**Are you an EPFL student looking for a semester project?**

Work with us on data science and visualisation projects, and deploy your project as an app on top of Graph Search.

Concept# NP-hardness

Summary

In computational complexity theory, NP-hardness (non-deterministic polynomial-time hardness) is the defining property of a class of problems that are informally "at least as hard as the hardest problems in NP". A simple example of an NP-hard problem is the subset sum problem.
A more precise specification is: a problem H is NP-hard when every problem L in NP can be reduced in polynomial time to H; that is, assuming a solution for H takes 1 unit time, Hs solution can be used to solve L in polynomial time. As a consequence, finding a polynomial time algorithm to solve any NP-hard problem would give polynomial time algorithms for all the problems in NP. As it is suspected that P≠NP, it is unlikely that such an algorithm exists.
It is suspected that there are no polynomial-time algorithms for NP-hard problems, but that has not been proven. Moreover, the class P, in which all problems can be solved in polynomial time, is contained in the NP class.
A decision problem H is NP-hard when for every problem L in NP, there is a polynomial-time many-one reduction from L to H.
An equivalent definition is to require that every problem L in NP can be solved in polynomial time by an oracle machine with an oracle for H. Informally, an algorithm can be thought of that calls such an oracle machine as a subroutine for solving H and solves L in polynomial time if the subroutine call takes only one step to compute.
Another definition is to require that there be a polynomial-time reduction from an NP-complete problem G to H. As any problem L in NP reduces in polynomial time to G, L reduces in turn to H in polynomial time so this new definition implies the previous one. It does not restrict the class NP-hard to decision problems, and it also includes search problems or optimization problems.
If P ≠ NP, then NP-hard problems could not be solved in polynomial time.
Some NP-hard optimization problems can be polynomial-time approximated up to some constant approximation ratio (in particular, those in APX) or even up to any approximation ratio (those in PTAS or FPTAS).

Official source

This page is automatically generated and may contain information that is not correct, complete, up-to-date, or relevant to your search query. The same applies to every other page on this website. Please make sure to verify the information with EPFL's official sources.

Related courses (32)

Related publications (223)

Related people (48)

Related concepts (18)

Related MOOCs (3)

Related lectures (76)

Related units (5)

PHYS-641: Quantum Computing

After introducing the foundations of classical and quantum information theory, and quantum measurement, the course will address the theory and practice of digital quantum computing, covering fundament

CS-251: Theory of computation

This course constitutes an introduction to theory of computation. It discusses the basic theoretical models of computing (finite automata, Turing machine), as well as, provides a solid and mathematica

PHYS-100: Advanced physics I (mechanics)

La Physique Générale I (avancée) couvre la mécanique du point et du solide indéformable. Apprendre la mécanique, c'est apprendre à mettre sous forme mathématique un phénomène physique, en modélisant l

Ontological neighbourhood

Time complexity

In computer science, the time complexity is the computational complexity that describes the amount of computer time it takes to run an algorithm. Time complexity is commonly estimated by counting the number of elementary operations performed by the algorithm, supposing that each elementary operation takes a fixed amount of time to perform. Thus, the amount of time taken and the number of elementary operations performed by the algorithm are taken to be related by a constant factor.

NP-completeness

In computational complexity theory, a problem is NP-complete when: It is a decision problem, meaning that for any input to the problem, the output is either "yes" or "no". When the answer is "yes", this can be demonstrated through the existence of a short (polynomial length) solution. The correctness of each solution can be verified quickly (namely, in polynomial time) and a brute-force search algorithm can find a solution by trying all possible solutions.

Approximation algorithm

In computer science and operations research, approximation algorithms are efficient algorithms that find approximate solutions to optimization problems (in particular NP-hard problems) with provable guarantees on the distance of the returned solution to the optimal one. Approximation algorithms naturally arise in the field of theoretical computer science as a consequence of the widely believed P ≠ NP conjecture. Under this conjecture, a wide class of optimization problems cannot be solved exactly in polynomial time.

Linear and Discrete Optimization

This advanced undergraduate course treats basic principles on linear programming like the simplex algorithm, its complexity, and duality. Furthermore it gives an introduction on discrete optimization

Information, Calcul, Communication: Introduction à la pensée informatique

Dans une première partie, nous étudierons d’abord comment résoudre de manière très concrète un problème au moyen d’un algorithme, ce qui nous amènera dans un second temps à une des grandes questions d

Information, Calcul, Communication: Introduction à la pensée informatique

Dans une première partie, nous étudierons d’abord comment résoudre de manière très concrète un problème au moyen d’un algorithme, ce qui nous amènera dans un second temps à une des grandes questions d

NumPy: Array Manipulation and Broadcasting

Covers array creation, indexing, manipulation, and broadcasting using NumPy in Python.

Metropolis-Hastings Algorithm

Covers the Metropolis-Hastings and Glauber algorithms for sampling from the Boltzmann distribution in the Curie-Weiss model.

Advanced Physics I

Covers advanced physics topics such as motion on a helix and the use of cylindrical coordinates.

Maryam Kamgarpour, Tony Alan Wood

Minimising the longest travel distance for a group of mobile robots with interchangeable goals requires knowledge of the shortest length paths between all robots and goal destinations. Determining the exact length of the shortest paths in an environment wi ...

2023An integer linear program is a problem of the form max{c^T x : Ax=b, x >= 0, x integer}, where A is in Z^(n x m), b in Z^m, and c in Z^n.Solving an integer linear program is NP-hard in general, but there are several assumptions for which it becomes fixed p ...

Serge Vaudenay, Bénédikt Minh Dang Tran

Witness encryption is a cryptographic primitive which encrypts a message under an instance of an NP language and decrypts the ciphertext using a witness associated with that instance. In the current state of the art, most of the witness encryption construc ...