Proof Complexity Modulo the Polynomial Hierarchy: Understanding Alternation as a Source of Hardness

Author Hubie Chen

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Hubie Chen

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Hubie Chen. Proof Complexity Modulo the Polynomial Hierarchy: Understanding Alternation as a Source of Hardness. In 43rd International Colloquium on Automata, Languages, and Programming (ICALP 2016). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 55, pp. 94:1-94:14, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2016)


We present and study a framework in which one can present alternation-based lower bounds on proof length in proof systems for quantified Boolean formulas. A key notion in this framework is that of proof system ensemble, which is (essentially) a sequence of proof systems where, for each, proof checking can be performed in the polynomial hierarchy. We introduce a proof system ensemble called relaxing QU-res which is based on the established proof system QU-resolution. Our main results include an exponential separation of the tree-like and general versions of relaxing QU-res, and an exponential lower bound for relaxing QU-res; these are analogs of classical results in propositional proof complexity.
  • proof complexity
  • polynomial hierarchy
  • quantified propositional logic


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