Designs, Codes and Cryptography

, Volume 65, Issue 3, pp 383–403

Boolean autoencoders and hypercube clustering complexity

Open AccessArticle

DOI: 10.1007/s10623-012-9719-x

Cite this article as:
Baldi, P. Des. Codes Cryptogr. (2012) 65: 383. doi:10.1007/s10623-012-9719-x


We introduce and study the properties of Boolean autoencoder circuits. In particular, we show that the Boolean autoencoder circuit problem is equivalent to a clustering problem on the hypercube. We show that clustering m binary vectors on the n-dimensional hypercube into k clusters is NP-hard, as soon as the number of clusters scales like \({m^\epsilon (\epsilon >0 )}\) , and thus the general Boolean autoencoder problem is also NP-hard. We prove that the linear Boolean autoencoder circuit problem is also NP-hard, and so are several related problems such as: subspace identification over finite fields, linear regression over finite fields, even/odd set intersections, and parity circuits. The emerging picture is that autoencoder optimization is NP-hard in the general case, with a few notable exceptions including the linear cases over infinite fields or the Boolean case with fixed size hidden layer. However learning can be tackled by approximate algorithms, including alternate optimization, suggesting a new class of learning algorithms for deep networks, including deep networks of threshold gates or artificial neurons.


AutoencodersClusteringBoolean circuitsComputational complexity

Mathematics Subject Classification (2010)

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© The Author(s) 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Computer ScienceUniversity of CaliforniaIrvineUSA