A Characterisation of First-Order Constraint Satisfaction Problems

Benoit Larose, Cynthia Loten, Claude Tardif

We describe simple algebraic and combinatorial characterisations of finite relational core structures admitting finitely many obstructions. As a consequence, we show that it is decidable to determine whether a constraint satisfaction problem is first-order definable: we show the general problem to be NP-complete, and give a polynomial-time algorithm in the case of cores. A slight modification of this algorithm provides, for first-order definable CSP's, a simple poly-time algorithm to produce a solution when one exists. As an application of our algebraic characterisation of first order CSP's, we describe a large family of L-complete CSP's.

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