Proving weak approximability without algorithms.

by Ridwan Syed and Madhur Tulsiani

Oded's comments

A nice reminder that feasibility results can be obtained non-explicitly; here, by showing that a necessary condition for hardness is violated.

The original abstract

A boolean predicate is said to be strongly approximation resistant if, given a near-satisfiable instance of its maximum constraint satisfaction problem, it is hard to find an assignment such that the fraction of constraints satisfied deviates significantly from the expected fraction of constraints satisfied by a random assignment. A predicate which is not strongly approximation resistant is known as weakly approximable.

We give a new method for proving the weak approximability of predicates, using a simple SDP relaxation, without designing and analyzing new rounding algorithms for each predicate. Instead, we use the recent characterization of strong approximation resistance by Khot et al. [STOC 2014], and show how to prove that for a given predicate, certain necessary conditions for strong resistance derived from their characterization, are violated. By their result, this implies the existence of a good rounding algorithm, proving weak approximability.

We show how this method can be used to obtain simple proofs of (weak approximability analogues of) various known results on approximability, as well as new results on weak approximability of symmetric predicates

See Approx'16 proceedings version.

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