Hamming Approximation of NP Witnesses
Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

UC Riverside

UC Riverside Previously Published Works bannerUC Riverside

Hamming Approximation of NP Witnesses


Given a satisfiable 3-SAT formula, how hard is it to find an assignment to the variables that has Hamming distance at most n/2 to a satisfying assignment? More generally, consider any polynomial-time verifier for any NP-complete language. A d(n)-Hamming-approximation algorithm for the verifier is one that, given any member x of the language, outputs in polynomial time a string a with Hamming distance at most d(n) to some witness w, where (x,w) is accepted by the verifier. Previous results have shown that, if P != NP, then every NP-complete language has a verifier for which there is no (n/2-n^(2/3+d))-Hamming-approximation algorithm, for various constants d > 0. Our main result is that, if P != NP, then every paddable NP-complete language has a verifier that admits no (n/2+O(sqrt(n log n)))-Hamming-approximation algorithm. That is, one cannot get even half the bits right. We also consider natural verifiers for various well-known NP-complete problems. They do have n/2-Hamming-approximation algorithms, but, if P != NP, have no (n/2-n^epsilon)-Hamming-approximation algorithms for any constant epsilon > 0. We show similar results for randomized algorithms.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC's open access policies. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View