LFP something it can use to create an ordering. columns for variables that appear in them). We will start with the ensemble SATk (n. we encode our structures as successor-type structures through the relation RE . They depend only on the relation RC which encodes the clauses and the relation RP that holds the initial partial assignment that we are going to ask the LFP to extend.2]. §11. ¬xi+1 ). α) and encode each k-SAT instance as a σ-structure. The encoding of the problem Φk (n. Similarly. In our problem of k-SAT. Thus. It is known that the class of order invariant queries is also Gaifman local [GS00]. since it imparts on the structure an ordering based on that of the variables.

we build the Gaifman graph of each such structure. We encode the k-SAT instance as a structure as described in the previous section. The sites of the neighborhood system are the variable nodes. Finally. will be denoted by Ik (n. the vertices of the graph will be the set of sites. The neighborhood Ns of a site s is the set of all nodes that lie in the r-neighborhood of a site. This graph will be called the interaction graph of the LFP computation. Each graph in this ensemble encodes an instance of random k-SAT. the simple monadic LFP computation induces a neighborhood system described as follows.e. The set of vertices of the Gaifman graph are simply the set of variable nodes in the factor graph and their negations since we are using both variables and their negations for convenience (this is simply an implementation detail). On this Gaifman graph. and build the neighborhood system through the Gaifman graph. we wish to describe the neighborhood system that underlies the monadic LFP computations on structures of Sk (n. What is the size of cliques in this interaction graph? This is not the same as the size of cliques in the factor graph. or the Gaifman graph. Let us recall the factor graph ensemble Gk (n. therefore. α). In particular. Namely. We begin with the factor graph.2 will have 12 vertices. Note that this interaction graph has many more edges in general than the Gaifman graph. For instance. Each site s will be connected by an edge to every other site in Ns . we make the neighborhood system into a graph in the standard way.2 The LFP Neighborhood System In this section. because the density 83 . m). SEPARATION OF COMPLEXITY CLASSES 83 8.8. every node that was within the locality rank neighborhood of the Gaifman graph is now connected to it by a single edge..2. Two vertices are joined by an edge in the Gaifman graph either when the two corresponding variable nodes were joined to a single function node (i. The resulting graph is. the Gaifman graph for the factor graph of Fig 2. appeared in a single clause) of the factor graph or if they are adjacent to each other in the chain that relation RE has created on the structure. far more dense than the Gaifman graph. where r is the locality rank of the first order formula ϕ whose fixed point is being constructed by the LFP computation. Next. parametrized by the clause density α. The ensemble of such graphs. α).

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of the graph is higher. The size of the largest clique is a random variable. What we want is an asymptotic almost sure (by this we mean with probability tending to 1 in the thermodynamic limit) upper bound on the size of the cliques in the distribution of the ensemble Ik (n, α). Note: From here on, all the statements we make about ensembles should be understood to hold asymptotically almost surely in the respective random ensembles. By that we mean that they hold with probability 1 as n → ∞. Lemma 8.2. The size of cliques that appear in graphs of the ensemble Ik (n, α) are upper bounded by poly(log n) asymptotically almost surely. Proof. Let dmax be as in (7.1), and r be the locality rank of ϕ. The maximum degree of a node in the Gaifman graph is asymptotically almost surely upper bounded by dmax = O(log n). The locality rank is a fixed number (roughly equal to 3d where d is the quantifier depth of the first order formula that is being iterated). The node under consideration could have at most dmax others adjacent to it, and the same for those, and so on. This gives us a coarse dr upper bound max on the size of cliques. Remark 8.3. While this bound is coarse, there is not much point trying to tighten it because any constant power factor (r in the case above) can always be introduced by computing a r-ary LFP relation. This bound will be sufficient for us. Remark 8.4. High degree nodes in the Gaifman graph become significant features in the interaction graph since they connect a large number of other nodes to each other, and therefore allow the LFP computation to access a lot of information through a neighborhood system of given radius. It is these high degree nodes that reduce factorization of the joint distribution since they represent direct interaction of a large number of variables with each other. Note that although the radii of neighborhoods are O(1), the number of nodes in them is not O(1) due to the Poisson distribution of the variable node degrees, and the existence of high degree nodes.

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Remark 8.5. The relation being constructed is monadic, and so it does not introduce new edges into the Gaifman graph at each stage of the LFP computation. When we compute a k-ary LFP, we can encode it into a monadic LFP over a polynomially (nk ) larger product space, as is done in the canonical structure, for instance, but with the linear order replaced by a weaker successor type relation. Therefore, we can always chose to deal with monadic LFP. This is really a restatement of the transitivity principle for inductive definitions that says that if one can write an inductive definition in terms of other inductively defined relations over a structure, then one can write it directly in terms of the original relations that existed in the structure [Mos74, p. 16].

8.2.3

Generating Distributions

The standard scenario in finite model theory is to ask a query about a structure and obtain a Yes/No answer. For example, given a graph structure, we may ask the query “Is the graph connected?” and get an answer. But what we want are distributions of solutions that are computed by a purported LFP algorithm for k-SAT. This is not generally the case in finite model theory. Intuitively, we want to generate solutions lying in exponentially many clusters of the solution space of SAT in the d1RSB phase. How do we do this? To generate these distributions, we will start with partial assignments to the set of variables in the formula, and ask the question whether such a partial assignment can be extended to a satisfying assignment. We need the following definition. Definition 8.6. A global relation associated to a decision problem on a class K is a relation R of a fixed arity k over A associated to each structure A ∈ K. The following is a restatement of the Immerman-Vardi theorem phrased in terms of computability of global relations. See [LR03, §11.2, p. 206] for a proof. Theorem 8.7. A global relation R on a class of successor structures is computable in polynomial time if and only if R is inductive. 85

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We wish to see that the global relation that associates to each structure a complete assignment that coincides with the partial assignment placed in the relation RP is inductive. By the theorem above, this is equivalent to showing that it is computable in polynomial time. In order to see this, we recall that decision problems that are NP-complete have a property called self-reducibility that allows us to query a decision procedure for them a polynomial number of times and build a solution to the search version of the problem. If P = NP, then all decision problems in NP have polynomial time solutions, and one can use self-reducibility to see that the search version will also be polynomial time solvable — namely, a solution will be constructible in polynomial time. Next we will define our search problem in a way that a solution to it will be a global relation: an instance of the problem will be a structure with partial assignments, and the question will be whether the partial assignment can be extended to a complete assignment. The complete assignment can be represented by a global unary relation that will store all the literals assigned +1, and which must concur with the partial assignment on its overlap. This decision problem is clearly in NP, and therefore if P = NP, it would have a polynomial time search solution, making R computable in polynomial time. The theorem then says R must be inductive. Since we want to generate exponentially many such solutions, we will have to partially assign O(n) (a small fraction) of the variables, and ask the LFP to extend this assignment, whenever possible, to a satisfying assignment to all variables. Thus, we now see what the relation RP in our vocabulary stands for. It holds the partial assignment to the variables. For example, suppose we want to ask whether the partial assignment x1 = 1, x2 = 0, x3 = 1 can be extended to a satisfying assignment to the SAT formula, we would store this partial assignment in the tuple (x1 , ¬x2 , x3 ) in the relation RP in our structure. As mentioned earlier, the output satisfying assignment will be computed as a unary relation which holds all the literals that are assigned the value 1. This means that xi is in the relation if xi has been assigned the value 1 by the LFP, and otherwise ¬xi is in the relation meaning that xi has been assigned the value

86

3 Disentangling the Interactions: The ENSP Model Now that we have a distribution of solutions computed by LFP. 87 . Since we wish to apply them to the setting of complexity theory. Once again. for instance? In Chapter 2. we considered various graphical models and their conditional independence characteristics. with a focus on how their structure changes with the problem size. and we will view it as monadic over a polynomially larger structure. We will have to build our own. they model fixed interactions between a fixed set of variables. Does it factor through any particular graphical model. based on the principles we have learnt. By this we mean that 1. In this way we get a distribution of solutions that is exponentially numerous. we simply abort that particular attempt and carry on with other partial assignments until we generate enough solutions. SEPARATION OF COMPLEXITY CLASSES 87 0 by the LFP computation. they are of fixed size. and we now analyze it and compare it to the one that arises in the d1RSB phase of random k-SAT. If the partial assignment cannot be extended. we are interested in families of such models. In short. By “enough” we mean rising exponentially with the underlying problem size. the output will be some section of a relation of higher arity (please see Appendix A for details). Let us first note two issues. This is the simplest case where the FO(LFP) formula is simple monadic. our situation is not exactly like any of these models. 8.8. For more complex formulas. and 2. The first issue is that graphical models considered in literature are mostly static. the relations between the variables encoded in the models are fixed. Now we “initialize” our structure with different partial assignments and ask the LFP to compute complete assignments when they exist. we would like to examine its conditional independence characteristics. over a fixed set of variables.

it changes the neighborhoods (or more precisely the local types of various other elements) in its vicinity. Thus. The way a LFP computation proceeds through the structure will. 2. the way the LFP would go about assigning values to the unassigned variables would be. We know that there is a “directed-ness” to LFP in that elements that are assigned values at a certain stage of the computation then go on to influence other elements who are as yet unassigned. there is a directed flow of influence as the LFP computation progresses. once an element is assigned a value. Because the flow of information is as described above. or the set of neighborhoods. in general. neighborhoods across the structure influence the value an unassigned node will take. It implicitly happens once any element enters the relation being computed. different from a Markov random field distribution which has no such direction. Even within a cluster. How do we deal with this situation? In order to model this dynamic behavior. for example. In the other type of flow. different. Consider simple monadic LFP. Note that while the first type of flow happens during a stage of the LFP. although we would expect them to be similar. in general. vary with the initial partial assignment. In one type of flow. Namely. and another in cluster Y. the trajectories of two different initial partial assignments will not be the same. Even within a certain size n. This is. the second type is implicit. So.8. SEPARATION OF COMPLEXITY CLASSES 88 The second issue that faces us now is as follows. 3. 88 . we do not have a fixed graph on n vertices that will model all our interactions. We would expect a different “trajectory” of the LFP computation for different clusters in the d1RSB phase. Thus. we have to consider building a graphical model on certain larger product spaces. there is no separate stage of the LFP where it happens. we will not be able to express it using a simple DAG on either the set of vertices. 1. There are two types of flows of information in a LFP computation. if one initial partial assignment landed us in cluster X. let us build some intuition first.

we would like to avoid any closed directed paths. They therefore correspond to elements in the structure (recall that elements of the structure represent the literals in the k-SAT formula). The model is illustrated in Fig. The stage-wise nature of LFP is central to our analysis. which encode the variables of the k-SAT instance. Thus. . 5. Each of their possible values are the possible isomorphism types of the r-neighborhoods.1. Just like variables. 8. Xn is represented by a different vertex at each stage of the computation. and the various stages cannot be bundled into one without losing crucial information. However. 8. 89 . In order to exploit the factorization properties of directed graphical models. each variable in the original system gives rise to |ϕA | vertices in the ENSP model. .1. each neighborhood is also represented by a different vertex at each stage of the LFP computation. elements do not change their color once they have been assigned. . where n is the number of variables in the SAT formula. represent the r-neighborhoods of the elements in the structure. Neighborhood Vertices These vertices. We now describe the ENSP model for a simple monadic least fixed point computation. and red indicating the variable has been assigned the value −1. Thus. and the resulting parametrization by potentials. SEPARATION OF COMPLEXITY CLASSES 89 4.green indicating the variable has been assigned a value of +1.1. Since the underlying formula ϕ that is being iterated is positive. Also recall that there are 2n elements in the k-SAT structure. 8. or ENSP model for short. in Fig 8. we have only shown one vertex per variable. and allowed it to be colored two colors . we do need a model which captures each stage separately. It has two types of vertices. each variable in our original system X1 .1.8. This model appears to be of independent interest. are represented by the smaller circles in Fig. However. which we will call a Element-Neighborhood-Stage Product Model. Let us now incorporate this intuition into a model. Element Vertices These vertices. denoted by the larger circles with blue shading in Fig. .

1 X2.2 X2.3 Xn-1.3) Xn.3) N(xn-1) Neighborhoods N(x3.2 X1.2) N(x2.2) Xn.1 X3.1) N(xn-1. 90 .3 Xi.3 X3. See text for description.1) N(x2.2 Xn-1.2 Xi.1 ⋮ X4.2 X3.1 Xi.3 X1.2 N(x1.1: The Element-Neighborhood-Stage Product (ENSP) model for LFPϕ .3) N(xn) N(xn-1.1 Xn-1.2) N(xn-1.2) N(x3.1 X1.2 ⋮ X4. SEPARATION OF COMPLEXITY CLASSES 90 N(xn.1) Xn.3 ⋮ X4.2 ⋮ Xi+1.1) N(xn.3) N(x2) N(x1.1 Stages of LFP Figure 8.3 X2.8.3 ⋮ Xi+1.3) N(x3) N(x2.1 ⋮ N(x1.1) N(x3.3 N(x1) Xn Xn-1 ⋮ Xi+1 Xi ⋮ X4 X3 X2 X1 Elements Xi+1.2) N(xn.

starting from the leftmost and terminating at the rightmost. In this way. At this stage. Similarly. Initially. which we do not show in the figure in order to avoid clutter.1 is red. Now we describe the stages of the ENSP. it assigns the value −1 to variable Xn (remember that the first two stages in the ENSP correspond to the first stage of the LFP computation).2 takes the color green based on information gathered from its own neighborhood N (X3. and some red. and the existence of a bounded number of other local neighborhoods in the structure. Let us now look at the transition to the second stage of the ENSP.8. and the neighborhoods in their vicinity (meaning. their neighborhoods. In the figure. the LFP assigned the value +1 to the variable X3 . This means they get assigned +1 or −1. the neighborhoods of other elements that are in their vicinity) change. some elements enter the relation. and abort if not). SEPARATION OF COMPLEXITY CLASSES 91 namely. a small fraction O(n) of the variables are assigned values. we are in the left-most stage.2. The vertices that do not change state simply transmit their existing state to the corresponding vertices in the next stage by a horizontal arrow.1 ) and N (Xn−1. Once some variables have been assigned values in the first stage. or one may think of them as a single variable taking the value of the various local r-types. Each stage of the LFP computation is represented by two stages in the ENSP.1 is green. In the figure. These vertices may be thought of as vectors of size poly(log n) corresponding to the cliques that occur in the neighborhood system we described in Sec. This is indicated by the dot91 . the variable X3. and Xi. 8. X4. There are 2|ϕA | stages. notice that some variable vertices are colored green. Here.1 ) and two other neighborhoods N (X2. at the start of the LFP computation.2. This indicates that at the first stage. based on the conditions expressed by the formula ϕ in terms of their own local neighborhoods. This indicates that the initial partial assignment that we provided the LFP had variable X4 assigned +1 and variable Xi assigned −1.1 ). The LFP is asked to extend this partial assignment to a complete satisfying assignment on all variables (if it exists. the local r-types of the corresponding element.

once X3 has been assigned the value +1. Thus. The explicit stages of the ENSP also perform the task of propagating the local constraints placed by the various factors in the underlying factor graph outward into the larger graphical model. influence propagates through the structure during a LFP computation. Xn ) by simply looking only at the last (rightmost in the figure) level of the ENSP. In this way. This is what we will exploit. in the case of k = 3 the clause x1 ∨ x2 ∨ ¬x3 permits all global assignments except those whose first three coordinates are (−1. if the factor were a XORSAT clause. The second stage is the implicit stage. Note that this happens implicitly during LFP computation. Remark 8. The variables at the last stage Xi. There are two stages of the ENSP for each stage of the LFP. where variables “update their neighborhoods” and those neighborhoods in their vicinity. in our case of the factors encoding clauses of a k-SAT formula. We have embedded our original set of variates into a polynomially larger product space. For example.8. The first stage is the explicit stage. where variables get assigned values. we have accomplished our original aim. k-SAT asks a question about whether certain spaces 92 . −1. For example. we recover our original variables (X1 .|ϕA | are just the original Xi . .8. This product space has a nice factorization due to the directed graph structure. and obtained a directed graphical model on this larger space. . . there are 2|ϕA | stages of the ENSP in all. the local restrictions are all in the form of linear spaces. In contrast. For example. By introducing extra variables to represent each stage of each variable and each neighborhood in the SAT formula. By the end of the computation. it updates its neighborhood and also the neighborhood of variable X2 which lies in its vicinity (in this example). the local constraint placed by a clause is that the global assignment must evade exactly one restriction to a specified set of k coordinates. all variables have been assigned values. and so the global solution is an intersection of such spaces. +1). SEPARATION OF COMPLEXITY CLASSES 92 ted arrows between the second and third stages of the ENSP. . That is why we have represented each stage of the actual LFP computation by two stages in the ENSP. and we have a satisfying assignment. Thus.

4 Parametrization of the ENSP Our goal is to demonstrate the following. 93 . . If LFP were able to compute solutions to the d1RSB phase of random k-SAT. where 1 ≤ i1 < i2 < · · · < ik ≤ n and the prohibited νi are ±1. Since the LFP completes its computation in under a fixed polynomial number of steps. . all messages are coded into the formula ϕ. this means that we have managed to represent the LFP computation on a structure as a directed model using a polynomial overhead in the number of parameters of our representation space. then the distribution of the entire space of solutions would have a substantially simpler parametrization than we know it does. by embedding the covariates into a polynomially larger space. and 2|ϕA | stages. . Linearity is a global constraint. if we were to try to solve XORSAT formulae. Note that these are O(1) local constraints per factor. Thus. we would not be able to place the various computations done by LFP into a single graphical model. Of course. we have a directed graph with 2n + n = 3n vertices at each stage. So. In other words. . The insight that we can afford to incur a polynomial cost in order to obtain a common graphical model on a larger product space was key to this section. In contrast. . XORSAT asks the question about whether certain linear spaces have a non-empty intersection. for instance. the end result of multiple runs of the LFP will be a space of solutions conditioned upon the requirements. Note that without embedding the covariates into a larger space. ωik ) = (ν1 . . .8. Thus. we have been able to put a common structure on various computations done by LFP on them. . 8. νk )} 93 have non-empty intersections. we would obtain a space that would be linear. SEPARATION OF COMPLEXITY CLASSES of the form {ω : (ωi1 .

How do we compute the CPDs or potentials? We assign various initial partial assignments to the variables as described in Sec. assuming that P = NP. This gives us the factorization (over the expanded representation space) of our distribution. we also know that we can parameterize the distribution by specifying a system of potentials over its cliques. and build up our local CPDs by simply recording local statistics over all these runs. in general. without any added positivity constraints. We do this exponentially numerous times.13. What is important is that each such model will have some properties — such as largest clique size. the major benefit of directed graphical models is that we can do this always. depend on the initial partial assignment.2. be different. We only consider successful computations. 8. The directed nature of the ENSP also means that we can factor the resulting distribution into conditional probability distributions (CPDs) at each vertex of the model of the form P (x | pa(x)). we need to measure the growth in the dimension of independent parameters it requires to parametrize the distribution of solutions that we have just computed using LFP. From our perspective. namely those where the LFP was able to extend the partial assignment to a full satisfying assignment to the underlying k-SAT formula. The ENSP for different runs of the LFP will. and then normalize each CPD. we have embedded our variates into a polynomially larger space that has factorization according to a directed model — the ENSP.3 and let the LFP computations run. By employing the version of Hammersley-Clifford for directed models. SEPARATION OF COMPLEXITY CLASSES 94 In order to accomplish this. each CPD will have scope only poly(log n). Once again.8. In order to do this. automatically ensuring conditional independence. We have seen that the cliques in the ENSP are of size poly(log n). Theorem 2. We represent each stage of the LFP computation on the corresponding two stages of the ENSP and thus obtain one full instantiation of the representation space. Recall that positivity is required in order to apply the Hammersley-Clifford theorem to obtain factorizations for undirected models. which de- 94 . in general. This is because the flow of influences through the stages of the ENSP will.

The same can also be arrived at by utilizing the normal form of Theorem 5. 2. By Theorem 5. There are only n neighborhoods. 4.10. each of these possibilities can be parameterized by 2poly(log n) parameters. SEPARATION OF COMPLEXITY CLASSES 95 termines the order of the number of parameters — in common. 1. There are polynomially many more vertices in the ENSP model than elements in the underlying structure. A distribution that factorizes according to the ENSP can be parameterized with 2poly(log n) independent parameters.9. This also underscores the principle that the description of the parameter space is simpler because it only involves interactions between l variates at a time directly. Let us inspect these properties that determine the parametrization of the ENSP model.2 gives us a poly(log n) upper bound on the size of the neighborhoods. The ENSP is an interaction model where direct interactions are of size poly(log n). Lemma 8. Remember.8. and are chained together through conditional independencies.9 there is a fixed constant s such that there must exist s neighborhoods in the structure satisfying certain local conditions for the formula to hold. Proposition 8. At each implicit stage of the ENSP. In the case of the LFP neighborhood system. The number of local r-types whose value each neighborhood vertex can take is 2poly(log n) . By the previous point. we are presently analyzing a single stage of the LFP. and each has poly(log n) elements at most. 3. giving us a total of 2poly(log n) parameters required. we have to update the types of the neighborhoods that were affected by the induction of elements at the previous explicit stage. and then chains these together through conditional independencies. This again gives us poly(n) (O(ns ) in this case) different possibilities for each explicit stage of the ENSP. The scope of the factors in the parametrization grows as poly(log n). the size of the largest cliques 95 .

This will not change if we were computing using complex fixed points since the space of k-types is only polynomially larger than the underlying structure. The property of the ENSP for range limited models that allows us to analyze the behavior of mixtures is that it is specified by local Gibbs potentials on its cliques. As the reader may intuit. This is simply a statement about the paucity of independent parameters in the component distributions in the mixture. which are of size poly(log n). Next. The cliques are also upper bounded in size by poly(log n). We will treat the value limited case shortly. Furthermore. In this case. Therefore. This is what drastically reduces the parameter space required to specify the distribution. The crucial property of the distribution of the ENSP is that it admits a recursive factorization. let us examine the value limited case. Thus. It also allows us to parametrize the ENSP by simply specifying potentials on its maximal cliques. Next. not of size O(n). these will show features of scope poly(log n). the differences are 96 . 8.8. a variable interacts with the rest of the model only through the cliques that it is part of. the features in the mixture will be of size poly(log n). in contrast to requiring the larger space RO(n) . we analyze the features of such a mixture when exponentially many instantiations of it are provided. While the entire distribution obtained by LFP may not factor according to any one ENSP. This means that when exponentially many solutions are generated. it is a mixture of distributions each of whom factorizes as per some ENSP. These cliques are parametrized by potentials. the mixture comprises distributions that can be parametrized by a subspace of Rpoly(log n) . a vertex may be in at most O(log n) such cliques.5 Separation We continue our treatment of range limited poly(log n)-parametrizations. SEPARATION OF COMPLEXITY CLASSES 96 are poly(log n) for each single run of the LFP. when such a mixture is asked to provide exponentially many samples. In other words. a vertex displays collective behavior only of range poly(log n). We may think of the cliques as the building blocks of each ENSP.

4. and these rules are the same for different computations since it is the same LFP that is being used. but are not very long (have only 2poly(log n) rows). since they are CPDs of the same LFP. 3. This means that two CPDs cannot specify different behavior for the same priors. Using this property. the final merged potential will be compatible with each smaller potential on overlaps. How do we merge various O(n) potentials into a single poly(n) sized potential? And what will be the resulting parametrization of this merged potential? In order to merge the potentials. So we will create a single potential over the entire graphical model which will have scope poly(n) (since the computation terminates in polynomial time). However. The potentials are already large in their scope (O(n)). the potentials are parameterized with only 2poly(log n) parameters inspite of having O(n) size. as sections of inductive relations of higher arity. then the CPDs are wide (have O(n) columns). 97 . Remember. these CPDs are nothing but the rules by which the computation proceeds. The solutions are generated by complex LFP. Namely. but the graphical model is parametrizable with only 2poly(log n) parameters.8. Once again we see that we cannot instantiate exponentially many solutions from such a limited parametrization and obtain the d1RSB picture which requires ample O(n) joint distributions. There are O(n) interactions at each stage. Thus. we observe that they have a certain sheaflike property. the Gibbs potentials are specified over cliques of size O(n). they must agree on overlaps. How do we analyze mixtures of such potentials? The idea is as follows. then so must the final merged potential. 2. we can see that if each of the potentials had poly(log n) parametrization. If we think of a potential as a CPD. Since the interactions are O(n). SEPARATION OF COMPLEXITY CLASSES as follows 97 1.

without the possibility of factoring into smaller pieces through conditional independencies. Nor are they value limited since they instantiate in each of the exponentially many clusters in the d1RSB phase. SEPARATION OF COMPLEXITY CLASSES 98 This explains why polynomial time algorithms fail when interactions between variable are ample-O(n). parametrization over cliques of size O(n). and successive such assignments chained together through conditional independencies. We have shown that in the ENSP for range limited models. these ample irreducible-O(n) interactions manifest through the appearance of cores which comprise clauses whose variables are coupled so tightly that one has to assign them “simultaneously. without any conditional independencies between subsets. variables in a core are so tightly coupled together that they can only vary jointly. In other words. and are not value limited either. it guarantees us that there will exist conditional independencies in sets of size larger than the largest cliques in 98 . and which display the ample joint behavior of a system of n covariates. not O(n). their variation is ample. In case of random k-SAT in the d1RSB phase. Intuitively. This threshold is precisely the value where ample irreducibleO(n) interactions first appear in almost all randomly constructed instances. and become hard only when the densities of constraints increase above a certain threshold. this makes it impossible for polynomial time algorithms to assign their variables correctly. Since cores do not factor through conditional independencies. it guarantees us conditional independencies at the level of its largest interactions. the size of the largest such irreducible interactions are poly(log n). In such cases. Furthermore. since the model is directed. Once clause density is sufficiently high.” Cores arise when a set of C = O(n) clauses have all their variables also lying in a set of size C. Likewise. This also puts on rigorous ground the empirical observation that even NP-complete problems are easy in large regimes. cores cannot be assigned poly(log n) at a time. is insufficient. which requires O(cn ) independent parameters to specify. parametrization over cliques of size only poly(log n) is insufficient to specify the joint distribution. Furthermore.8. they represent irreducible interactions of size O(n) which may not be factored any further. but with only 2poly(log n) parameters. More precisely.

8. we are ready to state our main theorem. The framework we have constructed allows us to analyze the set of polynomial time algorithms simultaneously.2. In other words.2: The factorization and conditional independencies within a core due to potentials of size poly(log n).1.8. It makes precise the notion that polynomial time algorithms can take into account only interactions between variables that grow as poly(log n). Consider the solution space of k-SAT in the d1RSB phase for k > 8 as recalled in Section. not as O(n). This is illustrated in Fig. the features present in cores in the d1RSB phase have size O(n). while the space of solutions generated by LFP has features of size poly(log n).10. should the core factorize as per the ENSP.2. P = NP. which are O(poly(log n)). Independent given Intermediate values Independent given Intermediate values poly(log n) poly(log n) Figure 8. there will be independent variation within cores when conditioned upon values of intermediate variables that also lie within the core. We know that for high enough values of the clause 99 . instead of dealing with each individual algorithm separately. 6. At this point. Proof. SEPARATION OF COMPLEXITY CLASSES 99 its moral graph. In other words. Theorem 8. since they can all be captured by some LFP. This is contradictory to the known behaviour of cores for sufficiently high values of k and clause density in the d1RSB phase.

SEPARATION OF COMPLEXITY CLASSES 100 density α. these two give us a poly(log n) quantity. But we know that in the highly constrained phases of d1RSB. we can preclude value limited poly(log n)-parametrization. then given a value of β. When exponentially many solutions have been generated.8. This would mean that with a poly(log n) change in frozen variables of one cluster. Let αβγ be a representation of the variables in cliques α. we have O(n) frozen variables in almost all of the exponentially many clusters. Let us consider then the situation where these clusters were generated by a purported range limited LFP algorithm for k-SAT that can be parametrized by the ENSP model with clique sizes poly(log n). This gives us the contradiction that we seek. At this point. there will be conditional distributions that exhibit conditional independence between blocks of variates size poly(log n). In our case. we may even choose our poly(log n) blocks to be in overlaps of these variables. then this means that we have generated more than exponential in poly(log n) distinct solutions. we will see the effect of conditional independencies beyond range poly(log n). we need O(n) variable flips to get from one cluster to the next. If each set of such variables has scope at most poly(log n). β and γ. When exponentially many solutions have been generated from distributions having the parametrization of the ENSP model. we will have non-trivial conditional distributions conditioned upon values of β variables. Note that since O(n) variables have to be changed when jumping from one cluster to another. The basic question in analyzing such mixtures is: How many variables do we need to condition upon in order to split the distribution into conditionally independent pieces? The answer is given by (a) the size of the largest cliques and (b) the number of such cliques that a single variable can occur in. we will see independent variation over all their possible conditional values in the variables of α and γ. the conditional independencies ensure that we will see cross terms of the form α1 βγ1 α2 βγ2 α1 βγ2 α2 βγ1 . we would get a solution in another cluster. Namely. The first observation we make is that since the variables in cores are instantiated in exponentially many clusters. 100 .

the “jointness” in this distribution lies at a level poly(log n). This quantity would have to grow exponentially with n in order to display the behavior of the d1RSB phase.2. This behavior is completely determined by poly(log n) other variates. We may think of such mixtures as possessing only cpoly(log n) “channels” to communicate directly with other variables. it must be poly(log n). Their correlations must factor through this bottleneck. Each variable may choose poly(log n) partners out of O(n) to form a potential. This gives us the cross-terms described earlier. Once again we return to the same point — that the jointness of the distribution that a purported LFP algorithm would generate would lie at the poly(log n) levels of conditional independence.8. which gives us conditional independences after range poly(log n). this means blocks of variables of size poly(log n) only “see” the rest of the distribution through equivalence classes that grow as O(npoly(log n) )). Instead. All long range correlations transmitted in such a distribution must pass through only these many channels. This means that blocks of size larger than this are now varying independently of each other conditioned upon some intermediate variables. it can only display a limited joint behavior. exponentially many solutions cannot independently transmit O(n) correlations (namely. We can see that due to the limited parameter space that determines each variable. Thus. not by O(n) other variates. It is also useful to consider how many different parametrizations a block of size poly(log n) may have. there will be solutions that show cross-terms between features whose size is poly(log n). SEPARATION OF COMPLEXITY CLASSES 101 there will be no effect of the values of one upon those of the other. It may choose O(log n) such potentials. the resulting distribution will start showing features that are at most of size poly(log n). This is shown pictorially in Fig. This is why when enough solutions have been generated by the LFP. Even coarsely. whereas the jointness in 101 . In other words. This is what prevents the Hamming distance between solutions from being O(n). Therefore. 8. the variables that have to be changed when jumping from one cluster to another). and prevents the Hamming distance from being O(n) on the average over exponentially many solutions.

SEPARATION OF COMPLEXITY CLASSES 102 the distribution of the d1RSB solution space is truly O(n). These jumps are independent. which takes the order of log of the size of the space. Each cluster is a linear space tagged on to a solution for the 2-core. Remark 8. and chained together by conditional independencies as would be done by a LFP.13. The frozen variables in XORSAT do not arise due to a high dimensional parametrization.14.11. The poly(log n) size of features and therefore Hamming distance between solutions tells us that polynomial time algorithms correspond to the RS phase of the 1RSB picture. frozen variables would occur even in low dimensional parametrizations in the presence of additional constraints placed by the problem. and accounting for such O(n) jointness that cannot be factored any further is beyond the capability of polynomial time algorithms. Note that the central notion is that of the number of independent parameters. Hard regimes of NP-complete problems allow O(n) variates to irreducibly jointly vary.12.3]. there are irreducible interactions of size O(n) that cannot be expressed as interactions between poly(log n) variates at a time. It is tempting to think that there will be such a parametrization whenever the algorithmic procedure used to generate the solutions is stage102 . where the linearity of the problem causes frozen variables to occur. c > 1. This is because it takes that many parameters to specify the exponentially many O(n) variable “jumps” between the clusters.8. For example. Linear spaces always admit a simple description as the linear span of a basis. §18. This is what happens in XORSAT. We collect some observations in the following. This is central to the separation of complexity classes. and cannot be factored through poly(log n) sized factors since that would mean conditional independence of pieces of size poly(log n) and would ensure that the Hamming distance between solutions was of that order. Remark 8. Remark 8. Remark 8. not frozen variables. Namely. not to the d1RSB phase. which is also why the clusters are all of the same size. We can see from the preceding discussion that the number of independent parameters required to specify the distribution of the entire solution space in the d1RSB phase (for k > 8) rises as cn . but simply because the 2-core percolates [MM09.

Conditional independence over factors of small scope is at the heart of resolving CSPs by means of polynomial time algorithms. There is an intimate relation between the geometry of the space and its parametrization. One might observe that the requirement that we not make any trial and error at all that limits LFP computations in a fundamentally different manner than the locality of information flows. 2. 8. See [Put65] for an interesting related notion of “trial and error predicates” in computability theory. In other words. When placed in the ENSP.6 Some Perspectives The following perspectives are reinforced by this work. It is this space where the dependencies and independencies that the CSP imposes upon covariates that satisfy it manifest. It may.8. Namely. SEPARATION OF COMPLEXITY CLASSES 103 wise local. Otherwise. Studying the parametrization of the space of solutions is a worthwhile pursuit. This is not so. We need the added requirement that “mistakes” are not allowed. of course. 1. where clique sizes are of exponential size. 3. but it can give rise to distributions without any conditional independence factorizations whose factors are of size poly(log n). The view that an algorithm is a means to generate one solution is limited in the sense that it is oblivious to the geometry of the space of all solutions. The most natural object of study for constraint satisfaction problems is the entire space of solutions. but over an exponentially larger space. be the appropriate approach in many applications. we see that there is factorization. 4. polynomial time algorithms succeed by successively “breaking up” the 103 . But there are applications where requiring algorithms to generate numerous solutions and approximate with increasing accuracy the entire space of solutions seems more natural. we cannot change a decision that has been made. even PFP has the stage-wise bounded local property.

8. In order to bring this structure under study. This structure is important in their study. polynomial time algorithms cannot solve problems in regimes where blocks whose order is the same as the underlying problem instance require simultaneous resolution. 5. 104 . Consequently. SEPARATION OF COMPLEXITY CLASSES 104 problem into smaller subproblems that are joined to each other through conditional independence. we may have to embed the space of covariates into a larger space (as done by the ENSP). and with a certain structure. Polynomial time algorithms resolve the variables in CSPs in a certain order.

Moreover. assume that no individual variable free in LFPy. tells us that nested fixed points can always be replaced by simultaneous fixed points.A. X. known as the transitivity theorem. The presentation here closely follows [EF06.1) 105 .Y ψ(y. [LFPx. χ(z.Y ψ(y. Z)]u. where χ is first order. Y ) be first order formulas positive in X and Y . The first result. Let ϕ(x. Y ) gets into the scope of a corresponding quantifier or LFP operator in A. we reproduce it in this appendix.X ϕ(x. X. 8].1.Z. X. Reduction to a Single LFP Operation A. X. [LFPy.1 is equivalent to a formula of the form ∃(∀)u[LFPz. Ch. (A. Y ) and ψ(y. Since we use this construction to deal with complex fixed points. Y )])]t Then A.1 The Transitivity Theorem for LFP We now gather a few results that will enable us to cast any LFP into one having just one application of the LFP operator. X.

The length of a be clear ˜ ˜ from context.2 Sections and the Simultaneous Induction Lemma for LFP Next we deal with simultaneous fixed points. . We will denote a tuple consisting only of a’s by a. . Fm be operators acting as above. . . Fm ) : (Ak ) → (Ak ) 106 (A. is an operator acting as J(F1 . First. Set k := max{k1 . . denoted by Ra . . Then the a-section of R. . REDUCTION TO A SINGLE LFP OPERATION 106 A. . km } + m + 1. . . . Fm : (Ak1 ) × · · · × (Akm ) → (Akm ) We wish to embed these operators as sections of a “larger” operator. Fm . .1. . The simultaneous join of F1 . which is known as their simultaneous join. . Let m operators F1 . . Let R be a relation of arity (k + l) on A and a ∈ Ak . Fm act as follows: F1 : (Ak1 ) × · · · × (Akm ) → (Ak1 ) F2 : (Ak1 ) × · · · × (Akm ) → (Ak2 ) . Definition A. . . . . . denoted by J(F1 . is given by Ra := {b ∈ Ak |R(ba)} Next we see how sections can be used to encode multiple simultaneous operators producing relations of lower arity into a single operator producing a relation of higher arity. Fm ). . . The proof utilizes a coding procedure whereby each simultaneous induction is embedded as a section in a single LFP operation of higher arity. . Definition A.APPENDIX A. Let F1 . Recall that simultaneous inductions do not increase the expressive power of LFP.2. . . we introduce the notion of a section. .2) .

. w) := ¬(v = w) ∧ (x1 = · · · = x −i+1 = v) ∧     (x i > 1. . . . .APPENDIX A. These are collected below. b ∈ A. . a a a. b ∈ A. . Fm ) exists. . l Definition A. a (A.a=b (A. . . . . The fixed point J ∞ of the simultaneous join of operators (F1 . REDUCTION TO A SINGLE LFP OPERATION 107 such that for any a. xl . .3. .4) The following corollaries are now immediate. v. . (A. Since the sections are coded using tuples of the form ak−i+ki +1 bi . . The simultaneous join of inductive operators is inductive.5) Now we are ready to show that simultaneous fixed-point inductions of formulas can be replaced by the fixed point induction of a single formula.5. we need to show that the simultaneous join can itself be expressed as a LFP computation. . the section formulas δi (x1 . Rabm ) × {˜bm })). Rabm ) × {˜b1 }) ∪ · · · a ˜ ˜ · · · ∪ (Fm (Rab1 . . For ≥ 1 and i = 1. A |= δi [˜bj ab] if and only if i = j. . We need formulas that will help us define sections of a simultaneous induction. .4.3) a ˜ ˜ The simultaneous join operator defined above has properties we will need to use.b∈A. . Finally. −i+2 = · · · = w) For distinct a. The ith power J i of the simultaneous join operator satisfies Ji = i i ((F1 × {˜b1 }) ∪ · · · ∪ (Fm × {˜bm })). . we will need formulas that can express this.a=b ((F1 (Rab1 . . . . v. 107 . Lemma A. . . . Concretely.6. Corollary A. xl . . Corollary A.b∈A. Fm ) ∞ ∞ exists if and only if their simultaneous fixed point (F1 . the simultaneous join is given by J(R) := a. w)  ¬(v = w) ∧ (x1 = · · · = x = v) i=1    l δi (x1 . the abi -section (where the length of a here is k − ˜ ˜ i + 1) of the nth power of J is the nth power of the operator Fi .

Furthermore. . x1 ). . . . . . . . . let ϕ1 . 108 . v. . . . xm ) 108 be formulas of LFP. zk ) ∧ δ1 (z1 . zk ) ∧ δ2 (z1 . . v. .APPENDIX A. . . z1 . .6) ˜ ˜ Then. . zk . km }+ m + 1. As always. . v. . . we let Ri be a ki -ary relation and xi be a ki -tuple. . . . Zvwm . zk . z1 . . . . the relation computed by the least fixed point of χJ contains all the individual least fixed points computed by the simultaneous induction as its sections. . Set k := max{k1 . . Rm . . . . . . . . ϕm (R1 .7. . . . z1 . Rm . . Rm . . . ϕm be positive in R1 . . zk ) ∧ δm (z1 . . w)) ˜ ˜ k ∨ (ϕ2 (Zvw1 . . . w)) ˜ ˜ . . . . zk . . zk ) := ∃v∃w(¬v = w∧ k ((ϕ1 (Zvw1 . . Zvwm . z1 . . . . . k ∨ (ϕm (Zvw1 . Let ϕ1 (R1 . REDUCTION TO A SINGLE LFP OPERATION Definition A. . Zvwm . Define a new first order formula χJ having k variables and computing a single k-ary relation Z by χJ (Z. . . . . . . w)))) (A. . . . .

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