- Mathematics; Computer Science
Today's propositional satisfiability (SAT) solvers are extremely powerful and can be used as an efficient back-end for solving NP-complete problems. However, many fundamental problems in logic, in knowledge representation and reasoning, and in artificial intelligence are located at the second level of the Polynomial Hierarchy or even higher, and hence for these problems polynomial-time transformations to SAT are not possible, unless the hierarchy collapses. Recent research shows that in certain cases one can break through these complexity barriers by fixed-parameter tractable (fpt) reductions to SAT which exploit structural aspects of problem instances in terms of problem parameters. These reductions are more powerful because their running times can grow superpolynomially in the problem parameters. In this paper we develop a general theoretical framework that supports the classification of parameterized problems on whether they admit such an fpt-reduction to SAT or not.