Inapproximability of Treewidth and Related Problems

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Graphical models, such as Bayesian Networks and Markov networks play an important role in artificial intelligence and machine learning. Inference is a central problem to be solved on these networks. This, and other problems on these graph models are often known to be hard to solve in general, but tractable on graphs with bounded Treewidth. Therefore, finding or approximating the Treewidth of a graph is a fundamental problem related to inference in graphical models. In this paper, we study the approximability of a number of graph problems: Treewidth and Pathwidth of graphs, Minimum Fill-In, One-Shot Black (and Black-White) pebbling costs of directed acyclic graphs, and a variety of different graph layout problems such as Minimum Cut Linear Arrangement and Interval Graph Completion. We show that, assuming the recently introduced Small Set Expansion Conjecture, all of these problems are NP-hard to approximate to within any constant factor in polynomial time.

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