Russ Martin
Liverpool
The Complexity of Approximately Counting Stable Matchings
We investigate the problem of counting stable marriages and
stable roommate assignments. The classical polynomial-time
algorithm of Gale and Shapley demonstrates the existence of
a stable marriage for any problem instance. A similar
polynomial-time algorithm of Irving can be used to find a
stable roommate assignment, or to show that none exists. Each
of the corresponding counting problems ("How many stable matchings
are there?") is known to be #P-complete.
This raises the question of approximately counting the number of
stable assignments. Even in some restricted settings, we show that
efficient approximation algorithms for these counting problems
appear unlikely to exist. For (certain restricted cases of) the
marriage problem, we show that counting the number of stable
assignments is equivalent, in an approximation-preserving sense,
to counting the number of independent sets in a bipartite graph.
It is conjectured that no fully-polynomial randomized approximation
scheme (FPRAS) exists for this problem. For restricted cases of the
roommate problem, counting stable assignments is equivalent to
counting the number of satisfying assignments in a SAT formula.
No FPRAS exists for that problem unless NP=RP.
Joint work with Prasad Chebolu and Leslie Ann Goldberg.