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Electronic Colloquium on Computational Complexity

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TR20-099 | 6th July 2020 14:01

KRW Composition Theorems via Lifting



One of the major open problems in complexity theory is proving super-logarithmic lower bounds on the depth of circuits (i.e., $\mathbf{P}\not\subseteq\mathbf{NC}^1$). Karchmer, Raz, and Wigderson (Computational Complexity 5(3/4), 1995) suggested to approach this problem by proving that depth complexity behaves “as expected” with respect to the composition of functions $f \diamond g$. They showed that the validity of this conjecture would imply that $\mathbf{P}\not\subseteq\mathbf{NC}^1$.

Several works have made progress toward resolving this conjecture by proving special cases. In particular, these works proved the KRW conjecture for every outer function $f$, but only for few inner functions $g$. Thus, it is an important challenge to prove the KRW conjecture for a wider range of inner functions.

In this work, we extend significantly the range of inner functions that can be handled. First, we consider the $\textit{monotone}$ version of the KRW conjecture. We prove it for every monotone inner function $g$ whose depth complexity can be lower bounded via a query-to-communication lifting theorem. This allows us to handle several new and well-studied functions such as the $s\textbf{-}t$-connectivity, clique, and generation functions.

In order to carry this progress back to the $\textit{non-monotone}$ setting, we introduce a new notion of $\textit{semi-monotone}$ composition, which combines the non-monotone complexity of the outer function $f$ with the monotone complexity of the inner function $g$. In this setting, we prove the KRW conjecture for a similar selection of inner functions $g$, but only for a specific choice of the outer function $f$.

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