Friedrich, Tobias; Krohmer, Anton; Rothenberger, Ralf; Sauerwald, Thomas; Sutton, Andrew M. **Bounds on the Satisfiability Threshold for Power Law Distributed Random SAT**European Symposium on Algorithms (ESA) 2017: 37:1–37:15

Propositional satisfiability (SAT) is one of the most fundamental problems in computer science. The worst-case hardness of SAT lies at the core of computational complexity theory. The average-case analysis of SAT has triggered the development of sophisticated rigorous and non-rigorous techniques for analyzing random structures. Despite a long line of research and substantial progress, nearly all theoretical work on random SAT assumes a uniform distribution on the variables. In contrast, real-world instances often exhibit large fluctuations in variable occurrence. This can be modeled by a scale-free distribution of the variables, which results in distributions closer to industrial SAT instances. We study random \(k\)-SAT on \(n\) variables, \(m=\Theta(n)\) clauses, and a power law distribution on the variable occurrences with exponent \(\beta\). We observe a satisfiability threshold at \(\beta=(2k-1)/(k-1)\). This threshold is tight in the sense that instances with \( \beta\) \(< (2k-1)/(k-1)-\varepsilon\) for any constant \(\varepsilon>0\) are unsatisfiable with high probability (w.h.p.). For \(\beta\ge(2k-1)/(k-1)+\varepsilon\), the picture is reminiscent of the uniform case: instances are satisfiable w.h.p. for sufficiently small constant clause-variable ratios \(m/n\); they are unsatisfiable above a ratio \(m/n\) that depends on \(\beta\).