An Exact Algorithm Based on MaxSAT Reasoning for the Maximum Weight Clique Problem

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Zhiwen Fang
Chu-Min Li
Ke Xu


Recently, MaxSAT reasoning is shown very effective in computing a tight upper bound for a Maximum Clique (MC) of a (unweighted) graph. In this paper, we apply MaxSAT reasoning to compute a tight upper bound for a Maximum Weight Clique (MWC) of a wighted graph. We first study three usual encodings of MWC into weighted partial MaxSAT dealing with hard clauses, which must be satisfied in all solutions, and soft clauses, which are weighted and can be falsified. The drawbacks of these encodings motivate us to propose an encoding of MWC into a special weighted partial MaxSAT formalism, called LW (Literal-Weighted) encoding and dedicated for upper bounding an MWC, in which both soft clauses and literals in soft clauses are weighted. An optimal solution of the LW MaxSAT instance gives an upper bound for an MWC, instead of an optimal solution for MWC. We then introduce two notions called the Top-k literal failed clause and the Top-k empty clause to extend classical MaxSAT reasoning techniques, as well as two sound transformation rules to transform an LW MaxSAT instance. Successive transformations of an LW MaxSAT instance driven by MaxSAT reasoning give a tight upper bound for the encoded MWC. The approach is implemented in a branch-and-bound algorithm called MWCLQ. Experimental evaluations on the broadly used DIMACS benchmark, BHOSLIB benchmark, random graphs and the benchmark from the winner determination problem show that our approach allows MWCLQ to reduce the search space significantly and to solve MWC instances effectively. Consequently, MWCLQ outperforms state-of-the-art exact algorithms on the vast majority of instances. Moreover, it is surprisingly effective in solving hard and dense instances.

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