Date of Award


Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Computer Science


Venkatesan Guruswami, Anupam Gupta, Ryan O'Donnel

Second Advisor

Ravi Kannana


Graph partitioning is a fundamental optimization problem that has been intensively studied. Many graph partitioning formulations are important as building blocks for divide-and-conquer algorithms on graphs as well as to many applications such as VLSI layout, packet routing in distributed networks, clustering and image segmentation. Unfortunately such problems are notorious for the huge gap between known best known approximation algorithms and hardness of approximation results. In this thesis, we study approximation algorithms for graph partitioning problems using a strong hierarchy of relaxations based on semi-definite programming, called Lasserre Hierachy.

Our main contribution in this thesis is a propagation based rounding framework for solutions arising from such relaxations. We present a novel connection between the quality of solutions it outputs and column based matrix reconstruction problem. As part of our work, we derive optimal bounds on the number of columns necessary together with efficient randomized and deterministic algorithms to find such columns. Using this framework, we derive approximation schemes for many graph partitioning problems with running times dependent on how fast the graph spectrum grows.

Our final contribution is a fast SDP solver for this rounding framework: Even though SDP relaxation has nO(r) many variables, we achieve running times of the form 2O(r) poly(n) by only partially solving the relevant part of relaxation. In order to achieve this, we present a new ellipsoid algorithm that returns certificate of infeasibility.