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**Published in:** LIPIcs, Volume 234, 37th Computational Complexity Conference (CCC 2022)

We construct improved hitting set generators (HSGs) for ordered (read-once) regular branching programs in two parameter regimes. First, we construct an explicit ε-HSG for unbounded-width regular branching programs with a single accept state with seed length Õ(log n ⋅ log(1/ε)), where n is the length of the program. Second, we construct an explicit ε-HSG for width-w length-n regular branching programs with seed length Õ(log n ⋅ (√{log(1/ε)} + log w) + log(1/ε)). For context, the "baseline" in this area is the pseudorandom generator (PRG) by Nisan (Combinatorica 1992), which fools ordered (possibly non-regular) branching programs with seed length O(log(wn/ε) ⋅ log n). For regular programs, the state-of-the-art PRG, by Braverman, Rao, Raz, and Yehudayoff (FOCS 2010, SICOMP 2014), has seed length Õ(log(w/ε) ⋅ log n), which beats Nisan’s seed length when log(w/ε) = o(log n). Taken together, our two new constructions beat Nisan’s seed length in all parameter regimes except when log w and log(1/ε) are both Ω(log n) (for the construction of HSGs for regular branching programs with a single accept vertex).
Extending work by Reingold, Trevisan, and Vadhan (STOC 2006), we furthermore show that an explicit HSG for regular branching programs with a single accept vertex with seed length o(log² n) in the regime log w = Θ(log(1/ε)) = Θ(log n) would imply improved HSGs for general ordered branching programs, which would be a major breakthrough in derandomization. Pyne and Vadhan (CCC 2021) recently obtained such parameters for the special case of permutation branching programs.

Andrej Bogdanov, William M. Hoza, Gautam Prakriya, and Edward Pyne. Hitting Sets for Regular Branching Programs. In 37th Computational Complexity Conference (CCC 2022). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 234, pp. 3:1-3:22, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2022)

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@InProceedings{bogdanov_et_al:LIPIcs.CCC.2022.3, author = {Bogdanov, Andrej and Hoza, William M. and Prakriya, Gautam and Pyne, Edward}, title = {{Hitting Sets for Regular Branching Programs}}, booktitle = {37th Computational Complexity Conference (CCC 2022)}, pages = {3:1--3:22}, series = {Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs)}, ISBN = {978-3-95977-241-9}, ISSN = {1868-8969}, year = {2022}, volume = {234}, editor = {Lovett, Shachar}, publisher = {Schloss Dagstuhl -- Leibniz-Zentrum f{\"u}r Informatik}, address = {Dagstuhl, Germany}, URL = {https://drops.dagstuhl.de/entities/document/10.4230/LIPIcs.CCC.2022.3}, URN = {urn:nbn:de:0030-drops-165658}, doi = {10.4230/LIPIcs.CCC.2022.3}, annote = {Keywords: Pseudorandomness, hitting set generators, space-bounded computation} }

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RANDOM

**Published in:** LIPIcs, Volume 207, Approximation, Randomization, and Combinatorial Optimization. Algorithms and Techniques (APPROX/RANDOM 2021)

Three decades ago, Nisan constructed an explicit pseudorandom generator (PRG) that fools width-n length-n read-once branching programs (ROBPs) with error ε and seed length O(log² n + log n ⋅ log(1/ε)) [Nisan, 1992]. Nisan’s generator remains the best explicit PRG known for this important model of computation. However, a recent line of work starting with Braverman, Cohen, and Garg [Braverman et al., 2020; Chattopadhyay and Liao, 2020; Cohen et al., 2021; Pyne and Vadhan, 2021] has shown how to construct weighted pseudorandom generators (WPRGs, aka pseudorandom pseudodistribution generators) with better seed lengths than Nisan’s generator when the error parameter ε is small.
In this work, we present an explicit WPRG for width-n length-n ROBPs with seed length O(log² n + log(1/ε)). Our seed length eliminates log log factors from prior constructions, and our generator completes this line of research in the sense that further improvements would require beating Nisan’s generator in the standard constant-error regime. Our technique is a variation of a recently-discovered reduction that converts moderate-error PRGs into low-error WPRGs [Cohen et al., 2021; Pyne and Vadhan, 2021]. Our version of the reduction uses averaging samplers.
We also point out that as a consequence of the recent work on WPRGs, any randomized space-S decision algorithm can be simulated deterministically in space O (S^{3/2} / √{log S}). This is a slight improvement over Saks and Zhou’s celebrated O(S^{3/2}) bound [Saks and Zhou, 1999]. For this application, our improved WPRG is not necessary.

William M. Hoza. Better Pseudodistributions and Derandomization for Space-Bounded Computation. In Approximation, Randomization, and Combinatorial Optimization. Algorithms and Techniques (APPROX/RANDOM 2021). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 207, pp. 28:1-28:23, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2021)

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@InProceedings{hoza:LIPIcs.APPROX/RANDOM.2021.28, author = {Hoza, William M.}, title = {{Better Pseudodistributions and Derandomization for Space-Bounded Computation}}, booktitle = {Approximation, Randomization, and Combinatorial Optimization. Algorithms and Techniques (APPROX/RANDOM 2021)}, pages = {28:1--28:23}, series = {Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs)}, ISBN = {978-3-95977-207-5}, ISSN = {1868-8969}, year = {2021}, volume = {207}, editor = {Wootters, Mary and Sanit\`{a}, Laura}, publisher = {Schloss Dagstuhl -- Leibniz-Zentrum f{\"u}r Informatik}, address = {Dagstuhl, Germany}, URL = {https://drops.dagstuhl.de/entities/document/10.4230/LIPIcs.APPROX/RANDOM.2021.28}, URN = {urn:nbn:de:0030-drops-147217}, doi = {10.4230/LIPIcs.APPROX/RANDOM.2021.28}, annote = {Keywords: Weighted pseudorandom generator, pseudorandom pseudodistribution, read-once branching program, derandomization, space complexity} }

Document

**Published in:** LIPIcs, Volume 185, 12th Innovations in Theoretical Computer Science Conference (ITCS 2021)

We prove that the Impagliazzo-Nisan-Wigderson [Impagliazzo et al., 1994] pseudorandom generator (PRG) fools ordered (read-once) permutation branching programs of unbounded width with a seed length of Õ(log d + log n ⋅ log(1/ε)), assuming the program has only one accepting vertex in the final layer. Here, n is the length of the program, d is the degree (equivalently, the alphabet size), and ε is the error of the PRG. In contrast, we show that a randomly chosen generator requires seed length Ω(n log d) to fool such unbounded-width programs. Thus, this is an unusual case where an explicit construction is "better than random."
Except when the program’s width w is very small, this is an improvement over prior work. For example, when w = poly(n) and d = 2, the best prior PRG for permutation branching programs was simply Nisan’s PRG [Nisan, 1992], which fools general ordered branching programs with seed length O(log(wn/ε) log n). We prove a seed length lower bound of Ω̃(log d + log n ⋅ log(1/ε)) for fooling these unbounded-width programs, showing that our seed length is near-optimal. In fact, when ε ≤ 1/log n, our seed length is within a constant factor of optimal. Our analysis of the INW generator uses the connection between the PRG and the derandomized square of Rozenman and Vadhan [Rozenman and Vadhan, 2005] and the recent analysis of the latter in terms of unit-circle approximation by Ahmadinejad et al. [Ahmadinejad et al., 2020].

William M. Hoza, Edward Pyne, and Salil Vadhan. Pseudorandom Generators for Unbounded-Width Permutation Branching Programs. In 12th Innovations in Theoretical Computer Science Conference (ITCS 2021). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 185, pp. 7:1-7:20, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2021)

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@InProceedings{hoza_et_al:LIPIcs.ITCS.2021.7, author = {Hoza, William M. and Pyne, Edward and Vadhan, Salil}, title = {{Pseudorandom Generators for Unbounded-Width Permutation Branching Programs}}, booktitle = {12th Innovations in Theoretical Computer Science Conference (ITCS 2021)}, pages = {7:1--7:20}, series = {Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs)}, ISBN = {978-3-95977-177-1}, ISSN = {1868-8969}, year = {2021}, volume = {185}, editor = {Lee, James R.}, publisher = {Schloss Dagstuhl -- Leibniz-Zentrum f{\"u}r Informatik}, address = {Dagstuhl, Germany}, URL = {https://drops.dagstuhl.de/entities/document/10.4230/LIPIcs.ITCS.2021.7}, URN = {urn:nbn:de:0030-drops-135464}, doi = {10.4230/LIPIcs.ITCS.2021.7}, annote = {Keywords: Pseudorandom generators, permutation branching programs} }

Document

**Published in:** LIPIcs, Volume 169, 35th Computational Complexity Conference (CCC 2020)

There are only a few known general approaches for constructing explicit pseudorandom generators (PRGs). The "iterated restrictions" approach, pioneered by Ajtai and Wigderson [Ajtai and Wigderson, 1989], has provided PRGs with seed length polylog n or even Õ(log n) for several restricted models of computation. Can this approach ever achieve the optimal seed length of O(log n)?
In this work, we answer this question in the affirmative. Using the iterated restrictions approach, we construct an explicit PRG for read-once depth-2 AC⁰[⊕] formulas with seed length O(log n) + Õ(log(1/ε)). In particular, we achieve optimal seed length O(log n) with near-optimal error ε = exp(-Ω̃(log n)). Even for constant error, the best prior PRG for this model (which includes read-once CNFs and read-once 𝔽₂-polynomials) has seed length Θ(log n ⋅ (log log n)²) [Chin Ho Lee, 2019].
A key step in the analysis of our PRG is a tail bound for subset-wise symmetric polynomials, a generalization of elementary symmetric polynomials. Like elementary symmetric polynomials, subset-wise symmetric polynomials provide a way to organize the expansion of ∏_{i=1}^m (1 + y_i). Elementary symmetric polynomials simply organize the terms by degree, i.e., they keep track of the number of variables participating in each monomial. Subset-wise symmetric polynomials keep track of more data: for a fixed partition of [m], they keep track of the number of variables from each subset participating in each monomial. Our tail bound extends prior work by Gopalan and Yehudayoff [Gopalan and Yehudayoff, 2014] on elementary symmetric polynomials.

Dean Doron, Pooya Hatami, and William M. Hoza. Log-Seed Pseudorandom Generators via Iterated Restrictions. In 35th Computational Complexity Conference (CCC 2020). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 169, pp. 6:1-6:36, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2020)

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@InProceedings{doron_et_al:LIPIcs.CCC.2020.6, author = {Doron, Dean and Hatami, Pooya and Hoza, William M.}, title = {{Log-Seed Pseudorandom Generators via Iterated Restrictions}}, booktitle = {35th Computational Complexity Conference (CCC 2020)}, pages = {6:1--6:36}, series = {Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs)}, ISBN = {978-3-95977-156-6}, ISSN = {1868-8969}, year = {2020}, volume = {169}, editor = {Saraf, Shubhangi}, publisher = {Schloss Dagstuhl -- Leibniz-Zentrum f{\"u}r Informatik}, address = {Dagstuhl, Germany}, URL = {https://drops.dagstuhl.de/entities/document/10.4230/LIPIcs.CCC.2020.6}, URN = {urn:nbn:de:0030-drops-125586}, doi = {10.4230/LIPIcs.CCC.2020.6}, annote = {Keywords: Pseudorandom generators, Pseudorandom restrictions, Read-once depth-2 formulas, Parity gates} }

Document

**Published in:** LIPIcs, Volume 169, 35th Computational Complexity Conference (CCC 2020)

A hitting set is a "one-sided" variant of a pseudorandom generator (PRG), naturally suited to derandomizing algorithms that have one-sided error. We study the problem of using a given hitting set to derandomize algorithms that have two-sided error, focusing on space-bounded algorithms. For our first result, we show that if there is a log-space hitting set for polynomial-width read-once branching programs (ROBPs), then not only does 𝐋 = 𝐑𝐋, but 𝐋 = 𝐁𝐏𝐋 as well. This answers a question raised by Hoza and Zuckerman [William M. Hoza and David Zuckerman, 2018].
Next, we consider constant-width ROBPs. We show that if there are log-space hitting sets for constant-width ROBPs, then given black-box access to a constant-width ROBP f, it is possible to deterministically estimate 𝔼[f] to within ± ε in space O(log(n/ε)). Unconditionally, we give a deterministic algorithm for this problem with space complexity O(log² n + log(1/ε)), slightly improving over previous work.
Finally, we investigate the limits of this line of work. Perhaps the strongest reduction along these lines one could hope for would say that for every explicit hitting set, there is an explicit PRG with similar parameters. In the setting of constant-width ROBPs over a large alphabet, we prove that establishing such a strong reduction is at least as difficult as constructing a good PRG outright. Quantitatively, we prove that if the strong reduction holds, then for every constant α > 0, there is an explicit PRG for constant-width ROBPs with seed length O(log^{1 + α} n). Along the way, unconditionally, we construct an improved hitting set for ROBPs over a large alphabet.

Kuan Cheng and William M. Hoza. Hitting Sets Give Two-Sided Derandomization of Small Space. In 35th Computational Complexity Conference (CCC 2020). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 169, pp. 10:1-10:25, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2020)

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@InProceedings{cheng_et_al:LIPIcs.CCC.2020.10, author = {Cheng, Kuan and Hoza, William M.}, title = {{Hitting Sets Give Two-Sided Derandomization of Small Space}}, booktitle = {35th Computational Complexity Conference (CCC 2020)}, pages = {10:1--10:25}, series = {Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs)}, ISBN = {978-3-95977-156-6}, ISSN = {1868-8969}, year = {2020}, volume = {169}, editor = {Saraf, Shubhangi}, publisher = {Schloss Dagstuhl -- Leibniz-Zentrum f{\"u}r Informatik}, address = {Dagstuhl, Germany}, URL = {https://drops.dagstuhl.de/entities/document/10.4230/LIPIcs.CCC.2020.10}, URN = {urn:nbn:de:0030-drops-125625}, doi = {10.4230/LIPIcs.CCC.2020.10}, annote = {Keywords: hitting sets, derandomization, read-once branching programs} }

Document

**Published in:** LIPIcs, Volume 137, 34th Computational Complexity Conference (CCC 2019)

Suppose a language L can be decided by a bounded-error randomized algorithm that runs in space S and time n * poly(S). We give a randomized algorithm for L that still runs in space O(S) and time n * poly(S) that uses only O(S) random bits; our algorithm has a low failure probability on all but a negligible fraction of inputs of each length. As an immediate corollary, there is a deterministic algorithm for L that runs in space O(S) and succeeds on all but a negligible fraction of inputs of each length. We also give several other complexity-theoretic applications of our technique.

William M. Hoza. Typically-Correct Derandomization for Small Time and Space. In 34th Computational Complexity Conference (CCC 2019). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 137, pp. 9:1-9:39, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2019)

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@InProceedings{hoza:LIPIcs.CCC.2019.9, author = {Hoza, William M.}, title = {{Typically-Correct Derandomization for Small Time and Space}}, booktitle = {34th Computational Complexity Conference (CCC 2019)}, pages = {9:1--9:39}, series = {Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs)}, ISBN = {978-3-95977-116-0}, ISSN = {1868-8969}, year = {2019}, volume = {137}, editor = {Shpilka, Amir}, publisher = {Schloss Dagstuhl -- Leibniz-Zentrum f{\"u}r Informatik}, address = {Dagstuhl, Germany}, URL = {https://drops.dagstuhl.de/entities/document/10.4230/LIPIcs.CCC.2019.9}, URN = {urn:nbn:de:0030-drops-108317}, doi = {10.4230/LIPIcs.CCC.2019.9}, annote = {Keywords: Derandomization, pseudorandomness, space complexity} }

Document

**Published in:** LIPIcs, Volume 137, 34th Computational Complexity Conference (CCC 2019)

We give an explicit pseudorandom generator (PRG) for read-once AC^0, i.e., constant-depth read-once formulas over the basis {wedge, vee, neg} with unbounded fan-in. The seed length of our PRG is O~(log(n/epsilon)). Previously, PRGs with near-optimal seed length were known only for the depth-2 case [Gopalan et al., 2012]. For a constant depth d > 2, the best prior PRG is a recent construction by Forbes and Kelley with seed length O~(log^2 n + log n log(1/epsilon)) for the more general model of constant-width read-once branching programs with arbitrary variable order [Michael A. Forbes and Zander Kelley, 2018]. Looking beyond read-once AC^0, we also show that our PRG fools read-once AC^0[oplus] with seed length O~(t + log(n/epsilon)), where t is the number of parity gates in the formula.
Our construction follows Ajtai and Wigderson’s approach of iterated pseudorandom restrictions [Ajtai and Wigderson, 1989]. We assume by recursion that we already have a PRG for depth-d AC^0 formulas. To fool depth-(d + 1) AC^0 formulas, we use the given PRG, combined with a small-bias distribution and almost k-wise independence, to sample a pseudorandom restriction. The analysis of Forbes and Kelley [Michael A. Forbes and Zander Kelley, 2018] shows that our restriction approximately preserves the expectation of the formula. The crux of our work is showing that after poly(log log n) independent applications of our pseudorandom restriction, the formula simplifies in the sense that every gate other than the output has only polylog n remaining children. Finally, as the last step, we use a recent PRG by Meka, Reingold, and Tal [Meka et al., 2019] to fool this simpler formula.

Dean Doron, Pooya Hatami, and William M. Hoza. Near-Optimal Pseudorandom Generators for Constant-Depth Read-Once Formulas. In 34th Computational Complexity Conference (CCC 2019). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 137, pp. 16:1-16:34, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2019)

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@InProceedings{doron_et_al:LIPIcs.CCC.2019.16, author = {Doron, Dean and Hatami, Pooya and Hoza, William M.}, title = {{Near-Optimal Pseudorandom Generators for Constant-Depth Read-Once Formulas}}, booktitle = {34th Computational Complexity Conference (CCC 2019)}, pages = {16:1--16:34}, series = {Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs)}, ISBN = {978-3-95977-116-0}, ISSN = {1868-8969}, year = {2019}, volume = {137}, editor = {Shpilka, Amir}, publisher = {Schloss Dagstuhl -- Leibniz-Zentrum f{\"u}r Informatik}, address = {Dagstuhl, Germany}, URL = {https://drops.dagstuhl.de/entities/document/10.4230/LIPIcs.CCC.2019.16}, URN = {urn:nbn:de:0030-drops-108382}, doi = {10.4230/LIPIcs.CCC.2019.16}, annote = {Keywords: Pseudorandom generators, Constant-depth formulas, Explicit constructions} }

Document

**Published in:** LIPIcs, Volume 116, Approximation, Randomization, and Combinatorial Optimization. Algorithms and Techniques (APPROX/RANDOM 2018)

Suppose Est is a randomized estimation algorithm that uses n random bits and outputs values in R^d. We show how to execute Est on k adaptively chosen inputs using only n + O(k log(d + 1)) random bits instead of the trivial nk (at the cost of mild increases in the error and failure probability). Our algorithm combines a variant of the INW pseudorandom generator [Impagliazzo et al., 1994] with a new scheme for shifting and rounding the outputs of Est. We prove that modifying the outputs of Est is necessary in this setting, and furthermore, our algorithm's randomness complexity is near-optimal in the case d <= O(1). As an application, we give a randomness-efficient version of the Goldreich-Levin algorithm; our algorithm finds all Fourier coefficients with absolute value at least theta of a function F: {0, 1}^n -> {-1, 1} using O(n log n) * poly(1/theta) queries to F and O(n) random bits (independent of theta), improving previous work by Bshouty et al. [Bshouty et al., 2004].

William M. Hoza and Adam R. Klivans. Preserving Randomness for Adaptive Algorithms. In Approximation, Randomization, and Combinatorial Optimization. Algorithms and Techniques (APPROX/RANDOM 2018). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 116, pp. 43:1-43:19, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2018)

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@InProceedings{hoza_et_al:LIPIcs.APPROX-RANDOM.2018.43, author = {Hoza, William M. and Klivans, Adam R.}, title = {{Preserving Randomness for Adaptive Algorithms}}, booktitle = {Approximation, Randomization, and Combinatorial Optimization. Algorithms and Techniques (APPROX/RANDOM 2018)}, pages = {43:1--43:19}, series = {Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs)}, ISBN = {978-3-95977-085-9}, ISSN = {1868-8969}, year = {2018}, volume = {116}, editor = {Blais, Eric and Jansen, Klaus and D. P. Rolim, Jos\'{e} and Steurer, David}, publisher = {Schloss Dagstuhl -- Leibniz-Zentrum f{\"u}r Informatik}, address = {Dagstuhl, Germany}, URL = {https://drops.dagstuhl.de/entities/document/10.4230/LIPIcs.APPROX-RANDOM.2018.43}, URN = {urn:nbn:de:0030-drops-94477}, doi = {10.4230/LIPIcs.APPROX-RANDOM.2018.43}, annote = {Keywords: pseudorandomness, adaptivity, estimation} }

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