Small Depth Proof Systems

  • Andreas Krebs
  • Nutan Limaye
  • Meena Mahajan
  • Karteek Sreenivasaiah
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 8087)


A proof system for a language L is a function f such that Range(f) is exactly L. In this paper, we look at proof systems from a circuit complexity point of view and study proof systems that are computationally very restricted. The restriction we study is: they can be computed by bounded fanin circuits of constant depth (NC0), or of O(loglogn) depth but with O(1) alternations (poly log AC0). Each output bit depends on very few input bits; thus such proof systems correspond to a kind of local error-correction on a theorem-proof pair.

We identify exactly how much power we need for proof systems to capture all regular languages. We show that all regular language have poly log AC0 proof systems, and from a previous result (Beyersdorff et al, MFCS 2011, where NC0 proof systems were first introduced), this is tight. Our technique also shows that Maj has poly log AC0 proof system.

We explore the question of whether Taut has NC0 proof systems. Addressing this question about 2TAUT, and since 2TAUT is closely related to reachability in graphs, we ask the same question about Reachability. We show that both Undirected Reachability and Directed UnReachability have NC0 proof systems, but Directed Reachability is still open.

In the context of how much power is needed for proof systems for languages in NP, we observe that proof systems for a good fraction of languages in NP do not need the full power of AC0; they have SAC0 or coSAC0 proof systems.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andreas Krebs
    • 1
  • Nutan Limaye
    • 2
  • Meena Mahajan
    • 3
  • Karteek Sreenivasaiah
    • 3
  1. 1.University of TübingenGermany
  2. 2.Indian Institute of TechnologyBombayIndia
  3. 3.The Institute of Mathematical SciencesChennaiIndia

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