Stretching Demi-Bits and Nondeterministic-Secure Pseudorandomness

Authors Iddo Tzameret , Lu-Ming Zhang



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Iddo Tzameret
  • Department of Computing, Imperial College London, UK
Lu-Ming Zhang
  • Department of Mathematics, London School of Economic and Political Science, UK

Acknowledgements

We are indebted to Jan Pich who suggested looking at demi-bits and provided many clarifications regarding his work [J. Pich, 2020]. We are grateful to Rahul Santhanam for very useful discussions and specifically mentioning the potential application appearing in Theorem 28. Finally, we wish to thank Hanlin Ren for very useful comments on the manuscript as well as Oliver Korten and Yufeng Li for further discussions.

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Iddo Tzameret and Lu-Ming Zhang. Stretching Demi-Bits and Nondeterministic-Secure Pseudorandomness. In 15th Innovations in Theoretical Computer Science Conference (ITCS 2024). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 287, pp. 95:1-95:22, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2024)
https://doi.org/10.4230/LIPIcs.ITCS.2024.95

Abstract

We develop the theory of cryptographic nondeterministic-secure pseudorandomness beyond the point reached by Rudich’s original work [S. Rudich, 1997], and apply it to draw new consequences in average-case complexity and proof complexity. Specifically, we show the following: Demi-bit stretch: Super-bits and demi-bits are variants of cryptographic pseudorandom generators which are secure against nondeterministic statistical tests [S. Rudich, 1997]. They were introduced to rule out certain approaches to proving strong complexity lower bounds beyond the limitations set out by the Natural Proofs barrier of Razborov and Rudich [A. A. Razborov and S. Rudich, 1997]. Whether demi-bits are stretchable at all had been an open problem since their introduction. We answer this question affirmatively by showing that: every demi-bit b:{0,1}ⁿ → {0,1}^{n+1} can be stretched into sublinear many demi-bits b':{0,1}ⁿ → {0,1}^{n+n^{c}}, for every constant 0 < c < 1. Average-case hardness: Using work by Santhanam [Rahul Santhanam, 2020], we apply our results to obtain new average-case Kolmogorov complexity results: we show that K^{poly}[n-O(1)] is zero-error average-case hard against NP/poly machines iff K^{poly}[n-o(n)] is, where for a function s(n):ℕ → ℕ, K^{poly}[s(n)] denotes the languages of all strings x ∈ {0,1}ⁿ for which there are (fixed) polytime Turing machines of description-length at most s(n) that output x. Characterising super-bits by nondeterministic unpredictability: In the deterministic setting, Yao [Yao, 1982] proved that super-polynomial hardness of pseudorandom generators is equivalent to ("next-bit") unpredictability. Unpredictability roughly means that given any strict prefix of a random string, it is infeasible to predict the next bit. We initiate the study of unpredictability beyond the deterministic setting (in the cryptographic regime), and characterise the nondeterministic hardness of generators from an unpredictability perspective. Specifically, we propose four stronger notions of unpredictability: NP/poly-unpredictability, coNP/poly-unpredictability, ∩-unpredictability and ∪-unpredictability, and show that super-polynomial nondeterministic hardness of generators lies between ∩-unpredictability and ∪-unpredictability. Characterising super-bits by nondeterministic hard-core predicates: We introduce a nondeterministic variant of hard-core predicates, called super-core predicates. We show that the existence of a super-bit is equivalent to the existence of a super-core of some non-shrinking function. This serves as an analogue of the equivalence between the existence of a strong pseudorandom generator and the existence of a hard-core of some one-way function [Goldreich and Levin, 1989; Håstad et al., 1999], and provides a first alternative characterisation of super-bits. We also prove that a certain class of functions, which may have hard-cores, cannot possess any super-core.

Subject Classification

ACM Subject Classification
  • Theory of computation → Pseudorandomness and derandomization
  • Theory of computation → Computational complexity and cryptography
Keywords
  • Pseudorandomness
  • Cryptography
  • Natural Proofs
  • Nondeterminism
  • Lower bounds

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