We continue the recent line, of work on the connection between semidefinite programming-based approximation algorithms and the Unique Games Conjecture. Given any boolean 2-CSP (or more generally, any nonnegative objective function on two boolean variables), we show how to reduce the search for a good inapproximability result to a certain numeric minimization problem. The key objects in our analysis are the vector triples arising when doing clause-by-clause analysis of algorithms based on semidefinite programming. Given a. weighted set of such triples of a certain restricted type, which are "hard" to round in a certain sense, we obtain a Unique Games-based inapproximability matching this "hardness" of rounding the set of vector triples. Conversely, any instance together with an SDP solution can be viewed as a set of vector triples, and we show that we can always find an assignment to the instance which is at least as good as the "hardness" of rounding the corresponding set of vector triples. We conjecture that the restricted type required for the hardness result is in fact no restriction, which would imply that these upper and lower bounds match exactly. This conjecture is supported by all existing results for specific 2-CSPs. As an application, we show that MAX 2-AND is hard to approximate within 0.87435. This improves upon the best previous hardness of alpha(GW) + epsilon approximate to 0.87856, and comes very close to matching the approximation ratio of the best algorithm known, 0.87401. It also establishes that balanced instances of MAX 2-AND, i.e., instances in which each variable occurs positively and negatively equally often, are not the hardest to approximate, as these can be approximated within a factor alpha(GW).
2007. 307-317 p.
48th Annual IEEE Symposium on Foundations of Computer Science Location: Providence, RI Date: OCT 20-23, 2007