Label Cover Instances with Large Girth and the Hardness of Approximating Basic k-Spanner

  • Michael Dinitz
  • Guy Kortsarz
  • Ran Raz
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 7391)


We study the well-known Label Cover problem under the additional requirement that problem instances have large girth. We show that if the girth is some k, the problem is roughly \(2^{(\log^{1-\epsilon} n)/k}\) hard to approximate for all constant ε > 0. A similar theorem was claimed by Elkin and Peleg [ICALP 2000] as part of an attempt to prove hardness for the basic k-spanner problem, but their proof was later found to have a fundamental error. Thus we give both the first non-trivial lower bound for the problem of Label Cover with large girth as well as the first full proof of strong hardness for the basic k-spanner problem, which is both the simplest problem in graph spanners and one of the few for which super-logarithmic hardness was not known. Assuming \(NP \not\subseteq BPTIME(2^{polylog(n)})\), we show (roughly) that for every k ≥ 3 and every constant ε > 0 it is hard to approximate the basic k-spanner problem within a factor better than \(2^{(\log^{1-\epsilon} n) / k}\). This improves over the previous best lower bound of only Ω(logn)/k from [17]. Our main technique is subsampling the edges of 2-query PCPs, which allows us to reduce the degree of a PCP to be essentially equal to the soundness desired. This turns out to be enough to basically guarantee large girth.


Small Cycle Parallel Repetition Checkable Proof Direct Spanner Large Girth 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael Dinitz
    • 1
  • Guy Kortsarz
    • 2
  • Ran Raz
    • 1
  1. 1.Weizmann Institute of ScienceIsrael
  2. 2.Department of Computer ScienceRutgersCamdenUSA

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