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We report on a novel technique called spatial coupling and its application in the analysis of random constraint satisfaction problems (CSP). Spatial coupling was invented as an engineering construction in the area of error correcting codes where it has resulted in efficient capacity-achieving codes for a wide range of channels. However, this technique is not limited to problems in communications, and can be applied in the much broader context of graphical models. We describe here a general methodology for applying spatial coupling to random constraint satisfaction problems and obtain lower bounds for their (rough) satisfiability threshold. The main idea is to construct a distribution of geometrically structured random K-SAT instances - namely the spatially coupled ensemble - which has the same (rough) satisfiability threshold, and is at the same time algorithmically easier to solve. Then by running well-known algorithms on the spatially coupled ensemble we obtain a lower bound on the (rough) satisfiability threshold of the original ensemble. The method is versatile because one can choose the CSP, there is a certain amount of freedom in the construction of the spatially coupled ensemble, and also in the choice of the algorithm. In this work we focus on random K-SAT but we have also checked that the method is successful for Coloring, NAE-SAT and XOR-SAT. We choose Unit Clause propagation for the algorithm which is analyzed over the spatially coupled instances. For K = 3, for instance, our lower bound is equal to 3.67 which is better than the current bounds in the literature. Similarly, for graph 3-colorability we get a bound of 2.22 which is also better than the current bounds in the literature.
Bounds for Random Constraint Satisfaction Problems via Spatial Coupling D. Achlioptas, S. H. Hassani, N. Macris, R. UrbankeIn ACM-SIAM Symposium on Discrete Algorithms (SODA), 2016
Bibtex Entry:
	author = {Dimitris Achlioptas and S. Hamed Hassani and Nicolas Macris and Rudiger Urbanke},
	booktitle = {ACM-SIAM Symposium on Discrete Algorithms (SODA)},
	month = {January},
	title = {Bounds for Random Constraint Satisfaction Problems via Spatial Coupling},
	year = {2016}}