Private Approximation of Search Problems

Amos Beimel, Paz Carmi, Kobbi Nissim, Enav Weinreb

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle


Many approximation algorithms have been presented in the last decades for hard search problems. The focus of this paper is on cryptographic applications, where it is desired to design algorithms which do not leak unnecessary information. Specifically, we are interested in private approximation algorithms -- efficient algorithms whose output does not leak information not implied by the optimal solutions to the search problems. Privacy requirements add constraints on the approximation algorithms; in particular, known approximation algorithms usually leak a lot of information. For functions, [Feigenbaum et al., ICALP 2001] presented a natural requirement that a private algorithm should not leak information not implied by the original function. Generalizing this requirement to earch problems is not straight forward as an input may have many different outputs. We present a new definition that captures a minimal privacy requirement from such algorithms -- applied to an input instance, it should not leak any information that is not implied by its collection of exact solutions. Although our privacy requirement seems minimal, we show that for well studied problems, as vertex cover and maximum exact 3SAT, private approximation algorithms are unlikely to exist even for poor approximation ratios. Similar to [Halevi et al., STOC 2001], we define a relaxed notion of approximation algorithms that leak (little) information, and demonstrate the applicability of this notion by showing near optimal approximation algorithms for maximum exact 3SAT which leak little information.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages26
NoReport No. 141
Specialist publicationElectronic Colloquium on Computational Complexity
StatePublished - 29 Nov 2005


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