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TR16-002 | 18th January 2016 23:32

Strong ETH Breaks With Merlin and Arthur: Short Non-Interactive Proofs of Batch Evaluation



We present an efficient proof system for Multipoint Arithmetic Circuit Evaluation: for every arithmetic circuit $C(x_1,\ldots,x_n)$ of size $s$ and degree $d$ over a field ${\mathbb F}$, and any inputs $a_1,\ldots,a_K \in {\mathbb F}^n$,
$\bullet$ the Prover sends the Verifier the values $C(a_1), \ldots, C(a_K) \in {\mathbb F}$ and a proof of $\tilde{O}(K \cdot d)$ length, and
$\bullet$ the Verifier tosses $\textrm{poly}(\log(dK|{\mathbb F}|/\varepsilon))$ coins and can check the proof in about $\tilde{O}(K \cdot(n + d) + s)$ time, with probability of error less than $\varepsilon$.
For small degree $d$, this ``Merlin-Arthur'' proof system (a.k.a. MA-proof system) runs in nearly-linear time, and has many applications. For example, we obtain MA-proof systems that run in $c^{n}$ time (for various $c < 2$) for the Permanent, $\#$Circuit-SAT for all sublinear-depth circuits, counting Hamiltonian cycles, and infeasibility of $0$-$1$ linear programs. In general, the value of any polynomial in Valiant's class $VP$ can be certified faster than ``exhaustive summation'' over all possible assignments. These results strongly refute a Merlin-Arthur Strong ETH and Arthur-Merlin Strong ETH posed by Russell Impagliazzo and others.
We also give a three-round (AMA) proof system for quantified Boolean formulas running in $2^{2n/3+o(n)}$ time, nearly-linear time MA-proof systems for counting orthogonal vectors in a collection and finding Closest Pairs in the Hamming metric, and a MA-proof system running in $n^{k/2+O(1)}$-time for counting $k$-cliques in graphs.
We point to some potential future directions for refuting the Nondeterministic Strong ETH.

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