The complexity of minimal satisfiability problems

Lefteris M. Kirousis, Phokion G. Kolaitis

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


A dichotomy theorem for a class of decision problems is a result asserting that certain problems in the class are solvable in polynomial time, while the rest are NP-complete. The first remarkable such dichotomy theorem was proved by T.J. Schaefer in 1978. It concerns the class of generalized satisfiability problems SAT(S), whose input is a CNF(S)-formula, i.e., a formula constructed from elements of a fixed set S of generalized connectives using conjunctions and substitutions by variables. Here, we investigate the complexity of minimal satisfiability problems MIN SAT(S), where S is a fixed set of generalized connectives. The input to such a problem is a CNF(S)-formula and a satisfying truth assignment; the question is to decide whether there is another satisfying truth assignment that is strictly smaller than the given truth assignment with respect to the coordinate-wise partial order on truth assignments. Minimal satisfiability problems were first studied by researchers in artificial intelligence while investigating the computational complexity of propositional circumscription. The question of whether dichotomy theorems can be proved for these problems was raised at that time, but was left open. In this paper, we settle this question affirmatively by establishing a dichotomy theorem for the class of all MIN SAT(S)-problems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSTACS 2001 - 18th Annual Symposium on Theoretical Aspects of Computer Science, Proceedings
EditorsAfonso Ferreira, Horst Reichel
PublisherSpringer Verlag
Number of pages12
ISBN (Print)9783540416951
StatePublished - 2001
Event18th Annual Symposium on Theoretical Aspects of Computer Science, STACS 2001 - Dresden, Germany
Duration: Feb 15 2001Feb 17 2001

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349


Other18th Annual Symposium on Theoretical Aspects of Computer Science, STACS 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • General Computer Science


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