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In the paper, we study the Maximum Satisfiability and the Partial Maximum Satisfiability problems. Using Gallai–Edmonds decomposition, we significantly improve the upper bound for the Maximum Satisfiability problem parameterized above maximum matching in the variable-clause graph. Our algorithm operates with a runtime of O*(2.83^k'), a substantial improvement compared to the previous approach requiring O*(4^k' ), where k' denotes the relevant parameter. Moreover, this result immediately implies O*(1.14977^m) and O*(1.27895^m) time algorithms for the (n, 3)-MaxSAT and (n, 4)-MaxSAT where m is the overall number of clauses. These upper bounds improve prior-known upper bounds equal to O*(1.1554^m) and O*(1.2872^m). We also adapt the algorithm so that it can handle instances of Partial Maximum Satisfiability without losing performance in some cases. Note that this is somewhat surprising, as the existence of even one hard clause can significantly increase the hardness of a problem.

Motivated by applications to classification problems on metric data, we study Weighted Metric Clustering problem: given a metric d over n points and a k x k symmetric matrix A with non-negative entries, the goal is to find a k-partition of these points into clusters C1,...,Ck, while minimizing the sum of A[i,j] * d(u,v) over all pairs of clusters Ci and Cj and all pairs of points u from Ci and v from Cj. Specific choices of A lead to Weighted Metric Clustering capturing well-studied graph partitioning problems in metric spaces, such as Min-Uncut, Min-k-Sum, Min-k-Cut, and more. Our main result is that Weighted Metric Clustering admits a polynomial-time approximation scheme (PTAS). Our algorithm handles all the above problems using the Sherali-Adams linear programming relaxation. This subsumes several prior works, unifies many of the techniques for various metric clustering objectives, and yields a PTAS for several new problems, including metric clustering on manifolds and a new family of hierarchical clustering objectives. Our experiments on the hierarchical clustering objective show that it better captures the ground-truth structural information compared to the popular Dasgupta's objective.

Optimal control deals with optimization problems in which variables steer a dynamical system, and its outcome contributes to the objective function. Two classical approaches to solving these problems are Dynamic Programming and the Pontryagin Maximum Principle. In both approaches, Hamiltonian equations offer an interpretation of optimality through auxiliary variables known as costates. However, Hamiltonian equations are rarely used due to their reliance on forward-backward algorithms across the entire temporal domain. This paper introduces a novel neural-based approach to optimal control. Neural networks are employed not only for implementing state dynamics but also for estimating costate variables. The parameters of the latter network are determined at each time step using a newly introduced local policy referred to as the time-reversed generalized Riccati equation. This policy is inspired by a result discussed in the Linear Quadratic (LQ) problem, which we conjecture stabilizes state dynamics. We support this conjecture by discussing experimental results from a range of optimal control case studies.

Conflict-driven clause learning (CDCL) is the dominating algorithmic paradigm for SAT solving and hugely successful in practice. In its lifted version QCDCL, it is one of the main approaches for solving quantified Boolean formulas (QBF). In both SAT and QBF, proofs can be efficiently extracted from runs of (Q)CDCL solvers. While for CDCL, it is known that the proof size in the underlying proof system propositional resolution matches the CDCL runtime up to a polynomial factor, we show that in QBF there is an exponential gap between QCDCL runtime and the size of the extracted proofs in QBF resolution systems. We demonstrate that this is not just a gap between QCDCL runtime and the size of any QBF resolution proof, but even the extracted proofs are exponentially smaller for some instances. Hence searching for a small proof via QCDCL (even with non-deterministic decision policies) will provably incur an exponential overhead for some instances.

Samplers are the backbone of the implementations of any randomized algorithm. Unfortunately, obtaining an efficient algorithm to test the correctness of samplers is very hard to find. Recently, in a series of works, testers like Barbarik, Teq, Flash for testing of some particular kinds of samplers, like CNF-samplers and Horn-samplers, were obtained. However, their techniques have a significant limitation because one can not expect to use their methods to test for other samplers, such as perfect matching samplers or samplers for sampling linear extensions in posets. In this paper, we present a new testing algorithm that works for such samplers and can estimate the distance of a new sampler from a known sampler (say, the uniform sampler). Testing the identity of distributions is the heart of testing the correctness of samplers. This paper's main technical contribution is developing a new distance estimation algorithm for distributions over high-dimensional cubes using the recently proposed subcube conditioning sampling model. Given subcube conditioning access to an unknown distribution P, and a known distribution Q defined over an n-dimensional Boolean hypercube, our algorithm CubeProbeEst estimates the variation distance between P and Q within additive error using subcube conditional samples from P. Following the testing-via-learning paradigm, we also get a tester that distinguishes between the cases when P and Q are close or far in variation distance with high probability using subcube conditional samples. This estimation algorithm CubeProbeEst in the subcube conditioning sampling model helps us to design the first tester for self-reducible samplers. The correctness of the tester is formally proved. Moreover, we implement CubeProbeEst to test the quality of three samplers for sampling linear extensions in posets.

We analyze how symmetries can be used to compress structures (also known as interpretations) onto a smaller domain without loss of information. This analysis suggests the possibility to solve satisfiability problems in the compressed domain for better performance. Thus, we propose a 2-step novel method: (i) the sentence to be satisfied is automatically translated into an equisatisfiable sentence over a ``lifted'' vocabulary that allows domain compression; (ii) satisfiability of the lifted sentence is checked by growing the (initially unknown) compressed domain until a satisfying structure is found. The key issue is to ensure that this satisfying structure can always be expanded into an uncompressed structure that satisfies the original sentence to be satisfied. We present an adequate translation for sentences in typed first-order logic extended with aggregates. Our experimental evaluation shows large speedups for generative configuration problems. The method also has applications in the verification of software operating on complex data structures. Our results justify further research in automatic translation of sentences for symmetry reduction.

Utilization of inter-base station cooperation for information processing has shown great potential in enhancing the overall quality of communication services (QoS) in wireless communication networks. Nevertheless, such cooperations require the knowledge of channel state information (CSI) at base stations (BSs), which is assumed to be perfectly known. However, CSI errors are inevitable in practice which necessitates beamforming technique that can achieve robust performance in the presence of channel estimation errors. Existing approaches relax the robust beamforming design problems into semidefinite programming (SDP), which can only achieve a solution that is far from being optimal. To this end, this paper views robust beamforming design problems from a bilevel optimization perspective. In particular, we focus on maximizing the worst-case weighted sum-rate (WSR) in the downlink multi-cell multi-user multiple-input single-output (MISO) system considering bounded CSI errors. We first reformulate this problem into a bilevel optimization problem and then develop an efficient algorithm based on the cutting plane method. A distributed optimization algorithm has also been developed to facilitate the parallel processing in practical settings. Numerical results are provided to confirm the effectiveness of the proposed algorithm in terms of performance and complexity, particularly in the presence of CSI uncertainties.

Parity reasoning is challenging for Conflict-Driven Clause Learning (CDCL) SAT solvers. This has been observed even for simple formulas encoding two contradictory parity constraints with different variable orders (Chew and Heule 2020). We provide an analytical explanation for their hardness by showing that they require exponential resolution refutations with high probability when the variable order is chosen at random. We obtain this result by proving that these formulas, which are known to be Tseitin formulas, have Tseitin graphs of linear treewidth with high probability. Since such Tseitin formulas require exponential resolution refutations, our result follows. We generalize this argument to a new class of formulas that capture a basic form of parity reasoning involving a sum of two random parity constraints with random orders. Even when the variable order for the sum is chosen favorably, these formulas remain hard for resolution. In contrast, we prove that they have short DRAT refutations. We show experimentally that the running time of CDCL SAT solvers on both classes of formulas grows exponentially with their treewidth.

Guaranteed display (GD) advertising is a critical component of advertising since it provides publishers with stable revenue and enables advertisers to target specific audiences with guaranteed impressions. However, smooth pacing control for online ad delivery presents a challenge due to significant budget disparities, user arrival distribution drift, and dynamic change between supply and demand. This paper presents robust risk-constrained pacing (RCPacing) that utilizes Lagrangian dual multipliers to fine-tune probabilistic throttling through monotonic mapping functions within the percentile space of impression performance distribution. RCPacing combines distribution drift resilience and compatibility with guaranteed allocation mechanism, enabling us to provide near-optimal online services. We also show that RCPacing achieves O(sqrt(T)) dynamic regret where T is the length of the horizon. RCPacing's effectiveness is validated through offline evaluations and online A/B testing conducted on Taobao brand advertising platform.

Stochastic Boolean satisfiability (SSAT) is a natural formalism for optimization under uncertainty. Its decision version implicitly imposes a final threshold quantification on an SSAT formula. However, the single threshold quantification restricts the expressive power of SSAT. In this work, we enrich SSAT with an additional threshold quantifier, resulting in a new formalism SSAT(θ). The increased expressiveness allows SSAT(θ), which remains in the PSPACE complexity class, to subsume and encode the languages in the counting hierarchy. An SSAT(θ) solver, ClauSSat(θ), is developed. Experiments show the applicability of the solver in uniquely solving complex SSAT(θ) instances of parameter synthesis and SSAT extension.

Computational evaluations are crucial in modern problem-solving when we surpass theoretical algorithms or bounds. These experiments frequently take much work, and the sheer amount of needed resources makes it impossible to execute them on a single personal computer or laptop. Cluster schedulers allow for automatizing these tasks and scale to many computers. But, when we evaluate implementations of combinatorial algorithms, we depend on stable runtime results. Common approaches either limit parallelism or suffer from unstable runtime measurements due to interference among jobs on modern hardware. The former is inefficient and not sustainable. The latter results in unreplicable experiments. In this work, we address this issue and offer an acceptable balance between efficiency, software, hardware complexity, reliability, and replicability. We investigate effects towards replicability stability and illustrate how to efficiently use widely employed cluster resources for parallel evaluations. Furthermore, we present solutions which mitigate issues that emerge from the concurrent execution of benchmark jobs. Our experimental evaluation shows that – despite parallel execution – our approach reduces the runtime instability on the majority of instances to one second.

We introduce the algorithmic problem of finding a locally rainbow path of length l connecting two distinguished vertices s and t in a vertex-colored directed graph. Herein, a path is locally rainbow if between any two visits of equally colored vertices, the path traverses consecutively at leaset r differently colored vertices. This problem generalizes the well-known problem of finding a rainbow path. It finds natural applications whenever there are different types of resources that must be protected from overuse, such as crop sequence optimization or production process scheduling. We show that the problem is computationally intractable even if r=2 or if one looks for a locally rainbow among the shortest paths. On the positive side, if one looks for a path that takes only a short detour (i.e., it is slightly longer than the shortest path) and if r is small, the problem can be solved efficiently. Indeed, the running time of the respective algorithm is near-optimal unless the ETH fails.

Counting integer solutions of linear constraints has found interesting applications in various fields. It is equivalent to the problem of counting lattice points inside a polytope. However, state-of-the-art algorithms for this problem become too slow for even a modest number of variables. In this paper, we propose a new framework to approximate the lattice counts inside a polytope with a new random-walk sampling method. The counts computed by our approach has been proved approximately bounded by a (epsilon, delta)-bound. Experiments on extensive benchmarks show that our algorithm could solve polytopes with dozens of dimensions, which significantly outperforms state-of-the-art counters.

Given a table with a minimal set of input columns that functionally determines an output column, we introduce a method that tries to gradually decompose the corresponding minimal functional dependency (mfd) to acquire a formula expressing the output column in terms of the input columns. A first key element of the method is to create sub-problems that are easier to solve than the original formula acquisition problem, either because it learns formulae with fewer inputs parameters, or as it focuses on formulae of a particular class, such as Boolean formulae; as a result, the acquired formulae can mix different learning biases such as polynomials, conditionals or Boolean expressions. A second key feature of the method is that it can be applied recursively to find formulae that combine polynomial, conditional or Boolean sub-terms in a nested manner. The method was tested on data for eight families of combinatorial objects; new conjectures were found that were previously unattainable. The method often creates conjectures that combine several formulae into one with a limited number of automatically found Boolean terms.

Modern subgraph-finding algorithm implementations consist of thousands of lines of highly optimized code, and this complexity raises questions about their trustworthiness. Recently, some state-of-the-art subgraph solvers have been enhanced to output machine-verifiable proofs that their results are correct. While this significantly improves reliability, it is not a fully satisfactory solution, since end-users have to trust both the proof checking algorithms and the translation of the high-level graph problem into a low-level 0-1 integer linear program (ILP) used for the proofs. In this work, we present the first formally verified toolchain capable of full end-to-end verification for subgraph solving, which closes both of these trust gaps. We have built encoder frontends for various graph problems together with a 0-1 ILP (a.k.a. pseudo-Boolean) proof checker, all implemented and formally verified in the CakeML ecosystem. This toolchain is flexible and extensible, and we use it to build verified proof checkers for both decision and optimization graph problems, namely, subgraph isomorphism, maximum clique, and maximum common (connected) induced subgraph. Our experimental evaluation shows that end-to-end formal verification is now feasible for a wide range of hard graph problems.

This paper proposes SAT-based techniques to calculate a specific normal form of a given finite mathematical structure (model). The normal form is obtained by permuting the domain elements so that the representation of the structure is lexicographically smallest possible. Such a normal form is of interest to mathematicians as it enables easy cataloging of algebraic structures. In particular, two structures are isomorphic precisely when their normal forms are the same. This form is also natural to inspect as mathematicians have been using it routinely for many decades. We develop a novel approach where a SAT solver is used in a black-box fashion to compute the smallest representative. The approach constructs the representative gradually and searches the space of possible isomorphisms, requiring a small number of variables. However, the approach may lead to a large number of SAT calls and therefore we devise propagation techniques to reduce this number. The paper focuses on finite structures with a single binary operation (encompassing groups, semigroups, etc.). However, the approach is generalizable to arbitrary finite structures. We provide an implementation of the proposed algorithm and evaluate it on a variety of algebraic structures.

The Implicit Hitting Set (HS) approach has shown very effective for MaxSAT solving. However, only preliminary promising results have been obtained for the very similar Weighted CSP framework. In this paper we contribute towards both a better theoretical understanding of the HS approach and a more effective HS-based solvers for WCSP. First, we bound the minimum number of iterations of HS thanks to what we call distinguished cores. Then, we show a source of inefficiency by introducing two simple problems where HS is unfeasible. Next, we propose two reformulation methods that merge cost-functions to overcome the problem. We provide a theoretical analysis that quantifies the magnitude of the improvement of each method with respect to the number of iterations of the algorithm. In particular, we show that the reformulations can bring an exponential number of iterations down to a constant number in our working examples. Finally, we complement our theoretical analysis with two sets of experiments. First, we show that our results are aligned with real executions. Second, and most importantly, we conduct experiments on typical benchmark problems and show that cost-function merging may be heuristically applied and it may accelerate HS algorithms by several orders of magnitude. In some cases, it even outperforms state-of-the-art solvers.

SAT and propagation solvers often underperform for optimisation models whose objective sums many single-variable terms. MaxSAT solvers avoid this by detecting and exploiting cores: subsets of these terms that cannot collectively take their lower bounds. Previous work has shown manual analysis of cores can help define model reformulations likely to speed up solving for many model instances. This paper presents a method to automate this process. For each selected core the method identifies the instance constraints that caused it; infers the model constraints and parameters that explain how these instance constraints were formed; and learns the conditions that made those model constraint instances generate cores, while others did not. It then uses this information to reformulate the objective. The empirical evaluation shows this method can produce useful reformulations. Importantly, the method can be useful in many other situations that require explaining a set of constraints.

Linear programming has been practically solved mainly by simplex and interior point methods. Compared with the weakly polynomial complexity obtained by the interior point methods, the existence of strongly polynomial bounds for the length of the pivot path generated by the simplex methods remains a mystery. In this paper, we propose two novel pivot experts that leverage both global and local information of the linear programming instances for the primal simplex method and show their excellent performance numerically. The experts can be regarded as a benchmark to evaluate the performance of classical pivot rules, although they are hard to directly implement. To tackle this challenge, we employ a graph convolutional neural network model, trained via imitation learning, to mimic the behavior of the pivot expert. Our pivot rule, learned empirically, displays a significant advantage over conventional methods in various linear programming problems, as demonstrated through a series of rigorous experiments.

Offering a generic approach to obtaining both upper and lower bounds, decision diagrams (DDs) are becoming an increasingly important tool for solving discrete optimization problems. In particular, they provide a powerful and often complementary alternative to other well-known generic bounding mechanisms such as the LP relaxation. A standard approach to employ DDs for discrete optimization is to formulate the problem as a Dynamic Program and use that formulation to compile a DD top-down in a layer-by-layer fashion. To limit the size of the resulting DD and to obtain bounds, one typically imposes a maximum width for each layer which is then enforced by either merging nodes (resulting in a so-called relaxed DD that provides a dual bound) or by dropping nodes (resulting in a so-called restricted DD that provides a primal bound). The quality of the DD bounds obtained from this top-down compilation process heavily depends on the heuristics used for the selection of the nodes to merge or drop. While it is sometimes possible to engineer problem-specific heuristics for this selection problem, the most generic approach relies on sorting the layer’s nodes based on objective function information. In this paper, we propose a generic and problem-agnostic approach that relies on clustering nodes based on the state information associated with each node. In a set of computational experiments with different knapsack and scheduling problems, we show that our approach generally outperforms the classical generic approach, and often achieves drastically better bounds both with respect to the size of the DD and the time used for compiling the DD.

This paper studies the Partial Optimal Transport (POT) problem between two unbalanced measures with at most n supports and its applications in various AI tasks such as color transfer or domain adaptation. There is hence a need for fast approximations of POT with increasingly large problem sizes in arising applications. We first theoretically and experimentally investigate the infeasibility of the state-of-the-art Sinkhorn algorithm for POT, which consequently degrades its qualitative performance in real world applications like point-cloud registration. To this end, we propose a novel rounding algorithm for POT, and then provide a feasible Sinkhorn procedure with a revised computation complexity of O(n^2/epsilon^4). Our rounding algorithm also permits the development of two first-order methods to approximate the POT problem. The first algorithm, Adaptive Primal-Dual Accelerated Gradient Descent (APDAGD), finds an epsilon-approximate solution to the POT problem in O(n^2.5/epsilon). The second method, Dual Extrapolation, achieves the computation complexity of O(n^2/epsilon), thereby being the best in the literature. We further demonstrate the flexibility of POT compared to standard OT as well as the practicality of our algorithms on real applications where two marginal distributions are unbalanced.

Algebraic data types (ADTs) are a construct classically found in functional programming languages that capture data structures like enumerated types, lists, and trees. In recent years, interest in ADTs has increased. For example, popular programming languages, like Python, have added support for ADTs. Automated reasoning about ADTs can be done using satisfiability modulo theories (SMT) solving, an extension of the Boolean satisfiability problem with first-order logic and associated background theories. Unfortunately, SMT solvers that support ADTs do not scale as state-of-the-art approaches all use variations of the same lazy approach. In this paper, we present an SMT solver that takes a fundamentally different approach, an eager approach. Specifically, our solver reduces ADT queries to a simpler logical theory, uninterpreted functions (UF), and then uses an existing solver on the reduced query. We prove the soundness and completeness of our approach and demonstrate that it outperforms the state of the art on existing benchmarks, as well as a new, more challenging benchmark set from the planning domain.

One approach to probabilistic inference involves counting the number of models of a given Boolean formula. Here, we are interested in inferences involving higher-order objects, i.e., functions. We study the following task: Given a Boolean specification between a set of inputs and outputs, count the number of functions of inputs such that the specification is met. Such functions are called Skolem functions. We are motivated by the recent development of scalable approaches to Boolean function synthesis. This stands in relation to our problem analogously to the relationship between Boolean satisfiability and the model counting problem. Yet, counting Skolem functions poses considerable new challenges. From the complexity-theoretic standpoint, counting Skolem functions is not only #P-hard; it is quite unlikely to have an FPRAS (Fully Polynomial Randomized Approximation Scheme) as the problem of synthesizing a Skolem function remains challenging, even given access to an NP oracle. The primary contribution of this work is the first algorithm, SkolemFC, that computes the number of Skolem functions. SkolemFC relies on technical connections between counting functions and propositional model counting: our algorithm makes a linear number of calls to an approximate model counter and computes an estimate of the number of Skolem functions with theoretical guarantees. Our prototype displays impressive scalability, handling benchmarks comparably to state-of-the-art Skolem function synthesis engines, even though counting all such functions ostensibly poses a greater challenge than synthesizing a single function.

The Alternating Direction Method of Multipliers (ADMM) has gained significant attention across a broad spectrum of machine learning applications. Incorporating the over-relaxation technique shows potential for enhancing the convergence rate of ADMM. However, determining optimal algorithmic parameters, including both the associated penalty and relaxation parameters, often relies on empirical approaches tailored to specific problem domains and contextual scenarios. Incorrect parameter selection can significantly hinder ADMM's convergence rate. To address this challenge, in this paper we first propose a general approach to optimize the value of penalty parameter, followed by a novel closed-form formula to compute the optimal relaxation parameter in the context of linear quadratic problems (LQPs). We then experimentally validate our parameter selection methods through random instantiations and diverse imaging applications, encompassing diffeomorphic image registration, image deblurring, and MRI reconstruction.

A basic algorithm for enumerating disjoint propositional models (disjoint AllSAT) is based on adding blocking clauses incrementally, ruling out previously found models. On the one hand, blocking clauses have the potential to reduce the number of generated models exponentially, as they can handle partial models. On the other hand, the introduction of a large number of blocking clauses affects memory consumption and drastically slows down unit propagation. We propose a new approach that allows for enumerating disjoint partial models with no need for blocking clauses by integrating: Conflict-Driven Clause-Learning (CDCL), Chronological Backtracking (CB), and methods for shrinking models (Implicant Shrinking). Experiments clearly show the benefits of our novel approach.