Barnaby Martin

QCSP monsters and the future of the Chen Conjecture

We elaborate the complexity of the Quantified Constraint Satisfaction Problem, QCSP(A), where A is a finite idempotent algebra. Such a problem is either in NP or is co-NP-hard, and the borderline is given precisely according to whether A enjoys the polynomially-generated powers (PGP) property. This completes the complexity classification problem for QCSPs modulo that co-NP-hard cases might have complexity rising up to Pspace-complete. Our result requires infinite languages, but in this realm represents the proof of a slightly weaker form of a conjecture for QCSP complexity made by Hubie Chen in 2012. The result relies heavily on the algebraic dichotomy between PGP and exponentially-generated powers (EGP), proved by Dmitriy Zhuk in 2015, married carefully to previous work of Chen. Finally, we discuss some recent work with Zhuk in which the aforementioned Chen Conjecture is actually shown to be false. Indeed, the complexity landscape for QCSP(B), where B is a finite constraint language, is much richer than was previously thought.