On the Limits of Gate Elimination

Authors Alexander Golovnev, Edward A. Hirsch, Alexander Knop, Alexander S. Kulikov

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Alexander Golovnev
Edward A. Hirsch
Alexander Knop
Alexander S. Kulikov

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Alexander Golovnev, Edward A. Hirsch, Alexander Knop, and Alexander S. Kulikov. On the Limits of Gate Elimination. In 41st International Symposium on Mathematical Foundations of Computer Science (MFCS 2016). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 58, pp. 46:1-46:13, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2016)


Although a simple counting argument shows the existence of Boolean functions of exponential circuit complexity, proving superlinear circuit lower bounds for explicit functions seems to be out of reach of the current techniques. There has been a (very slow) progress in proving linear lower bounds with the latest record of 3 1/86*n-o(n). All known lower bounds are based on the so-called gate elimination technique. A typical gate elimination argument shows that it is possible to eliminate several gates from an optimal circuit by making one or several substitutions to the input variables and repeats this inductively. In this note we prove that this method cannot achieve linear bounds of cn beyond a certain constant c, where c depends only on the number of substitutions made at a single step of the induction.
  • circuit complexity
  • lower bounds
  • gate elimination


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