Sum-of-Squares Lower Bounds for Sparse Independent Set

by   Chris Jones, et al.

The Sum-of-Squares (SoS) hierarchy of semidefinite programs is a powerful algorithmic paradigm which captures state-of-the-art algorithmic guarantees for a wide array of problems. In the average case setting, SoS lower bounds provide strong evidence of algorithmic hardness or information-computation gaps. Prior to this work, SoS lower bounds have been obtained for problems in the "dense" input regime, where the input is a collection of independent Rademacher or Gaussian random variables, while the sparse regime has remained out of reach. We make the first progress in this direction by obtaining strong SoS lower bounds for the problem of Independent Set on sparse random graphs. We prove that with high probability over an Erdos-Renyi random graph G∼ G_n,d/n with average degree d>log^2 n, degree-D_SoS SoS fails to refute the existence of an independent set of size k = Ω(n/√(d)(log n)(D_SoS)^c_0) in G (where c_0 is an absolute constant), whereas the true size of the largest independent set in G is O(nlog d/d). Our proof involves several significant extensions of the techniques used for proving SoS lower bounds in the dense setting. Previous lower bounds are based on the pseudo-calibration heuristic of Barak et al [FOCS 2016] which produces a candidate SoS solution using a planted distribution indistinguishable from the input distribution via low-degree tests. In the sparse case the natural planted distribution does admit low-degree distinguishers, and we show how to adapt the pseudo-calibration heuristic to overcome this. Another notorious technical challenge for the sparse regime is the quest for matrix norm bounds. In this paper, we obtain new norm bounds for graph matrices in the sparse setting.



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