Faster algorithms for MAX CUT and MAX CSP, with polynomial expected time for sparse instances

We show that a random instance of a weighted maximum constraint satisfaction problem (or max 2-csp), whose clauses are over pairs of binary variables, is solvable by a deterministic algorithm in polynomial expected time, in the “sparse” regime where the expected number of clauses is half the number of variables. In particular, a maximum cut in a random graph with edge density 1/n or less can be found in polynomial expected time. Our method is to show, first, that if a max 2-csp has a connected underlying graph with n vertices and m edges, the solution time can be deterministically bounded by 2(m − n)/2. Then, analyzing the tails of the distribution of this quantity for a component of a random graph yields our result. An alternative deterministic bound on the solution time, as 2 m/5, improves upon a series of recent results.

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http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/35818/