License: Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license (CC BY 4.0)
When quoting this document, please refer to the following
DOI: 10.4230/LIPIcs.ITCS.2023.18
URN: urn:nbn:de:0030-drops-175217
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Blanc, Guy ; Koch, Caleb ; Lange, Jane ; Strassle, Carmen ; Tan, Li-Yang

Certification with an NP Oracle

LIPIcs-ITCS-2023-18.pdf (0.9 MB)


In the certification problem, the algorithm is given a function f with certificate complexity k and an input x^⋆, and the goal is to find a certificate of size ≤ poly(k) for f’s value at x^⋆. This problem is in NP^NP, and assuming ? ≠ NP, is not in ?. Prior works, dating back to Valiant in 1984, have therefore sought to design efficient algorithms by imposing assumptions on f such as monotonicity.
Our first result is a BPP^NP algorithm for the general problem. The key ingredient is a new notion of the balanced influence of variables, a natural variant of influence that corrects for the bias of the function. Balanced influences can be accurately estimated via uniform generation, and classic BPP^NP algorithms are known for the latter task.
We then consider certification with stricter instance-wise guarantees: for each x^⋆, find a certificate whose size scales with that of the smallest certificate for x^⋆. In sharp contrast with our first result, we show that this problem is NP^NP-hard even to approximate. We obtain an optimal inapproximability ratio, adding to a small handful of problems in the higher levels of the polynomial hierarchy for which optimal inapproximability is known. Our proof involves the novel use of bit-fixing dispersers for gap amplification.

BibTeX - Entry

  author =	{Blanc, Guy and Koch, Caleb and Lange, Jane and Strassle, Carmen and Tan, Li-Yang},
  title =	{{Certification with an NP Oracle}},
  booktitle =	{14th Innovations in Theoretical Computer Science Conference (ITCS 2023)},
  pages =	{18:1--18:22},
  series =	{Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs)},
  ISBN =	{978-3-95977-263-1},
  ISSN =	{1868-8969},
  year =	{2023},
  volume =	{251},
  editor =	{Tauman Kalai, Yael},
  publisher =	{Schloss Dagstuhl -- Leibniz-Zentrum f{\"u}r Informatik},
  address =	{Dagstuhl, Germany},
  URL =		{},
  URN =		{urn:nbn:de:0030-drops-175217},
  doi =		{10.4230/LIPIcs.ITCS.2023.18},
  annote =	{Keywords: Certificate complexity, Boolean functions, polynomial hierarchy, hardness of approximation}

Keywords: Certificate complexity, Boolean functions, polynomial hierarchy, hardness of approximation
Collection: 14th Innovations in Theoretical Computer Science Conference (ITCS 2023)
Issue Date: 2023
Date of publication: 01.02.2023

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