Achlioptas, D., Jia, H., Moore, C.

The evaluation of incomplete satisfiability solvers depends critically on the availability of hard satisfiable instances. A plausible source of such instances consists of random k-SAT formulas whose clauses are chosen uniformly from among all clauses satisfying some randomly chosen truth assignment A. Unfortunately, instances generated in this manner tend to be relatively easy and can be solved efficiently by practical heuristics.

Many procedures for SAT and SAT-related problems -- in particular for those requiring the complete enumeration of satisfying truth assignments -- rely their efficiency on the detection of partial assignments satisfying an input formula. In this paper we analyze the notion of partial-assignment satisfiability -- in particular when dealing with non-CNF and existentially-quantified formulas -- raising a flag about the ambiguities and subtleties of this concept, and investigating their practical consequences. This may drive the development of more effective assignment-enumeration algorithms.

Duenas-Osorio, Leonardo (Rice University) | Meel, Kuldeep S. (Rice University) | Paredes, Roger (Rice University) | Vardi, Moshe Y. (Rice University)

Modern society is increasingly reliant on the functionality of infrastructure facilities and utility services. Consequently, there has been surge of interest in the problem of quantification of system reliability, which is known to be #P-complete. Reliability also contributes to the resilience of systems, so as to effectively make them bounce back after contingencies. Despite diverse progress, most techniques to estimate system reliability and resilience remain computationally expensive. In this paper, we investigate how recent advances in hashing-based approaches to counting can be exploited to improve computational techniques for system reliability.The primary contribution of this paper is a novel framework, RelNet, that reduces the problem of computing reliability for a given network to counting the number of satisfying assignments of a Σ11 formula, which is amenable to recent hashing-based techniques developed for counting satisfying assignments of SAT formula. We then apply RelNet to ten real world power-transmission grids across different cities in the U.S. and are able to obtain, to the best of our knowledge, the first theoretically sound a priori estimates of reliability between several pairs of nodes of interest. Such estimates will help managing uncertainty and support rational decision making for community resilience.

Jia, H., Moore, C., Strain, D.

To test incomplete search algorithms for constraint satisfaction problems such as 3-SAT, we need a source of hard, but satisfiable, benchmark instances. A simple way to do this is to choose a random truth assignment A, and then choose clauses randomly from among those satisfied by A. However, this method tends to produce easy problems, since the majority of literals point toward the "hidden'' assignment A. Last year, Achlioptas, Jia and Moore proposed a problem generator that cancels this effect by hiding both A and its complement. While the resulting formulas appear to be just as hard for DPLL algorithms as random 3-SAT formulas with no hidden assignment, they can be solved by WalkSAT in only polynomial time. Here we propose a new method to cancel the attraction to A, by choosing a clause with t 0 literals satisfied by A with probability proportional to q t for some q 1. By varying q, we can generate formulas whose variables have no bias, i.e., which are equally likely to be true or false; we can even cause the formula to "deceptively'' point away from A. We present theoretical and experimental results suggesting that these formulas are exponentially hard both for DPLL algorithms and for incomplete algorithms such as WalkSAT.

In this paper we investigate CNF formulas, for which the unit propagation is strong enough to derive a contradiction if the formula together with a partial assignment of the variables is unsatisfiable (unit refutation complete or URC formulas) or additionally to derive all implied literals if the formula is satisfiable (propagation complete or PC formulas). If a formula represents a function using existentially quantified auxiliary variables, it is called an encoding of the function. We prove several results on the sizes of PC and URC formulas and encodings. One of them are separations between the sizes of formulas of different types. Namely, we prove an exponential separation between the size of URC formulas and PC formulas and between the size of PC encodings using auxiliary variables and URC formulas. Besides of this, we prove that the sizes of any two irredundant PC formulas for the same function differ at most by a polynomial factor in the number of the variables and present an example of a function demonstrating that a similar statement is not true for URC formulas. One of the separations above implies that a q-Horn formula may require an exponential number of additional clauses to become a URC formula. On the other hand, for every q-Horn formula, we present a polynomial size URC encoding of the same function using auxiliary variables. This encoding is not q-Horn in general.