The 3-co-SAT problem consists of deciding whether if a 3CNF formula, has an unsatisfiable assignment of variables, i.e., assignment of variables that evaluates to 0.

We know that 3-co-SAT is in coNP, however, I do not understand why it is also not in P? It seems to be very easy to check whether if there exists an unsatisfiable assignment of variables as follows:

  1. Iteratively go through each clause.

  2. For each clause try $2^3 = 8$ possible variable assignments. If there exists an assignment that makes the clause evaluate to False, accept.

  3. If no clauses evaluated to False, reject.

This algorithm has runtime $8m$ where $m$ is the number of clauses, and it accepts a string if it is in coSAT no?

  • 5
    $\begingroup$ The definition of 3-co-SAT is deciding whether a formula is unsatisfiable, no? Not only whether it has some unsatisfying assignment. $\endgroup$
    – kviiri
    Commented Feb 23, 2023 at 6:22

1 Answer 1


co-SAT is not asking whether there exists an unsatisfying assignment, it is asking if every assignment evaluates to false.


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