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TR24-086 | 24th April 2024 06:26
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#### A nearly-$4\log n$ depth lower bound for formulas with restriction on top

TR24-086
Authors:

Hao Wu
Publication: 30th April 2024 11:16

Downloads: 91

Keywords:

**Abstract:**
One of the major open problems in complexity theory is to demonstrate an explicit function which requires super logarithmic depth, a.k.a, the $\mathbf{P}$ versus $\mathbf{NC^1}$ problem. The current best depth lower bound is $(3-o(1))\cdot \log n$, and it is widely open how to prove a super-$3\log n$ depth lower bound. Recently Mihajlin and Sofronova (CCC'22) show if considering formulas with restriction on top, we can break the $3\log n$ barrier. Formally, they prove there exist two functions $f:\{0,1\}^n \rightarrow \{0,1\},g:\{0,1\}^n \rightarrow \{0,1\}^n$, such that for any constant $0<\alpha<0.4$ and constant $0<\epsilon<\alpha/2$, their XOR composition $f(g(x)\oplus y)$ is not computable by an AND of $2^{(\alpha-\epsilon)n}$ formulas of size at most $2^{(1-\alpha/2-\epsilon)n}$. This implies a modified version of Andreev function is not computable by any circuit of depth $(3.2-\epsilon)\log n$ with the restriction on t top $0.4-\epsilon$ layers only consist of AND gates for any small constant $0<\epsilon$. They ask whether the parameter $\alpha$ can be push up to nearly $1$ thus implying a nearly-$3.5\log n$ depth lower bound.

In this paper, we provide a stronger answer to their question. We show there exist two functions $f:\{0,1\}^n \rightarrow \{0,1\},g:\{0,1\}^n \rightarrow \{0,1\}^n$, such that for any constant $0<\alpha<2-o(1)$, their XOR composition $f(g(x)\oplus y)$ is not computable by an AND of $2^{\alpha n}$ formulas of size at most $2^{(1-\alpha/2-o(1))n}$. This implies a $(4-o(1))\log n$ depth lower bound with the restriction that top $2-o(1)$ layers only consist of AND gates. We prove it by observing that one crucial component in Mihajlin and Sofronova's work, called the well-mixed set of functions, can be significantly simplified thus improved. Then with this observation and a more careful analysis, we obtain these nearly tight results.