Lifting to Parity Decision Trees via Stifling


We show that the deterministic decision tree complexity of a (partial) function or relation $f$ lifts to the deterministic parity decision tree (PDT) size complexity of the composed function/relation $f \circ g$ as long as the gadget $g$ satisfies a property that we call stifling. We observe that several simple gadgets of constant size, like Indexing on 3 input bits, Inner Product on 4 input bits, Majority on 3 input bits and random functions, satisfy this property. It can be shown that existing randomized communication lifting theorems ([Göös, Pitassi, Watson. SICOMP'20], [Chattopadhyay et al. SICOMP'21]) imply PDT-size lifting. However there are two shortcomings of this approach: first they lift randomized decision tree complexity of $f$, which could be exponentially smaller than its deterministic counterpart when either $f$ is a partial function or even a total search problem. Second, the size of the gadgets in such lifting theorems are as large as logarithmic in the size of the input to $f$. Reducing the gadget size to a constant is an important open problem at the frontier of current research.

Our result shows that even a random constant-size gadget does enable lifting to PDT size. Further, it also yields the first systematic way of turning lower bounds on the width of tree-like resolution proofs of the unsatisfiability of constant-width CNF formulas to lower bounds on the size of tree-like proofs in the resolution with parity system, i.e., $\mathrm{Res}(\oplus)$, of the unsatisfiability of closely related constant-width CNF formulas.

ITCS 2023
Suhail Sherif
Suhail Sherif
Postdoctoral Researcher

I work in theoretical computer science, with a focus on query and communication complexity.