Can someone provide an example of (possibly complete) natural problems in the class $P^{PP}$?

we know that MAJSAT is a $PP$ complete problem which is defined as: Given a Boolean formula F. The answer must be YES if more than half of all assignments $x_1$, $x_2$, ..., $x_n$ make F TRUE and NO otherwise.


1 Answer 1


For a simple problem in $\mathrm{P^{PP}}$ that’s presumably not in $\mathrm{PP}$: given a 3CNF $\phi$ in $n$ variables, determine the $\lfloor n/2\rfloor$-th bit of $|\{\vec a\in\{0,1\}^n:\phi(\vec a)=1\}|$. This is (presumably) not $\mathrm{P^{PP}}$-complete, though; it is complete for the class $\mathrm{MP\subseteq P^{PP}}$.

I don’t know if there is something more natural, but the following problem is easily shown to be $\mathrm{P^{PP}}$-complete: given a sequence of CNF $$\phi_0(\vec x),\phi_1(\vec x,y_0),\dots,\phi_i(\vec x,y_0,\dots,y_{i-1}),\dots,\phi_n(\vec x,y_0,\dots,y_{n-1}),$$ determine $b_n$, where $(b_0,\dots,b_n)\in\{0,1\}^{n+1}$ is the unique sequence such that $$b_i=1\iff\Pr\nolimits_{\vec a}[\phi_i(\vec a,b_0,\dots,b_{i-1})=1]\ge1/2$$ for each $i\le n$.

  • $\begingroup$ thank you. I understood the 1st problem. the second one though I am struggling a bit (too condensed a notation). If possible can you please elaborate the second one. Or provide a link where its explained? $\endgroup$
    – J.Doe
    Jul 4, 2023 at 11:23
  • $\begingroup$ I’m sorry, but I can’t elaborate if you don’t tell me what exactly you struggle with. I have no link, as I just thought it up. If one sees a dozen of completeness proofs for problems like this, one can invent the next one. $\endgroup$ Jul 4, 2023 at 11:36
  • $\begingroup$ I understood that we calculate $b_i$ using previous values of $b_0, b_1...$ and so on, but am not clear how: $b_i=1\iff\Pr\nolimits_{\vec a}[\phi_i(\vec a,b_0,\dots,b_{i-1})=1]\ge1/2.$ This part is what I am struggling with. Are we saying that each successive CNF takes 1 extra 'bit/input' and its hard-coded value is the previous $b_{i-1}$. And if with these hard-coded bits the $\phi_i$ is satiable for more than 1/2 the cases the value of $b_i$=1 which is used for the next CNF and so on? $\endgroup$
    – J.Doe
    Jul 4, 2023 at 11:46
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Yes. As indicated at the beginning, $\phi_i$ has variables $\vec x,y_0,\dots,y_{i-1}$. We evaluate $y_j$, $j<i$, with the already known values $b_j$, and we ask whether the formula is satisfied by at least half of the assignments to the remaining variables $\vec x$. $\endgroup$ Jul 4, 2023 at 12:28
  • $\begingroup$ I added a generic element of the input sequence to hopefully make this more clear. $\endgroup$ Jul 4, 2023 at 12:31

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