Questions tagged [p-vs-np]

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279
votes
7answers
129k views

What is the definition of P, NP, NP-complete and NP-hard?

I'm in a course about computing and complexity, and am unable to understand what these terms mean. All I know is that NP is a subset of NP-complete, which is a subset of NP-hard, but I have no idea ...
101
votes
5answers
15k views

How not to solve P=NP?

There are lots of attempts at proving either $\mathsf{P} = \mathsf{NP} $ or $\mathsf{P} \neq \mathsf{NP}$, and naturally many people think about the question, having ideas for proving either direction....
59
votes
9answers
10k views

What would be the real-world implications of a constructive $P=NP$ proof?

I have a high-level understanding of the $P=NP$ problem and I understand that if it were absolutely "proven" to be true with a provided solution, it would open the door for solving numerous problems ...
58
votes
6answers
23k views

If everyone believes P ≠ NP, why is everyone sceptical of proof attempts for P ≠ NP?

Many seem to believe that $P\ne NP$, but many also believe it to be very unlikely that this will ever be proven. Is there not some inconsistency to this? If you hold that such a proof is unlikely, ...
34
votes
4answers
24k views

Are there NP problems, not in P and not NP Complete?

Are there any known problems in $\mathsf{NP}$ (and not in $\mathsf{P}$) that aren't $\mathsf{NP}$ Complete? My understanding is that there are no currently known problems where this is the case, but ...
32
votes
3answers
3k views

Why is Relativization a barrier?

When I was explaining the Baker-Gill-Solovay proof that there exists an oracle with which we can have, $\mathsf{P} = \mathsf{NP}$, and an oracle with which we can have $\mathsf{P} \neq \mathsf{NP}$ to ...
24
votes
5answers
8k views

P = NP clarification

Let's use Traveling Salesman as the example, unless you think there's a simpler, more understable example. My understanding of P=NP question is that, given the optimal solution of a difficult problem,...
20
votes
3answers
3k views

Does $\mathsf{P} \ne \mathsf{NP}$ imply that $|\mathsf{NP}| > |\mathsf{P}|$?

Is it possible that $\mathsf{P} \not = \mathsf{NP}$ and the cardinality of $\mathsf{P}$ is the same as the cardinality of $\mathsf{NP}$? Or does $\mathsf{P} \not = \mathsf{NP}$ mean that $\mathsf{P}$ ...
19
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4answers
3k views

How hard would it be to state P vs. NP in a proof assistant?

GJ Woeginger lists 116 invalid proofs of P vs. NP problem. Scott Aaronson published "Eight Signs A Claimed P≠NP Proof Is Wrong" to reduce hype each time someone attempts to settle P vs. NP. ...
18
votes
7answers
4k views

Would proving P≠NP be harder than proving P=NP?

Consider two possibilities for the P vs. NP problem: P=NP and P$\neq$NP. Let Q be one of known NP-hard problems. To prove P=NP, we need to design a single polynomial time algorithm A for Q and prove ...
15
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2answers
2k views

How can P =? NP enhance integer factorization

If ${\sf P}$ does in fact equal ${\sf NP}$, how would this enhance our algorithms to factor integers faster. In other words, what kind of insight would this fact give us in understanding integer ...
14
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5answers
6k views

Flaw in my NP = CoNP Proof?

I have this very simple "proof" for NP = CoNP and I think I did something wrongly somewhere, but I cannot find what is wrong. Can someone help me out? Let A be some problem in NP, and let M be the ...
14
votes
2answers
14k views

Is the open question NP=co-NP the same as P=NP?

I'm wondering this based on several places online that call $\sf NP=$ co-$\sf NP$ a major open problem... but I can't find any indication as to whether or not this is the same as $\sf P=NP$ problem...
14
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1answer
2k views

Why do Shaefer's and Mahaney's Theorems not imply P = NP?

I'm sure someone has thought about this before or immediately dismissed it, but why does Schaefer's dichotomy theory along with Mahaney's theorem on sparse sets not imply P = NP ? Here's my ...
13
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2answers
7k views

How to prove P$\neq$NP?

I am aware that this seems a very stupid (or too obvious to state) question. However, I am confused at some point. We can show that P $=$ NP if and only if we can design an algorithm that solves any ...
13
votes
3answers
5k views

Proving P = NP without mathematical statements / computer program

This is my first post after being a passive user for some time now. I wish to ask some questions if I may. I am not a mathematician but my question relates to the field of maths/computer science. In ...
13
votes
1answer
992 views

Runtime bounds on algorithms of NP complete problems assuming P≠NP

Assume $P\neq NP$. What can we say about the runtime bounds of all NP-complete problems? i.e. what are the tightest functions $L,U:\mathbb{N}\to\mathbb{N}$ for which we can guarantee that an optimal ...
12
votes
2answers
1k views

Why does Schaefer's theorem not prove that P=NP?

This is probably a stupid question, but I just don't understand. In another question they came up with Schaefer's dichotomy theorem. To me it looks like it proves that every CSP problem is either in P ...
11
votes
1answer
457 views

Why is this argument for $P\neq NP$ wrong?

I know its silly, but i managed to confuse myself and i need help settling this Suppose $P=NP$, then clearly for every oracle $A$ we have $P^A=NP^A$ which contradicts the fact that there exists some ...
10
votes
2answers
4k views

Contradiction proof for inequality of P and NP?

I'm trying to argue that N is not equal NP using hierarchy theorems. This is my argument, but when I showed it to our teacher and after deduction, he said that this is problematic where I can't find a ...
10
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4answers
5k views

Evolving artificial neural networks for solving NP problems

I've recently read a really interesting blog entry from Google Research Blog talking about neural network. Basically they use this neural networks for solving various problems like image recognition. ...
10
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1answer
3k views

If $\mathbf{P} = \mathbf{NP}$, then is $\mathbf{L} = \mathbf{NL}$?

If $\mathbf{P} = \mathbf{NP}$, then is $\mathbf{L} = \mathbf{NL}$? I am asking this question because, for other non-deterministic classes, it seems $\mathbf{P} = \mathbf{NP}$ always establishes that ...
10
votes
3answers
869 views

Proving that if $\mathrm{NTime}(n^{100}) \subseteq \mathrm{DTime}(n^{1000})$ then $\mathrm{P}=\mathrm{NP}$

I'd really like your help with proving the following. If $\mathrm{NTime}(n^{100}) \subseteq \mathrm{DTime}(n^{1000})$ then $\mathrm{P}=\mathrm{NP}$. Here, $\mathrm{NTime}(n^{100})$ is the class of ...
9
votes
1answer
396 views

If one shows that UNIQUE k-SAT is in P, does it imply P=NP?

Valiant & Vazirani proved SAT is reducible to UNIQUE SAT under randomized probabilistic reductions in polynomial time. Calabro et al. showed that UNIQUE k-SAT is as hard as k-SAT. Now the ...
9
votes
2answers
317 views

P vs. NP and Godel's Theorems

This post is based loosely on a previous post, but the presentation is somewhat different and hopefully much more succinct. Basically, I'm wondering if it is plausible for there to be a formal proof ...
9
votes
0answers
288 views

P vs NP and the Time Hierarchy

Assuming $P\neq NP$, is it possible that there exists a $k$ such that $P\subseteq\textsf{NTIME}(t^k)$? There reason I ask this is that I assume the following: $$P=NP \implies \forall k\ \exists j.\ \...
8
votes
2answers
234 views

Can exactly one of NP and co-NP be equal to P?

Maybe I am missing something obvious, but can it be that P = co-NP $\subsetneq$ NP or vice versa? My feeling is that there must be some theorem that rules out this possibility.
8
votes
2answers
816 views

Why doesn't Godel's Second Incompleteness Theorem rule out a formalizable proof of P!=NP?

I'm sure there must be something wrong with the following reasoning because otherwise a lot of P vs. NP research would be curtailed but I cannot determine my error: For any fixed integer $k>0$ ...
8
votes
1answer
847 views

What is wrong with this conditional proof of P=NP?

I have recently thought up the following proof that L=P implies P=NP. Suppose L=P. Let A be a problem in NP. By the verifier definition of NP, each positive solution to A has a witness that can be ...
8
votes
1answer
234 views

How to show that the set of machines which accept languages in $\mathrm{NP}\smallsetminus\mathrm P$, is decidable only if $\mathrm P=\mathrm{NP}$?

I'd like your help with proving that the language $$L=\{\langle M \rangle \mathrel| L(M) \in \mathrm{NP}\smallsetminus \mathrm{P} \}$$ is decidable iff $\mathrm{P}=\mathrm{NP}$. If $\mathrm{P}=\...
8
votes
0answers
253 views

Are there consequences for P ≠ NP that are unintuitive?

It's often regarded that the most intuitive answer to the question of $P$ vs $NP$ is that $P ≠ NP$. This is often illustrated with some consequences that would follow if $P = NP$ were true. Things ...
7
votes
1answer
2k views

If graph isomorphism is in P, is then P = NP?

I think that, since graph isomorphism is not known to be $\textbf{NP}$-complete, we can not reduce all problems in $\textbf{NP}$ to it, and therefore the implication does not hold. Additionally, in ...
7
votes
1answer
1k views

Why the need for TSP solvers when there are SAT solvers?

Concorde TSP is a solver for TSP. SAT solvers are solvers for boolean satisfiability. TSP and SAT are NP-complete. Hence, why spent the time to develop Concorde TSP when there is an abundance of SAT ...
7
votes
1answer
874 views

Algorithms that run in polynomial time if P=NP

On Wikipedia, it says that that there are some algorithms that would run in polynomial time if and only if P=NP. They gave one example (without citation), but are there any others? I tried looking ...
7
votes
3answers
829 views

What is the utility of proving P=NP if we can't find an algorithm that can solve any NP problem in polynomial time?

Here we see a very interesting attempt to show that $\mathrm{P} \ne \mathrm{NP}$ by Norbert Blum. Here we see 116 previous attempts at solving P vs. NP. Here we see the P vs NP problem defined as: ...
7
votes
1answer
209 views

How to use an old SAT solver to discover a new one, as is done in The Golden Ticket?

In Lance Fortnow's book The Golden Ticket, he mentions that once you have a polynomial-time algorithm for an NP-complete problem, you can use it to find a faster algorithm. Can you tell me how that is ...
7
votes
2answers
967 views

Polytime algorithm for SUBSET-SUM assuming P=NP

In the Wikipedia page on P vs. NP problem there is an algorithm that "solves" SUBSET-SUM in case P=NP in polynomial time. (It's idea is to find a TM that gives a certificate). But it gives "yes" in ...
6
votes
2answers
874 views

Is detecting easy instances of NP-hard problems easy?

My question is the following. Assume that $\Pi$ is an NP-hard problem. Given an arbitrary instance $I$ of $\Pi$ and assume that an adversary knows that this instance is easy to solve, is it possible ...
6
votes
1answer
13k views

Proving that if coNP $\neq$ NP then P $\neq$ NP

I am new in complexity theory and this question is a part of a homework that I have and I am stuck on it. Let ${\sf coNP}$ be the class of languages $\{\overline{L}: L \in {\sf NP} \}$. Show that if $...
6
votes
1answer
800 views

$1+\epsilon$ approximation for inapproximable problems

I am currently confused by the following situation: 1) The metric $k$-center problem is inapproximable in polynomial time within $2-\epsilon$ unless $P=NP$. 2) The metric $k$-center problem can ...
6
votes
1answer
265 views

Does $P \neq NP$ imply $NP \neq PSPACE$?

Is it true that $\mathsf{P} \neq \mathsf{NP}$ implies $\mathsf{NP} \neq \mathsf{PSPACE}$? I have here some problem that is in $\mathsf{PSPACE} \setminus \mathsf{NP}$ if $\mathsf{P} \neq \mathsf{NP}$. ...
6
votes
1answer
497 views

Why can't we exploite finiteness to prove incompleteness in NP?

It is well established that the class of recursive languages is strictly contained in the class of recursively enumerable languages (Rec $\ne$ RE). Any finite language is decidable and hence can not ...
6
votes
2answers
207 views

Does Provable P equal Provable NP?

My question is a very basic one. It seems feasible to believe that $\mathsf{P = NP}$, because there is some "pathological" good algorithm for SAT, yet it is impossible to prove that the algorithm is ...
6
votes
1answer
255 views

Is there a philosophical counterpart question to P != NP?

Gödels motivation to prove his incompleteness theorems was the philosophical statement "This sentence is wrong.". Is there a philosophical counterpart to the statement P != NP? For example such ...
5
votes
6answers
1k views

How is it valid to use oracles in mathematical arguments?

Oracles do not exist. If one did exist, then you would replace them with a subroutine with computational requirements and you would no longer need an "Oracle". Thus, Oracles do not exist almost by ...
5
votes
3answers
842 views

Could an NP-hard problem have a mechanical or physical solution method?

Is there any NP-hard problem that we can find a mechanical "polynomial time" solution to? For example, suppose we construct a graph out of something physical, e.g. we have have pipes through which we ...
5
votes
2answers
401 views

Why does this not prove $P\neq NP$?

Fiorini, Massar, Pokutta, Tiwary and De Wolf (Exponential Lower Bounds for Polytopes in Combinatorial Optimization, Journal of the ACM 62(2):article 17, 2015; PDF, ArXiv) show any linear program that ...
5
votes
1answer
714 views

What would an exponential reduction from an NP-complete problem to P signify?

Taking an NP-complete problem like vertex cover if we can find a reduction which is exponential and not polynomial and the reduction we do to a problem can be solved in polynomial time, then what ...
5
votes
1answer
106 views

Logarithmic Randomness is Necessary for PCP Theorem

I am trying to proof the following statement: If $ {\rm SAT} \in {\rm PCP}[r(n),O(1)]$, where $ r(n)=o(\log n)$, then ${\sf P}={\sf NP}$. Here are my ideas for the proof: It can be easily worked ...
5
votes
1answer
259 views

Stronger versions of P != NP which better express actual convictions

Does the conviction "L-uniform NC1 != NP is incredibly hard to prove!" express the core of "P != NP is incredibly hard to prove!" in a similar spirit as the conviction "The polynomial hierarchy doesn'...

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