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Computing (FOLDOC) dictionary

NP-complete

complexity (NPC, Nondeterministic Polynomial time complete)

A set or property of computational decision problems which

is a subset of NP (i.e. can be solved by a

with the additional property that it is also NP-hard. Thus

a solution for one NP-complete problem would solve all

problems in NP. Many (but not all) naturally arising problems

in class NP are in fact NP-complete.

There is always a polynomial-time algorithm for transforming

an instance of any NP-complete problem into an instance of any

other NP-complete problem. So if you could solve one you

could solve any other by transforming it to the solved one.

The first problem ever shown to be NP-complete was the

satisfiability problem. Another example is Hamilton'sproblem.