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**Tutorial: An Introduction to NP-Completeness
**

1

**About this Tutorial
**

• What is NP ? • How to check if a problem is in NP ? • Cook-Levin Theorem • Showing one of the most difficult problem in NP • Problem Reduction • Finding other most difficult problems

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.E). asks you if this number is a prime 3 .Decision Problems • When we receive a problem. and he asks us if there is a path from A to B whose length is at most 100 • E.g. Your sister gives you a number.. say 1111111111111111111 (19 one’ and s). the first thing concern is: whether the problem has a solution or not • E.g. Peter gives us a map G = (V.

using time polynomial to the size of the input • We use P to denote the set of all these polynomial-time solvable problems 4 .Decision Problems • The problems in the previous page is called decision problems. because the answer is either YES or NO • Some decision problems can be solved efficiently.

we can first apply this algorithm and then give the correct answer Peter’problem is in P s • Can you think of other problems in P ? 5 .g.Decision Problems E. there is an s O(V log V + E)-time algorithm that finds the shortest path from A to B. For Peter’problem..

and /* short means : polynomial in size of input */ 2. Ask for a short proof. Be able to verify the answer is YES 6 . whenever it has an answer YES. for such a decision problem. we can : 1.Decision Problems • Another interesting classification of decision problems is to see if the problem can be verified in time polynomial to the size of the input • Precisely.

g. Check if it is a desired path (in poly-time ) this problem is polynomial-time verifiable 7 . Ask for the sequence of vertices (with no repetition) in any path from A to B whose length 100 2.Decision Problems E.. we can : 1. if there is a path s from A to B with length 100. In Peter’problem.

Polynomial-Time Verifiable More examples: Given a graph G = (V. can be divide them into two groups such that their sum are the same ? 8 . does the graph contain a Hamiltonian path ? Is a given integer x a composite number ? Given a set of numbers.E) .

Polynomial-Time Verifiable • Now. such that for each decision problem given to it. imagine that we have a super-smart computer. it has the ability to guess a short proof (if there is one) • With the help of this powerful computer. all polynomial-time verifiable problems can be solved in polynomial time (how ?) 9 .

we use NP to denote the set of polynomial-time verifiable problems •N stands for non-deterministic guessing power of our computer •P stands for polynomial-time solvable 10 .The Class NP • Because of this.

the execution steps of this algorithm can be used as a “ short” proof 11 . and if its answer is YES.P and NP • We can show that a problem is in P implies that it is in NP (why?) • Because if a problem is in P. then there must be an algorithm that runs in polynomial-time to conclude YES … • Then.

some problems in NP (e. finding a Hamiltonian path) do not have a polynomialtime algorithm yet … • Question: Does that mean these problems are not in P ?? • The question whether P = NP is still open Clay Mathematics Institute (CMI) offers US$ 1 million for anyone who can answer this … 12 .g. after many people’ s efforts.P and NP • On the other hand..

Stephen Cook and Leonid Levin (separately) discovered that: a problem in NP. If a problem is in P.P and NP • So. then it is in NP 2. If a problem is in NP. it may be in P • In the early 1970s. the current status is : 1. called SAT. is very mysterious … 13 .

e.Cook-Levin Theorem • If SAT is in P. then every problems in NP are also in P • I.. then P = NP // Can Cook or Levin claim the money from CMI yet ? • Intuitively. SAT must be one of the most difficult problems in NP • We call SAT an NP-complete problem (most difficult in NP) 14 . if SAT is in P.

Satisfiable Problem • The SAT problem asks: • Given a Boolean formula F. and so it is how the name SAT is from 15 . F is a satisfiable . such as F = ( x _ y _ : z) ^ (: y _ z) ^ (: x) is it possible to assign True/False to each variable. such that the overall value of F is true ? Remark: If the answer is YES.

since Cook and Levin. many people show that many other problems in NP are shown to be NP-complete • How come many people can think of complicated proofs suddenly ?? 16 .Other NP-Complete Problems • The proofs made by Cook and Levin is a bit complicated. because intuitively they need to show that no problems in NP can be more difficult than SAT • However.

then we can solve A • What can we conclude ?? 17 .Problem Reduction • How these new problems are shown to be NP-complete rely on a new technique. we know if we can solve B. called reduction (problem transformation) • Basic Idea: • Suppose we have two problems. A and B • We know that A is very difficult • However.

g. B = Sorting • We can solve A if we know how to solve B sorting is as hard as finding median • E..g. A = Finding median. A = Topological Sort. B = DFS • We can solve A if we know how to solve B DFS is as hard as topological sort 18 .Problem Reduction • E..

Problem Reduction • Now. we can transform a problem of A into a problem of B.g. using polynomial time 2. consider A = an NP-complete problem (e. We can answer A if we can answer B Then we can conclude B is NP-complete (Can you see why??) 19 .. SAT) B = another problem in NP • Suppose that we can show that: 1.

Example • Let us define two problems as follows : • The CLIQUE problem: Given a graph G = (V. and an integer k. and an integer k. does the graph contain a complete graph with at least k vertices • The IND-SET problem: Given a graph G = (V.E). does the graph contain k vertices such that there is no edge in between them ? 20 .E).

Are both problems in NP ? • In fact.Example • Questions: 1. CLIQUE is NP-complete • Can we use reduction to show that IND-SET is also NP-complete ? [ transform which problem to which?? ] 21 . Are both problems decision problems ? 2.

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