Propagating binary clauses

Binary clauses are somewhat special. They are clauses that look like:

-v1 or v20 = true
-v1 or v21 = true

which basically mean: if v1 is TRUE, then both v20 and v21 must be TRUE. We put these clauses into a special datastructure, that looks like this:

watchlist[-v1] = v20,v21, ...

This makes us all very happy, since this datastructure is very simple: just literals (negated or non-negated variables) one after the other, in a very trivial list. This makes the whole thing very compact, and very efficient.

The problem with such a list is that when v1 is indeed set to TRUE, then when we set the variables (e.g. v20,v21), we must record what set these variables to their new values. What usually is done is to simply record the pointer to the clause that does this. However, in the above datastructure, there are no clause pointers. The datastructure for GLUCOSE contained these pointers. I have lately been experimenting with removing these pointers. The tricky part is to update the conflict generation routine that examines the clauses and decisions that lead to a conflict. This routine must now automatically recognise that these binary clauses are special, and they are only 2-long: one part of them is the variable that got set, and the other part is the variable that set it. These two informations are available: watchlist[-v1] immediately tells us that literal -v1 set the variable, and the variable that got set is always known.

Armed with this logic, one would think that moving towards this all-new no-clause-pointers heaven is the way to go. However, apparently, this might not be so. This is quite astonishing, given that doing things without pointers should mean less cache-misses (since pointers are less likely to be resolved during conflict analysis). I consistently get worse speeds, though. I am guessing that the problem lies with the datastructure I use to store the information stating what lead to the setting of the variable. I use a very simple struct:

where wasPointer is TRUE if a non-binary clause lead here (and we store the pointer), and FALSE if it was a binary clause (and we store the other literal). The union takes care of the rest: pointer is valid when wasPointer is TRUE and lit is valid when wasPointer is FALSE.

What is apparent in this datastructure is the following: we now store a 32/64 bit pointer plus we store a boolean. Right, so 42/72 bits of data? No. Data alignment in C++ means, that this datastructure will be aligned according to its largest member, so it will be aligned to 32/64-bit boundaries: this datastructure takes 128/64 bits to store on 32 and 64 bit architectures, respectively. Oops, we just doubled our demand of data writes!

There are some remedies, of course. We can simply pack:

which removes the memory burden of aligning to maximum size, and the actual size will really be 42/72 bits. But this reaises the overhead of accessing data inside this structure. Furthermore, I have been using a 32-bit mini-pointer on 64-bit architectures, which is a big hack, so it crumbles as soon as something as complicated as this comes up: so I am left with writing 72 bits instead of 32. This probably leads to the slowdowns. Oh well, I have got to work harder…

EDITED TO ADD: Next up, I will talk about some new ideas that let me solve 217 problems from the 2009 SAT Race within the original time limit. Remember that last year the best solver only solved 204.