Date of Original Version



Working Paper

Abstract or Description

Partitioning the vertices of a graph into two roughly equal parts while minimizing the number of edges crossing the cut is a fundamental problem (called Balanced Separator) that arises in many settings. For this problem, and variants such as the Uniform Sparsest Cut problem where the goal is to minimize the fraction of pairs on opposite sides of the cut that are connected by an edge, there are large gaps between the known approximation algorithms and non-approximability results. While no constant factor approximation algorithms are known, even APX-hardness is not known either.

In this work we prove that for balanced separator and uniform sparsest cut, semidefinite programs from the Lasserre hierarchy (which are the most powerful relaxations studied in the literature) have an integrality gap bounded away from 1, even for Ω(n) levels of the hierarchy. This complements recent algorithmic results in Guruswami and Sinop (2011) which used the Lasserre hierarchy to give an approximation scheme for these problems (with runtime depending on the spectrum of the graph). Along the way, we make an observation that simplifies the task of lifting "polynomial constraints" (such as the global balance constraint in balanced separator) to higher levels of the Lasserre hierarchy.