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

A frontier open problem in circuit complexity is to prove P^{NP} is not in SIZE[n^k] for all k; this is a necessary intermediate step towards NP is not in P_{/poly}. Previously, for several classes containing P^{NP}, including NP^{NP}, ZPP^{NP}, and S_2 P, such lower bounds have been proved via Karp-Lipton-style Theorems: to prove C is not in SIZE[n^k] for all k, we show that C subset P_{/poly} implies a "collapse" D = C for some larger class D, where we already know D is not in SIZE[n^k] for all k.
It seems obvious that one could take a different approach to prove circuit lower bounds for P^{NP} that does not require proving any Karp-Lipton-style theorems along the way. We show this intuition is wrong: (weak) Karp-Lipton-style theorems for P^{NP} are equivalent to fixed-polynomial size circuit lower bounds for P^{NP}. That is, P^{NP} is not in SIZE[n^k] for all k if and only if (NP subset P_{/poly} implies PH subset i.o.- P^{NP}_{/n}).
Next, we present new consequences of the assumption NP subset P_{/poly}, towards proving similar results for NP circuit lower bounds. We show that under the assumption, fixed-polynomial circuit lower bounds for NP, nondeterministic polynomial-time derandomizations, and various fixed-polynomial time simulations of NP are all equivalent. Applying this equivalence, we show that circuit lower bounds for NP imply better Karp-Lipton collapses. That is, if NP is not in SIZE[n^k] for all k, then for all C in {Parity-P, PP, PSPACE, EXP}, C subset P_{/poly} implies C subset i.o.-NP_{/n^epsilon} for all epsilon > 0. Note that unconditionally, the collapses are only to MA and not NP.
We also explore consequences of circuit lower bounds for a sparse language in NP. Among other results, we show if a polynomially-sparse NP language does not have n^{1+epsilon}-size circuits, then MA subset i.o.-NP_{/O(log n)}, MA subset i.o.-P^{NP[O(log n)]}, and NEXP is not in SIZE[2^{o(m)}]. Finally, we observe connections between these results and the "hardness magnification" phenomena described in recent works.

Lijie Chen, Dylan M. McKay, Cody D. Murray, and R. Ryan Williams. Relations and Equivalences Between Circuit Lower Bounds and Karp-Lipton Theorems. In 34th Computational Complexity Conference (CCC 2019). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 137, pp. 30:1-30:21, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2019)

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@InProceedings{chen_et_al:LIPIcs.CCC.2019.30, author = {Chen, Lijie and McKay, Dylan M. and Murray, Cody D. and Williams, R. Ryan}, title = {{Relations and Equivalences Between Circuit Lower Bounds and Karp-Lipton Theorems}}, booktitle = {34th Computational Complexity Conference (CCC 2019)}, pages = {30:1--30:21}, 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.2019.30}, URN = {urn:nbn:de:0030-drops-108525}, doi = {10.4230/LIPIcs.CCC.2019.30}, annote = {Keywords: Karp-Lipton Theorems, Circuit Lower Bounds, Derandomization, Hardness Magnification} }

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**Published in:** LIPIcs, Volume 79, 32nd Computational Complexity Conference (CCC 2017)

We present new consequences of the assumption that time-bounded algorithms can be "compressed" with non-uniform circuits. Our main contribution is an "easiness amplification" lemma for circuits. One instantiation of the lemma says: if n^{1+e}-time, tilde{O}(n)-space computations have n^{1+o(1)} size (non-uniform) circuits for some e > 0, then every problem solvable in polynomial time and tilde{O}(n) space has n^{1+o(1)} size (non-uniform) circuits as well. This amplification has several consequences:
* An easy problem without small LOGSPACE-uniform circuits. For all e > 0, we give a natural decision problem, General Circuit n^e-Composition, that is solvable in about n^{1+e} time, but we prove that polynomial-time and logarithmic-space preprocessing cannot produce n^{1+o(1)}-size circuits for the problem. This shows that there are problems solvable in n^{1+e} time which are not in LOGSPACE-uniform n^{1+o(1)} size, the first result of its kind. We show that our lower bound is non-relativizing, by exhibiting an oracle relative to which the result is false.
* Problems without low-depth LOGSPACE-uniform circuits. For all e > 0, 1 < d < 2, and e < d we give another natural circuit composition problem computable in tilde{O}(n^{1+e}) time, or in O((log n)^d) space (though not necessarily simultaneously) that we prove does not have SPACE[(log n)^e]-uniform circuits of tilde{O}(n) size and O((log n)^e) depth. We also show SAT does not have circuits of tilde{O}(n) size and log^{2-o(1)}(n) depth that can be constructed in log^{2-o(1)}(n) space.
* A strong circuit complexity amplification. For every e > 0, we give a natural circuit composition problem and show that if it has tilde{O}(n)-size circuits (uniform or not), then every problem solvable in 2^{O(n)} time and 2^{O(sqrt{n log n})} space (simultaneously) has 2^{O(sqrt{n log n})}-size circuits (uniform or not). We also show the same consequence holds assuming SAT has tilde{O}(n)-size circuits. As a corollary, if n^{1.1} time computations (or O(n) nondeterministic time computations) have tilde{O}(n)-size circuits, then all problems in exponential time and subexponential space (such as quantified Boolean formulas) have significantly subexponential-size circuits. This is a new connection between the relative circuit complexities of easy and hard problems.

Cody D. Murray and R. Ryan Williams. Easiness Amplification and Uniform Circuit Lower Bounds. In 32nd Computational Complexity Conference (CCC 2017). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 79, pp. 8:1-8:21, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2017)

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@InProceedings{murray_et_al:LIPIcs.CCC.2017.8, author = {Murray, Cody D. and Williams, R. Ryan}, title = {{Easiness Amplification and Uniform Circuit Lower Bounds}}, booktitle = {32nd Computational Complexity Conference (CCC 2017)}, pages = {8:1--8:21}, series = {Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs)}, ISBN = {978-3-95977-040-8}, ISSN = {1868-8969}, year = {2017}, volume = {79}, editor = {O'Donnell, Ryan}, publisher = {Schloss Dagstuhl -- Leibniz-Zentrum f{\"u}r Informatik}, address = {Dagstuhl, Germany}, URL = {https://drops.dagstuhl.de/entities/document/10.4230/LIPIcs.CCC.2017.8}, URN = {urn:nbn:de:0030-drops-75421}, doi = {10.4230/LIPIcs.CCC.2017.8}, annote = {Keywords: uniform circuit complexity, time complexity, space complexity, non-relativizing, amplification} }

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**Published in:** LIPIcs, Volume 33, 30th Conference on Computational Complexity (CCC 2015)

The Minimum Circuit Size Problem (MCSP) is: given the truth table of a Boolean function f and a size parameter k, is the circuit complexity of f at most k? This is the definitive problem of circuit synthesis, and it has been studied since the 1950s. Unlike many problems of its kind, MCSP is not known to be NP-hard, yet an efficient algorithm for this problem also seems very unlikely: for example, MCSP in P would imply there are no pseudorandom functions.
Although most NP-complete problems are complete under strong "local" reduction notions such as poly-logarithmic time projections, we show that MCSP is provably not NP-hard under O(n^(1/2-epsilon))-time projections, for every epsilon > 0. We prove that the NP-hardness of MCSP under (logtime-uniform) AC0 reductions would imply extremely strong lower bounds: NP \not\subset P/poly and E \not\subset i.o.-SIZE(2^(delta * n)) for some delta > 0 (hence P = BPP also follows). We show that even the NP-hardness of MCSP under general polynomial-time reductions would separate complexity classes: EXP != NP \cap P/poly, which implies EXP != ZPP. These results help explain why it has been so difficult to prove that MCSP is NP-hard.
We also consider the nondeterministic generalization of MCSP: the Nondeterministic Minimum Circuit Size Problem (NMCSP), where one wishes to compute the nondeterministic circuit complexity of a given function. We prove that the Sigma_2 P-hardness of NMCSP, even under arbitrary polynomial-time reductions, would imply EXP \not\subset P/poly.

Cody D. Murray and R. Ryan Williams. On the (Non) NP-Hardness of Computing Circuit Complexity. In 30th Conference on Computational Complexity (CCC 2015). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 33, pp. 365-380, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2015)

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@InProceedings{murray_et_al:LIPIcs.CCC.2015.365, author = {Murray, Cody D. and Williams, R. Ryan}, title = {{On the (Non) NP-Hardness of Computing Circuit Complexity}}, booktitle = {30th Conference on Computational Complexity (CCC 2015)}, pages = {365--380}, series = {Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs)}, ISBN = {978-3-939897-81-1}, ISSN = {1868-8969}, year = {2015}, volume = {33}, editor = {Zuckerman, David}, publisher = {Schloss Dagstuhl -- Leibniz-Zentrum f{\"u}r Informatik}, address = {Dagstuhl, Germany}, URL = {https://drops.dagstuhl.de/entities/document/10.4230/LIPIcs.CCC.2015.365}, URN = {urn:nbn:de:0030-drops-50745}, doi = {10.4230/LIPIcs.CCC.2015.365}, annote = {Keywords: circuit lower bounds, Minimum Circuit Size Problem, NP-completeness, projections, Reductions} }