I know that the Knapsack problem is weakly NP-complete. I also notice that on Wikipedia:

"A problem is said to be strongly NP-hard if a strongly NP-complete problem has a polynomial reduction to it [...]"

The way I prove the NP-hardness is by a reduction chain: SAT $\leq$ 3SAT $\leq$ Tripartite Matching $\leq$ Exact cover by 3-sets $\leq$ Subset sum $\leq$ Knapsack.

Does it mean all these problems are weakly NP-complete? Because it seems that according to Wikipedia if one of them is strongly NP-complete, Knapsack will be strongly NP-complete.


1 Answer 1


As is often the case, the Wikipedia article is misleading.

A problem involving integers parameters is:

  • Strongly NP-complete if the problem is NP-complete when the parameters are encoded in unary (i.e., $n$ is encoded as $0^n$).
  • Weakly NP-complete if the problem is NP-complete when the parameters are encoded in binary (which is the usual encoding).

In other words, there is only one notion of NP-completeness, and the confusing terms strongly and weakly NP-complete simply refer to different encodings of problems.

For a problem like SAT, these terms are simply inapplicable, since SAT has no integer parameters. The terms do apply to the related problem of weighted MAX-SAT, in which the input is a set of weighted clauses and a target, and the problem is to determine whether there is an assignment which satisfies clauses whose total weight exceeds the target.

  • $\begingroup$ So you mean weighted MAX-SAT can be said weakly NP-complete ? Even if weights are integers, there is no polynomial solution to it, does it ? $\endgroup$
    – Optidad
    Commented Jun 7, 2019 at 9:40
  • $\begingroup$ Weighted MAX-SAT in strongly NP-complete, by reduction from SAT. This means that weighted MAX-SAT with weights encoded in unary is NP-complete. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 7, 2019 at 9:43

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