We know that $$\mathsf{NP\subseteq P/Poly \iff coNP\subseteq P/Poly\implies PH=\Sigma_2^P}=\mathsf{\Pi_2^P}$$ $$\mathsf{NP\subseteq P/Log\iff coNP\subseteq P/Log\implies PH=\Sigma_0^P=\Pi_0^P}$$

Is there any circuit result that could imply $$\mathsf{PH=\Sigma_1^P=\Pi_1^P}$$ but still $$\mathsf{PH\neq\Sigma_0^P=\Pi_0^P}$$ is a possibility?

Is there a possible similar collapse result from non-circuit containment?


Such result does not exist.

  • 4
    $\begingroup$ NP in P/log implies P=NP, not just that PH collapses to the second level. Presumably you want a collapse to NP but not all the way to P (which also happens the theorems of Fortune, Mahaney, and Ogihara-Watanabe)? Also, do you mean a bound of the form "[uniform class] is contained in [circuit class]"? "NP is contained in [circuit class]"? Or really an arbitrary circuit bound? $\endgroup$ Apr 25, 2015 at 14:39
  • $\begingroup$ I think it would be nice to see a class containment(preferably NP) in a circuit class giving collapse to first level, analogous to collapse to 2nd and 0th level as above. Is there a reference for collapse to NP but not to P results. What circut bound are you thinking? $\endgroup$
    – Turbo
    Apr 25, 2015 at 18:00
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I don't have a particular one in mind. I was mostly just pointing out that your question boils down to: What complexity class containments (circuit or otherwise) imply $P \neq NP = coNP$? $\endgroup$ Apr 25, 2015 at 18:11
  • $\begingroup$ Could you provide link to theorems of Fortune, Mahaney, and Ogihara-Watanabe? $\endgroup$
    – Turbo
    Apr 25, 2015 at 18:14
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ blog.computationalcomplexity.org/2011/09/mahaneys-theorem.html $\endgroup$ Apr 25, 2015 at 18:23

1 Answer 1


It is perhaps reasonable to think that circuits that people would come up with would come along with easily verifiable proofs of their correctness. (This was indirectly inspired by Dietrich & Wilson's notion of "groups of black box type", and is in the spirit of Hartmanis's "provable complexity.") Towards this end, we consider:

Definition: "Certified $\mathsf{P/poly}$" or "$\mathsf{Cert}$-$\mathsf{P/poly}$" consists of those languages $L$ such that $L$ is in $\mathsf{P/poly}$ and there is a poly-bounded certification of this fact. More precisely, $L \in \mathsf{Cert}\text{-}\mathsf{P/poly}$ if there exists a poly-time $V$, and for all $n$, there exists $C_n, \pi_n$ with $\max\{|C_n|,|\pi_n|\} \leq poly(n)$ such that

  1. $V$ is a Cook-Reckhow proof system for the language $\{C : C \text{ correctly computes } L \text{ at length } \ell=\text{# inputs to C}\}$, that is (a) If $C(x) = L(x)$ for all $x \in \Sigma^\ell$, where $\ell$ is the number of inputs to $C$, then there exists a $\pi$ such that $V(C,\pi)=1$ and (b) If there is $x \in \Sigma^\ell$ such that $C(x) \neq L(x)$, then there is no $\pi$ such that $V(C,\pi)=1$.

  2. For all $n$, $C_n$ has $n$ inputs and $V(C_n,\pi_n)=1$.

Then $\mathsf{Cert}\text{-}\mathsf{P/poly}$ contains $\mathsf{NPSV}_t$-uniform $\mathsf{P/poly}$, so it is probably not just $\mathsf{P}$. And we have the desired statement:

Proposition: $\mathsf{NP} \subseteq \mathsf{Cert}\text{-}\mathsf{P/poly} \Longleftrightarrow \mathsf{coNP} \subseteq \mathsf{Cert}\text{-}\mathsf{P/poly} \Longrightarrow \mathsf{PH} = \mathsf{\Sigma_1 P} = \mathsf{\Pi_1 P}$.

Proof: First we show that $\mathsf{Cert}\text{-}\mathsf{P/poly} \subseteq \mathsf{NP}$, giving the final "$\Longrightarrow$" in the statement. Suppose $L \in \mathsf{Cert}\text{-}\mathsf{P/poly}$ with verifier $V$ and $V$-verified circuit family $\{(C_n,\pi_n)\}_{n=1,2,3,...}$. The following is a nondeterministic poly-time algorithm for $L$: on input $x$ of length $n$, guess $C_n,\pi_n$, and run $V(C_n,\pi_n)$; if it accepts, then output $C_n(x)$.

Next, we show that Certified $\mathsf{P/poly}$ is closed under complement, giving the first "$\Longleftrightarrow$" in the statement. Suppose $L \in \mathsf{Cert}\text{-}\mathsf{P/poly}$, with verifier $V$ as in the above definition. Since $L \in \mathsf{NP}$ by the preceding paragraph, there is some $c$ such that $L \in \mathsf{NTIME}(n^c) \subseteq \mathsf{DTIME}(2^{n^c})$. Let $V'(C',\pi)$ compute as follows: if $C'$ has a negation gate as its output gate, then write $C' = \neg C$, and define $V'(C',\pi) = V(C,\pi)$. Otherwise, $V'(C',\pi)$ checks whether $|\pi|=2^{\ell + \ell^c}$ (where $\ell$ is the number of inputs to $C'$); if not, then $V'$ rejects, and if so, then $V'$ simply enumerates all strings $y$ of length $\ell$, and checks whether $C'(y)=L(y)$, using the $2^{\ell^c}$ deterministic algorithm for $L$, which takes time $poly(|\pi|)$. (This latter yoga was needed to make sure that $V'$ satisfies property 1 in the definition.) If $\{(C_n,\pi_n)\}$ is a certified family of circuits for $L$ with verifier $V$, then $\{(\neg C_n, \pi_n)\}$ is a certified family of circuits for $L^c$ with verifier $V'$. QED


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