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Relations and Equivalences Between Circuit Lower Bounds and Karp-Lipton Theorems

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Abstract

A frontier open problem in circuit complexity is to prove P^{NP} is not in SIZE[n^k] for all k; this is a necessary intermediate step towards NP is not in P_{/poly}. Previously, for several classes containing P^{NP}, including NP^{NP}, ZPP^{NP}, and S_2 P, such lower bounds have been proved via Karp-Lipton-style Theorems: to prove C is not in SIZE[n^k] for all k, we show that C subset P_{/poly} implies a "collapse" D = C for some larger class D, where we already know D is not in SIZE[n^k] for all k. It seems obvious that one could take a different approach to prove circuit lower bounds for P^{NP} that does not require proving any Karp-Lipton-style theorems along the way. We show this intuition is wrong: (weak) Karp-Lipton-style theorems for P^{NP} are equivalent to fixed-polynomial size circuit lower bounds for P^{NP}. That is, P^{NP} is not in SIZE[n^k] for all k if and only if (NP subset P_{/poly} implies PH subset i.o.- P^{NP}_{/n}). Next, we present new consequences of the assumption NP subset P_{/poly}, towards proving similar results for NP circuit lower bounds. We show that under the assumption, fixed-polynomial circuit lower bounds for NP, nondeterministic polynomial-time derandomizations, and various fixed-polynomial time simulations of NP are all equivalent. Applying this equivalence, we show that circuit lower bounds for NP imply better Karp-Lipton collapses. That is, if NP is not in SIZE[n^k] for all k, then for all C in {Parity-P, PP, PSPACE, EXP}, C subset P_{/poly} implies C subset i.o.-NP_{/n^epsilon} for all epsilon > 0. Note that unconditionally, the collapses are only to MA and not NP. We also explore consequences of circuit lower bounds for a sparse language in NP. Among other results, we show if a polynomially-sparse NP language does not have n^{1+epsilon}-size circuits, then MA subset i.o.-NP_{/O(log n)}, MA subset i.o.-P^{NP[O(log n)]}, and NEXP is not in SIZE[2^{o(m)}]. Finally, we observe connections between these results and the "hardness magnification" phenomena described in recent works.

BibTeX - Entry

@InProceedings{chen_et_al:LIPIcs:2019:10852,
  author =	{Lijie Chen and Dylan M. McKay and Cody D. Murray and R. Ryan Williams},
  title =	{{Relations and Equivalences Between Circuit Lower Bounds and Karp-Lipton Theorems}},
  booktitle =	{34th Computational Complexity Conference (CCC 2019)},
  pages =	{30:1--30:21},
  series =	{Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs)},
  ISBN =	{978-3-95977-116-0},
  ISSN =	{1868-8969},
  year =	{2019},
  volume =	{137},
  editor =	{Amir Shpilka},
  publisher =	{Schloss Dagstuhl--Leibniz-Zentrum fuer Informatik},
  address =	{Dagstuhl, Germany},
  URL =		{http://drops.dagstuhl.de/opus/volltexte/2019/10852},
  URN =		{urn:nbn:de:0030-drops-108525},
  doi =		{10.4230/LIPIcs.CCC.2019.30},
  annote =	{Keywords: Karp-Lipton Theorems, Circuit Lower Bounds, Derandomization, Hardness Magnification}
}

Keywords: Karp-Lipton Theorems, Circuit Lower Bounds, Derandomization, Hardness Magnification
Seminar: 34th Computational Complexity Conference (CCC 2019)
Issue date: 2019
Date of publication: 2019


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