Impact of Community Structure on SAT Solver Performance
Modern CDCL SAT solvers routinely solve very large industrial SAT instances in relatively short periods of time. It is clear that these solvers somehow exploit the structure of real-world instances. However, to-date there have been few results that precisely characterise this structure. In this paper, we provide evidence that the community structure of real-world SAT instances is correlated with the running time of CDCL SAT solvers. It has been known for some time that real-world SAT instances, viewed as graphs, have natural communities in them. A community is a sub-graph of the graph of a SAT instance, such that this sub-graph has more internal edges than outgoing to the rest of the graph. The community structure of a graph is often characterised by a quality metric called Q. Intuitively, a graph with high-quality community structure (high Q) is easily separable into smaller communities, while the one with low Q is not. We provide three results based on empirical data which show that community structure of real-world industrial instances is a better predictor of the running time of CDCL solvers than other commonly considered factors such as variables and clauses. First, we show that there is a strong correlation between the Q value and Literal Block Distance metric of quality of conflict clauses used in clause-deletion policies in Glucose-like solvers. Second, using regression analysis, we show that the the number of communities and the Q value of the graph of real-world SAT instances is more predictive of the running time of CDCL solvers than traditional metrics like number of variables or clauses. Finally, we show that randomly-generated SAT instances with 0.05 ≤ Q ≤ 0.13 are dramatically harder to solve for CDCL solvers than otherwise.
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