Stabbing Planes

10/09/2017 ∙ by Paul Beame, et al. ∙ 0

We introduce and develop a new semi-algebraic proof system, called Stabbing Planes that is in the style of DPLL-based modern SAT solvers. As with DPLL, there is only one rule: the current polytope can be subdivided by branching on an inequality and its "integer negation." That is, we can (nondeterministically choose) a hyperplane a x ≥ b with integer coefficients, which partitions the polytope into three pieces: the points in the polytope satisfying a x ≥ b, the points satisfying a x ≤ b-1, and the middle slab b-1 < a x < b. Since the middle slab contains no integer points it can be safely discarded, and the algorithm proceeds recursively on the other two branches. Each path terminates when the current polytope is empty, which is polynomial-time checkable. Among our results, we show somewhat surprisingly that Stabbing Planes can efficiently simulate Cutting Planes, and moreover, is strictly stronger than Cutting Planes under a reasonable conjecture. We prove linear lower bounds on the rank of Stabbing Planes refutations, by adapting a lifting argument in communication complexity.



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