Tag Archives: SAT

On failed literal probing

Apparently, there have been quite some work done on failed literal probing, although I don’t think they have all been put into a common package yet.

The idea is quite simple in its purest form: try to set variable v1 to true and see if that fails. If it does, variable v1 must be false. If it doesn’t fail, try the other way around: set it to false and if that fails, it must be true.

There are a couple of tricks we can add, however. For example, if both v1 and !v1 set variable v10 to value X (where X can be either true or false), then set v10 to X. The reasoning here is simple: v1 must be set, so whatever both v1 and !v1 imply, it must be set, too. So we can safely set v10 to X.

A more interesting thinking is the following. If v1 sets v20 to true, but !v1 sets v20 to false, then v1 = v20. So, we can replace v20 with v1. One less variable to worry about!

There are even more tricks, however. If setting v1 to true and false both shorten a longer XOR to a 2-long XOR “v40 + v50 = false“, this 2-long XOR can be learnt: v40 can be replaced with v50.

And more tricks. If there is a 2-long clause v1 or v2 = true, then we can do all of the above, but with v1 and v2 this time. Since either v1 or v2 must be true, all the above ideas still work. In all previous ideas all we used was the fact that either v1 or !v1 must be true. This is still the case: either v1 or v2 must be true. This, by the way, is called 1-recursive learning. (note: the fourth paragraphs changes a bit, but we still learn a 2-long xor).

And now something new. I have been thinking about trying to re-use old learnt clauses. They really code down sometimes quite important facts about the problem. What if we tried to re-use them? After all, keeping them in memory is really cheap: the only problem with them is that doing regular propagation with them takes a lot of time, thus slowing down the solver. But what if we only used them to do failed literal probing? I just launched a test on the Grid’5000 cluster to find out. Fingers crossed…