# From Gap-ETH to FPT-Inapproximability: Clique, Dominating Set, and More

We consider questions that arise from the intersection between the areas of polynomial-time approximation algorithms, subexponential-time algorithms, and fixed-parameter tractable algorithms. The questions, which have been asked several times (e.g., [Marx08, FGMS12, DF13]), are whether there is a non-trivial FPT-approximation algorithm for the Maximum Clique (Clique) and Minimum Dominating Set (DomSet) problems parameterized by the size of the optimal solution. In particular, letting OPT be the optimum and N be the size of the input, is there an algorithm that runs in t(OPT)poly(N) time and outputs a solution of size f(OPT), for any functions t and f that are independent of N (for Clique, we want f(OPT)=ω(1))? In this paper, we show that both Clique and DomSet admit no non-trivial FPT-approximation algorithm, i.e., there is no o(OPT)-FPT-approximation algorithm for Clique and no f(OPT)-FPT-approximation algorithm for DomSet, for any function f (e.g., this holds even if f is the Ackermann function). In fact, our results imply something even stronger: The best way to solve Clique and DomSet, even approximately, is to essentially enumerate all possibilities. Our results hold under the Gap Exponential Time Hypothesis (Gap-ETH) [Dinur16, MR16], which states that no 2^o(n)-time algorithm can distinguish between a satisfiable 3SAT formula and one which is not even (1 - ϵ)-satisfiable for some constant ϵ > 0. Besides Clique and DomSet, we also rule out non-trivial FPT-approximation for Maximum Balanced Biclique, Maximum Subgraphs with Hereditary Properties, and Maximum Induced Matching in bipartite graphs. Additionally, we rule out k^o(1)-FPT-approximation algorithm for Densest k-Subgraph although this ratio does not yet match the trivial O(k)-approximation algorithm.

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