The matching polytope does not admit fully-polynomial size relaxation schemes
Proceedings of the Twenty-Sixth Annual ACM-SIAM Symposium on Discrete Algorithms
The groundbreaking work of Rothvoß [arxiv:1311.2369] established that every linear program expressing the matching polytope has an exponential number of inequalities (formally, the matching polytope has exponential extension complexity). We generalize this result by deriving strong bounds on the polyhedral inapproximability of the matching polytope: for fixed 0 < ε < 1, every polyhedral (1 + ε / n)-approximation requires an exponential number of inequalities, where n is the number of vertices.
... his is sharp given the well-known ρ-approximation of size O(nρ/(ρ-1)) provided by the odd-sets of size up to ρ/(ρ-1). Thus matching is the first problem in P, whose natural linear encoding does not admit a fully polynomial-size relaxation scheme (the polyhedral equivalent of an FPTAS), which provides a sharp separation from the polynomial-size relaxation scheme obtained e.g., via constant-sized odd-sets mentioned above. Our approach reuses ideas from Rothvoß [arxiv:1311.2369], however the main lower bounding technique is different. While the original proof is based on the hyperplane separation bound (also called the rectangle corruption bound), we employ the information-theoretic notion of common information as introduced in Braun and Pokutta [http://eccc.hpi-web.de/report/2013/056/], which allows to analyze perturbations of slack matrices. It turns out that the high extension complexity for the matching polytope stem from the same source of hardness as for the correlation polytope: a direct sum structure.