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Random 3-SAT: The plot thickens. (English) Zbl 1057.68041
Summary: This paper presents an experimental investigation of the following questions: how does the average-case complexity of random 3-SAT, understood as a function of the order (number of variables) for fixed density (ratio of number of clauses to order) instances, depend on the density? Is there a phase transition in which the complexity shifts from polynomial to exponential in the order? Is the transition dependent or independent of the solver? Our experiment design uses three complete SAT solvers embodying different algorithms: GRASP, CPLEX, and CUDD. We observe new phase transitions for all three solvers, where the median running time shifts from polynomial in the order to exponential. The location of the phase transition appears to be solver-dependent. GRASP shifts from polynomial to exponential complexity near the density of 3.8, CPLEX shifts near density 3, while CUDD exhibits this transition between densities of 0.1 and 0.5. This experimental result underscores the dependence between the solver and the complexity phase transition, and challenges the widely held belief that random 3-SAT exhibits a phase transition in computational complexity very close to the crossover point.

68Q25 Analysis of algorithms and problem complexity
68T20 Problem solving in the context of artificial intelligence (heuristics, search strategies, etc.)
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