TR10-163 Authors: Harry Buhrman, Leen Torenvliet, Falk Unger, Nikolay Vereshchagin

Publication: 3rd November 2010 11:17

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It is well-known that the class of sets that can be computed by polynomial size circuits is equal to the class of sets that are polynomial time reducible to a sparse set. It is widely believed, but unfortunately up to now unproven, that there are sets in $EXP^{NP}$, or even in EXP that are not computable by polynomial size circuits and hence are not reducible to a sparse set. In this paper we study this question in a more restricted setting: what is the computational complexity of sparse sets that are selfreducible? It follows from earlier work of Lozano and Toran that $EXP^{NP}$ does not have sparse selfreducible hard sets. We define a natural version of selfreduction, tree-selfreducibility, and show that NEXP does not have sparse tree-selfreducible hard sets. We also construct an oracle relative to which all of EXP is reducible to a sparse tree-selfreducible set. These lower bounds are corollaries of more general results about the computational complexity of sparse sets that are selfreducible, and can be interpreted as uper-polynomial circuit lower bounds for NEXP.