DEEP-FRI: Sampling Outside the Box Improves Soundness

Authors Eli Ben-Sasson , Lior Goldberg, Swastik Kopparty, Shubhangi Saraf

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Eli Ben-Sasson
  • StarkWare Industries Ltd., Netanya, Israel
Lior Goldberg
  • StarkWare Industries Ltd., Netanya, Israel
Swastik Kopparty
  • StarkWare Industries Ltd., Netanya, Israel
Shubhangi Saraf
  • Department of Mathematics and Department of Computer Science, Rutgers University


We thank Rishabh Bhadauria for pointing out an omission in a previous version of the paper.

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Eli Ben-Sasson, Lior Goldberg, Swastik Kopparty, and Shubhangi Saraf. DEEP-FRI: Sampling Outside the Box Improves Soundness. In 11th Innovations in Theoretical Computer Science Conference (ITCS 2020). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 151, pp. 5:1-5:32, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2020)


Motivated by the quest for scalable and succinct zero knowledge arguments, we revisit worst-case-to-average-case reductions for linear spaces, raised by [Rothblum, Vadhan, Wigderson, STOC 2013]. The previous state of the art by [Ben-Sasson, Kopparty, Saraf, CCC 2018] showed that if some member of an affine space U is δ-far in relative Hamming distance from a linear code V - this is the worst-case assumption - then most elements of U are almost-δ-far from V - this is the average case. However, this result was known to hold only below the "double Johnson" function of the relative distance δ_V of the code V, i.e., only when δ < 1-(1-δ_V)^(1/4). First, we increase the soundness-bound to the "one-and-a-half Johnson" function of δ_V and show that the average distance of U from V is nearly δ for any worst-case distance δ smaller than 1-(1-δ_V)^(1/3). This bound is tight, which is somewhat surprising because the one-and-a-half Johnson function is unfamiliar in the literature on error correcting codes. To improve soundness further for Reed Solomon codes we sample outside the box. We suggest a new protocol in which the verifier samples a single point z outside the box D on which codewords are evaluated, and asks the prover for the value at z of the interpolating polynomial of a random element of U. Intuitively, the answer provided by the prover "forces" it to choose one codeword from a list of "pretenders" that are close to U. We call this technique Domain Extending for Eliminating Pretenders (DEEP). The DEEP method improves the soundness of the worst-case-to-average-case reduction for RS codes up their list decoding radius. This radius is bounded from below by the Johnson bound, implying average distance is approximately δ for all δ < 1-(1-δ_V)^(1/2). Under a plausible conjecture about the list decoding radius of Reed-Solomon codes, average distance from V is approximately δ for all δ. The DEEP technique can be generalized to all linear codes, giving improved reductions for capacity-achieving list-decodable codes. Finally, we use the DEEP technique to devise two new protocols: - An Interactive Oracle Proof of Proximity (IOPP) for RS codes, called DEEP-FRI. The soundness of the protocol improves upon that of the FRI protocol of [Ben-Sasson et al., ICALP 2018] while retaining linear arithmetic proving complexity and logarithmic verifier arithmetic complexity. - An Interactive Oracle Proof (IOP) for the Algebraic Linking IOP (ALI) protocol used to construct zero knowledge scalable transparent arguments of knowledge (ZK-STARKs) in [Ben-Sasson et al., eprint 2018]. The new protocol, called DEEP-ALI, improves soundness of this crucial step from a small constant < 1/8 to a constant arbitrarily close to 1.

Subject Classification

ACM Subject Classification
  • Theory of computation → Interactive proof systems
  • Mathematics of computing → Coding theory
  • Interactive Oracle Proofs of Proximity
  • Low Degree Testing


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