License: Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license (CC BY 4.0)
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DOI: 10.4230/LIPIcs.CCC.2023.17
URN: urn:nbn:de:0030-drops-182870
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van Melkebeek, Dieter ; Mocelin Sdroievski, Nicollas

Instance-Wise Hardness Versus Randomness Tradeoffs for Arthur-Merlin Protocols

LIPIcs-CCC-2023-17.pdf (0.9 MB)


A fundamental question in computational complexity asks whether probabilistic polynomial-time algorithms can be simulated deterministically with a small overhead in time (the BPP vs. P problem). A corresponding question in the realm of interactive proofs asks whether Arthur-Merlin protocols can be simulated nondeterministically with a small overhead in time (the AM vs. NP problem). Both questions are intricately tied to lower bounds. Prominently, in both settings blackbox derandomization, i.e., derandomization through pseudo-random generators, has been shown equivalent to lower bounds for decision problems against circuits.
Recently, Chen and Tell (FOCS'21) established near-equivalences in the BPP setting between whitebox derandomization and lower bounds for multi-bit functions against algorithms on almost-all inputs. The key ingredient is a technique to translate hardness into targeted hitting sets in an instance-wise fashion based on a layered arithmetization of the evaluation of a uniform circuit computing the hard function f on the given instance.
In this paper we develop a corresponding technique for Arthur-Merlin protocols and establish similar near-equivalences in the AM setting. As an example of our results in the hardness to derandomization direction, consider a length-preserving function f computable by a nondeterministic algorithm that runs in time n^a. We show that if every Arthur-Merlin protocol that runs in time n^c for c = O(logĀ² a) can only compute f correctly on finitely many inputs, then AM is in NP. Our main technical contribution is the construction of suitable targeted hitting-set generators based on probabilistically checkable proofs for nondeterministic computations.
As a byproduct of our constructions, we obtain the first result indicating that whitebox derandomization of AM may be equivalent to the existence of targeted hitting-set generators for AM, an issue raised by Goldreich (LNCS, 2011). Byproducts in the average-case setting include the first uniform hardness vs. randomness tradeoffs for AM, as well as an unconditional mild derandomization result for AM.

BibTeX - Entry

  author =	{van Melkebeek, Dieter and Mocelin Sdroievski, Nicollas},
  title =	{{Instance-Wise Hardness Versus Randomness Tradeoffs for Arthur-Merlin Protocols}},
  booktitle =	{38th Computational Complexity Conference (CCC 2023)},
  pages =	{17:1--17:36},
  series =	{Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs)},
  ISBN =	{978-3-95977-282-2},
  ISSN =	{1868-8969},
  year =	{2023},
  volume =	{264},
  editor =	{Ta-Shma, Amnon},
  publisher =	{Schloss Dagstuhl -- Leibniz-Zentrum f{\"u}r Informatik},
  address =	{Dagstuhl, Germany},
  URL =		{},
  URN =		{urn:nbn:de:0030-drops-182870},
  doi =		{10.4230/LIPIcs.CCC.2023.17},
  annote =	{Keywords: Hardness versus randomness tradeoff, Arthur-Merlin protocol, targeted hitting set generator}

Keywords: Hardness versus randomness tradeoff, Arthur-Merlin protocol, targeted hitting set generator
Collection: 38th Computational Complexity Conference (CCC 2023)
Issue Date: 2023
Date of publication: 10.07.2023

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