Nondeterministic Direct Product Reductions and the Success Probability of SAT Solvers

Tuesday, December 10, 2013 - 4:15pm to 5:15pm
3:45pm in 32-G449 (Patil/Kiva)
Andrew Drucker, Institute For Advanced Study (IAS) in Princeton


In this talk I will describe nondeterministic reductions which yield new direct
product theorems (DPTs) for Boolean circuits. In our theorems one assumes
that a function F is "mildly hard" against *nondeterministic* circuits of some
size s(n), and concludes that the t-fold direct product F^t is "extremely hard"
against probabilistic circuits of only polynomially smaller size s'(n). The main
advantage of these results compared with previous DPTs is the strength of the
size bound in our conclusion.

As an application, we show that if NP is not in coNP/poly then, for every PPT
algorithm attempting to produce satisfying assignments to Boolean formulas,
there are infinitely many satisfiable instances on which the algorithm's success
probability is nearly-exponentially small. This furthers a project of Paturi and
Pudlák [STOC'10].