Biased landscapes for random Constraint Satisfaction Problems

Louise Budzynski, Federico Ricci-Tersenghi, Guilhem Semerjian

The typical complexity of Constraint Satisfaction Problems (CSPs) can be investigated by means of random ensembles of instances. The latter exhibit many threshold phenomena besides their satisfiability phase transition, in particular a clustering or dynamic phase transition (related to the tree reconstruction problem) at which their typical solutions shatter into disconnected components. In this paper we study the evolution of this phenomenon under a bias that breaks the uniformity among solutions of one CSP instance, concentrating on the bicoloring of k-uniform random hypergraphs. We show that for small k the clustering transition can be delayed in this way to higher density of constraints, and that this strategy has a positive impact on the performances of Simulated Annealing algorithms. We characterize the modest gain that can be expected in the large k limit from the simple implementation of the biasing idea studied here. This paper contains also a contribution of a more methodological nature, made of a review and extension of the methods to determine numerically the discontinuous dynamic transition threshold.

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