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**Published in:** LIPIcs, Volume 300, 39th Computational Complexity Conference (CCC 2024)

Motivated by the fact that input distributions are often unknown in advance, distribution-free property testing considers a setting in which the algorithmic task is to accept functions f: [n] → {0,1} having a certain property Π and reject functions that are ε-far from Π, where the distance is measured according to an arbitrary and unknown input distribution 𝒟 ∼ [n]. As usual in property testing, the tester is required to do so while making only a sublinear number of input queries, but as the distribution is unknown, we also allow a sublinear number of samples from the distribution 𝒟.
In this work we initiate the study of distribution-free interactive proofs of proximity (df-IPPs) in which the distribution-free testing algorithm is assisted by an all powerful but untrusted prover. Our main result is that for any problem Π ∈ NC, any proximity parameter ε > 0, and any (trade-off) parameter τ ≤ √n, we construct a df-IPP for Π with respect to ε, that has query and sample complexities τ+O(1/ε), and communication complexity Õ(n/τ + 1/ε). For τ as above and sufficiently large ε (namely, when ε > τ/n), this result matches the parameters of the best-known general purpose IPPs in the standard uniform setting. Moreover, for such τ, its parameters are optimal up to poly-logarithmic factors under reasonable cryptographic assumptions for the same regime of ε as the uniform setting, i.e., when ε ≥ 1/τ.
For smaller values of ε (i.e., when ε < τ/n), our protocol has communication complexity Ω(1/ε), which is worse than the Õ(n/τ) communication complexity of the uniform IPPs (with the same query complexity). With the aim of improving on this gap, we further show that for IPPs over specialised, but large distribution families, such as sufficiently smooth distributions and product distributions, the communication complexity can be reduced to Õ(n/τ^{1-o(1)}). In addition, we show that for certain natural families of languages, such as symmetric and (relaxed) self-correctable languages, it is possible to further improve the efficiency of distribution-free IPPs.

Hugo Aaronson, Tom Gur, Ninad Rajgopal, and Ron D. Rothblum. Distribution-Free Proofs of Proximity. In 39th Computational Complexity Conference (CCC 2024). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 300, pp. 24:1-24:18, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2024)

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@InProceedings{aaronson_et_al:LIPIcs.CCC.2024.24, author = {Aaronson, Hugo and Gur, Tom and Rajgopal, Ninad and Rothblum, Ron D.}, title = {{Distribution-Free Proofs of Proximity}}, booktitle = {39th Computational Complexity Conference (CCC 2024)}, pages = {24:1--24:18}, series = {Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs)}, ISBN = {978-3-95977-331-7}, ISSN = {1868-8969}, year = {2024}, volume = {300}, editor = {Santhanam, Rahul}, publisher = {Schloss Dagstuhl -- Leibniz-Zentrum f{\"u}r Informatik}, address = {Dagstuhl, Germany}, URL = {https://drops.dagstuhl.de/entities/document/10.4230/LIPIcs.CCC.2024.24}, URN = {urn:nbn:de:0030-drops-204204}, doi = {10.4230/LIPIcs.CCC.2024.24}, annote = {Keywords: Property Testing, Interactive Proofs, Distribution-Free Property Testing} }

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RANDOM

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

Motivated by the goal of showing stronger structural results about the complexity of learning, we study the learnability of strong concept classes beyond P/poly, such as PSPACE/poly and EXP/poly. We show the following:
1) (Unconditional Lower Bounds for Learning) Building on [Adam R. Klivans et al., 2013], we prove unconditionally that BPE/poly cannot be weakly learned in polynomial time over the uniform distribution, even with membership and equivalence queries.
2) (Robustness of Learning) For the concept classes EXP/poly and PSPACE/poly, we show unconditionally that worst-case and average-case learning are equivalent, that PAC-learnability and learnability over the uniform distribution are equivalent, and that membership queries do not help in either case.
3) (Reducing Succinct Search to Decision for Learning) For the decision problems R_{Kt} and R_{KS} capturing the complexity of learning EXP/poly and PSPACE/poly respectively, we show a succinct search to decision reduction: for each of these problems, the problem is in BPP iff there is a probabilistic polynomial-time algorithm computing circuits encoding proofs for positive instances of the problem. This is shown via a more general result giving succinct search to decision results for PSPACE, EXP and NEXP, which might be of independent interest.
4) (Implausibility of Oblivious Strongly Black-Box Reductions showing NP-hardness of learning NP/poly) We define a natural notion of hardness of learning with respect to oblivious strongly black-box reductions. We show that learning PSPACE/poly is PSPACE-hard with respect to oblivious strongly black-box reductions. On the other hand, if learning NP/poly is NP-hard with respect to oblivious strongly black-box reductions, the Polynomial Hierarchy collapses.

Ninad Rajgopal and Rahul Santhanam. On the Structure of Learnability Beyond P/Poly. In Approximation, Randomization, and Combinatorial Optimization. Algorithms and Techniques (APPROX/RANDOM 2021). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 207, pp. 46:1-46:23, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2021)

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@InProceedings{rajgopal_et_al:LIPIcs.APPROX/RANDOM.2021.46, author = {Rajgopal, Ninad and Santhanam, Rahul}, title = {{On the Structure of Learnability Beyond P/Poly}}, booktitle = {Approximation, Randomization, and Combinatorial Optimization. Algorithms and Techniques (APPROX/RANDOM 2021)}, pages = {46:1--46:23}, 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.2021.46}, URN = {urn:nbn:de:0030-drops-147395}, doi = {10.4230/LIPIcs.APPROX/RANDOM.2021.46}, annote = {Keywords: Hardness of Learning, Oracle Circuit Classes, Succinct Search, Black-Box Reductions} }

Document

**Published in:** LIPIcs, Volume 151, 11th Innovations in Theoretical Computer Science Conference (ITCS 2020)

Hardness magnification reduces major complexity separations (such as EXP ⊈ NC^1) to proving lower bounds for some natural problem Q against weak circuit models. Several recent works [Igor Carboni Oliveira and Rahul Santhanam, 2018; Dylan M. McKay et al., 2019; Lijie Chen and Roei Tell, 2019; Igor Carboni Oliveira et al., 2019; Lijie Chen et al., 2019; Igor Carboni Oliveira, 2019; Lijie Chen et al., 2019] have established results of this form. In the most intriguing cases, the required lower bound is known for problems that appear to be significantly easier than Q, while Q itself is susceptible to lower bounds but these are not yet sufficient for magnification.
In this work, we provide more examples of this phenomenon, and investigate the prospects of proving new lower bounds using this approach. In particular, we consider the following essential questions associated with the hardness magnification program:
- Does hardness magnification avoid the natural proofs barrier of Razborov and Rudich [Alexander A. Razborov and Steven Rudich, 1997]?
- Can we adapt known lower bound techniques to establish the desired lower bound for Q?
We establish that some instantiations of hardness magnification overcome the natural proofs barrier in the following sense: slightly superlinear-size circuit lower bounds for certain versions of the minimum circuit size problem MCSP imply the non-existence of natural proofs. As a corollary of our result, we show that certain magnification theorems not only imply strong worst-case circuit lower bounds but also rule out the existence of efficient learning algorithms.
Hardness magnification might sidestep natural proofs, but we identify a source of difficulty when trying to adapt existing lower bound techniques to prove strong lower bounds via magnification. This is captured by a locality barrier: existing magnification theorems unconditionally show that the problems Q considered above admit highly efficient circuits extended with small fan-in oracle gates, while lower bound techniques against weak circuit models quite often easily extend to circuits containing such oracles. This explains why direct adaptations of certain lower bounds are unlikely to yield strong complexity separations via hardness magnification.

Lijie Chen, Shuichi Hirahara, Igor C. Oliveira, Ján Pich, Ninad Rajgopal, and Rahul Santhanam. Beyond Natural Proofs: Hardness Magnification and Locality. In 11th Innovations in Theoretical Computer Science Conference (ITCS 2020). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 151, pp. 70:1-70:48, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2020)

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@InProceedings{chen_et_al:LIPIcs.ITCS.2020.70, author = {Chen, Lijie and Hirahara, Shuichi and Oliveira, Igor C. and Pich, J\'{a}n and Rajgopal, Ninad and Santhanam, Rahul}, title = {{Beyond Natural Proofs: Hardness Magnification and Locality}}, booktitle = {11th Innovations in Theoretical Computer Science Conference (ITCS 2020)}, pages = {70:1--70:48}, series = {Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs)}, ISBN = {978-3-95977-134-4}, ISSN = {1868-8969}, year = {2020}, volume = {151}, editor = {Vidick, Thomas}, publisher = {Schloss Dagstuhl -- Leibniz-Zentrum f{\"u}r Informatik}, address = {Dagstuhl, Germany}, URL = {https://drops.dagstuhl.de/entities/document/10.4230/LIPIcs.ITCS.2020.70}, URN = {urn:nbn:de:0030-drops-117550}, doi = {10.4230/LIPIcs.ITCS.2020.70}, annote = {Keywords: Hardness Magnification, Natural Proofs, Minimum Circuit Size Problem, Circuit Lower Bounds} }

Document

**Published in:** LIPIcs, Volume 117, 43rd International Symposium on Mathematical Foundations of Computer Science (MFCS 2018)

We give a deterministic algorithm for counting the number of satisfying assignments of any AC^0[oplus] circuit C of size s and depth d over n variables in time 2^(n-f(n,s,d)), where f(n,s,d) = n/O(log(s))^(d-1), whenever s = 2^o(n^(1/d)). As a consequence, we get that for each d, there is a language in E^{NP} that does not have AC^0[oplus] circuits of size 2^o(n^(1/(d+1))). This is the first lower bound in E^{NP} against AC^0[oplus] circuits that beats the lower bound of 2^Omega(n^(1/2(d-1))) due to Razborov and Smolensky for large d. Both our algorithm and our lower bounds extend to AC^0[p] circuits for any prime p.

Ninad Rajgopal, Rahul Santhanam, and Srikanth Srinivasan. Deterministically Counting Satisfying Assignments for Constant-Depth Circuits with Parity Gates, with Implications for Lower Bounds. In 43rd International Symposium on Mathematical Foundations of Computer Science (MFCS 2018). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 117, pp. 78:1-78:15, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2018)

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@InProceedings{rajgopal_et_al:LIPIcs.MFCS.2018.78, author = {Rajgopal, Ninad and Santhanam, Rahul and Srinivasan, Srikanth}, title = {{Deterministically Counting Satisfying Assignments for Constant-Depth Circuits with Parity Gates, with Implications for Lower Bounds}}, booktitle = {43rd International Symposium on Mathematical Foundations of Computer Science (MFCS 2018)}, pages = {78:1--78:15}, series = {Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs)}, ISBN = {978-3-95977-086-6}, ISSN = {1868-8969}, year = {2018}, volume = {117}, editor = {Potapov, Igor and Spirakis, Paul and Worrell, James}, publisher = {Schloss Dagstuhl -- Leibniz-Zentrum f{\"u}r Informatik}, address = {Dagstuhl, Germany}, URL = {https://drops.dagstuhl.de/entities/document/10.4230/LIPIcs.MFCS.2018.78}, URN = {urn:nbn:de:0030-drops-96607}, doi = {10.4230/LIPIcs.MFCS.2018.78}, annote = {Keywords: circuit satisfiability, circuit lower bounds, polynomial method, derandomization} }

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