Algorithmic Improvements in Approximate Counting for Probabilistic Inference: From Linear to Logarithmic SAT Calls*
Meel, Kuldeep S.
Vardi, Moshe Y.
Probabilistic inference via model counting has emerged as a scalable technique with strong formal guarantees, thanks to recent advances in hashing-based approximate counting. State-of-the-art hashing-based counting algorithms use an NP oracle (SAT solver in practice), such that the number of oracle invocations grows linearly in the number of variables n in the input constraint. We present a new approach to hashing-based approximate model counting in which the number of oracle invocations grows logarithmically in n, while still providing strong theoretical guarantees. We use this technique to design an algorithm for #CNF with probably approximately correct (PAC) guarantees. Our experiments show that this algorithm outperforms state-of-the-art techniques for approximate counting by 1-2 orders of magnitude in running time. We also show that our algorithm can be easily adapted to give a new fully polynomial randomized approximation scheme (FPRAS) for #DNF