The problem of deciding whether a finite ordered set has a fixed point free automorphism was found by Williamson to be NP-complete (cf. , Fact 5.1 or Theorem 2.14 here), i.e.,
We will present two proofs of this theorem here. One by Goddard that reduces the problem to a known NP-complete problem, namely the determination if a given graph has a fixed point free automorphism (cf. ). The other is Williamson's original adaptation of Lubiw's proof in , which reduces the problem to 3SAT. This proof will be sketched only. For the first proof we need:
Proof 1 of Theorem 2.14:
(T. Goddard, private communication, also cf. )
By  it is NP-complete to decide if a given graph has a
fixed point free automorphism. We will show that any
algorithm that decides if an
ordered set P has a fixed point free automorphism in
if an arbitrary graph G=(V,E)
has a fixed point free automorphism
in q'(|V|) steps,
where q,q' are polynomials.
Let G=(V,E) be a graph. Order the set via the order defined as follows:
f is a fixed point free automorphism of P. \
Thus we even know that the problem to decide if an ordered set of height 1 has a fixed point free automorphism is NP-complete (this is also noted as Fact 5.2 in ). This is interesting in the light of Theorem 3.21 and Corollary 3.24, which show that there is an efficient algorithm to detect if an ordered set of height 1 has a fixed point free order-preserving self map. Our second proof is a reduction to 3SAT itself.
Figure 2: The ordered set used in the second proof of Theorem 2.14: Consider an instance of 3SAT with m distinct clauses , each of which contains exactly 3 distinct literals out of . The satisfiabiliy component is an antichain of points , where abc counts from zero to 7 in binary. The truth setting component has comparabilities as indicated. Finally (not indicated in the figure) the upper covers of are and .
Proof 2 of Theorem 2.14:
(cf. , Fact 5.1; we present a sketch)
For a given instance C of 3SAT which we can without loss of generality
choose to have m distinct clauses
each of which has 3 distinct literals
we construct the ordered set P as indicated in Figure 2.
Note that each has a unique set of 6 upper covers.
For , let
Then it is easy to see that every automorphism
of P must fix the satisfiability component and every .
Each has exactly four fixed point free automorphisms, of which only
(we remain consistent with the notation in  here)
can possibly extend to an automorphism of P
(the other two map sets that have a lower bound in the satisfiability
component to sets that do not have lower bounds).
To show that P has a fixed point free automorphism iff there is a satisfying assignment for C first assume that is a fixed point free automorphism. If , set TRUE. Otherwise we have , and we set FALSE. Now if and were all false for some j, then the definitions of and indicate that must interchange and , and , and and . Since these are the upper covers of we conclude that is a fixed point of , a contradiction.
On the other hand if is a satisfying assignment for C (with 0 standing for FALSE and 1 standing for TRUE as usual), we define as follows: Set if is true (1), set if is false (0) and set , where denotes addition modulo 2. Since one of is 1 (true), has no fixed points. trivially is an automorphism on the truth setting component. Since addition of a 1 or a 0 modulo 2 is injective, is injective and hence bijective on the satisfiability component. Finally one checks that is order-preserving. \
Using the characterization in Remark 2.11 we can also record some known results as easy consequences:
Proof: If there was an algorithm that decides if a given r-partite graph G=(V,E) with partition and contains an r-clique in q(|V|) steps, then by Remark 2.11 there would be an algorithm that determines if the fixed point free automorphism graph of a given ordered set P has a |P|-clique in q'(|P|) steps. Thus we could determine if a given ordered set P has a fixed point free automorphism in q''(|P|) steps (q,q',q'' all polynomials).\
Proof: If there was an algorithm that determines if a given graph G=(V,E) with has an r-clique in q(|V|) steps, then this algorithm would decide if a given r-partite graph G=(V,E) with partition and has an r-clique in q(|V|) steps. \