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Logic seminar

LEARN-Uniform Circuit Lower Bounds and Provability in Bounded Arithmetic

Marco Carmosino
Boston University


Monday, 14. June 2021 - 15:45 to 17:15
Zoom meeting 472 648 284 - - contact to join
We investigate randomized LEARN-uniformity, which captures the power of randomness and equivalence queries (EQ) in the construction of Boolean circuits for an explicit problem. This is an intermediate notion between P-uniformity and non-uniformity motivated by connections to learning, complexity, and logic. Building on a number of techniques, we establish the first unconditional lower bounds against LEARN-uniform circuits. For example:

For each k >= 1, there is a language L in NP such that circuits for L of size O(n^k) cannot be learned in deterministic polynomial time with access to n^o(1) EQs.

We employ such results to investigate the (un)provability of non-uniform circuit upper bounds (e.g., Is NP contained in SIZE[n^3]?) in theories of bounded arithmetic. Some questions of this form have been addressed in recent papers of Krajicek-Oliveira (2017), Muller-Bydzovsky (2020), and Bydzovsky-Krajicek-Oliveira (2020) via a mixture of techniques from proof theory, complexity theory, and model theory. In contrast, by extracting computational information from proofs via a direct translation to LEARN-uniformity, we establish robust unprovability theorems that unify, simplify, and extend nearly all previous results. In addition, our lower bounds against randomized LEARN-uniformity yield unprovability results for theories augmented with the dual weak pigeonhole principle, such as APC^1 (Jerabek, 2007), which is known to formalize a large fragment of modern complexity theory.

Finally, we make precise potential limitations of theories of bounded arithmetic such as PV (Cook, 1975) and Jerabek's theory APC^1, by showing unconditionally that these theories cannot prove statements like "NP is not contained in BPP, and NP is contained in ioP/poly", i.e., that NP is uniformly "hard" but non-uniformly "easy" on infinitely many input lengths. In other words, if we live in such a complexity world, then this cannot be established feasibly.