Theory of Computing
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Title : Near-Optimal NP-Hardness of Approximating Max $k$-CSP$_R$
Authors : Pasin Manurangsi, Preetum Nakkiran, and Luca Trevisan
Volume : 18
Number : 3
Pages : 1-29
URL : https://theoryofcomputing.org/articles/v018a003
Abstract
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We prove almost optimal hardness for Max k-CSP_R. In
Max k-CSP_R, we are given a set of constraints, each of which
depends on at most k variables. Each variable can take any value
from 1, 2, ... , R. The goal is to find an assignment to variables
that maximizes the number of satisfied constraints.
We show that, for any k \geq 2 and R \geq 16, it is NP-hard to
approximate Max k-CSP_R to within factor
$k^{O(k)}(\log R)^{k/2}/R^{k - 1}$. In the regime where
$3 \leq k = o(\log R/\log \log R$, this ratio improves upon Chan's
$O(k/R^{k-2})$ factor NP-hardness of approximation of Max k-CSP_R
(J. ACM 2016).
Moreover, when $k = 2$, our result matches the best known hardness
result of Khot, Kindler, Mossel and O'Donnell (SIAM J. Comp. 2007). We
remark here that NP-hardness of an approximation factor of
$2^{O(k)}\log(kR)/R^{k - 1}$ is implicit in the (independent) work of
Khot and Saket (ICALP 2015), which is better than our ratio for all
$k\geq 3$.
In addition to the above hardness result, by extending an algorithm
for Max 2-CSP_R by Kindler, Kolla and Trevisan (SODA 2016), we
provide an $\Omega(\log R/R^{k - 1})$-approximation algorithm for
Max k-CSP_R. Thanks to Khot and Saket's result, this algorithm is
tight up to a factor of $O(k^2)$ when $k \leq R^{O(1)}$. In
comparison, when $3 \leq k$ is a constant, the previously best known
algorithm achieves an $O(k/R^{k - 1})$-approximation for the problem,
which is a factor of $O(k \log R)$ from the inapproximability ratio in
contrast to our gap of $O(k^2)$.
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A conference version of this paper appeared in the
Proceedings of the 19th International Workshop on Approximation
Algorithms for Combinatorial Optimization Problems (APPROX'16).