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A Threshold of ln n for Approximating Set Cover
 JOURNAL OF THE ACM
, 1998
"... Given a collection F of subsets of S = f1; : : : ; ng, set cover is the problem of selecting as few as possible subsets from F such that their union covers S, and max kcover is the problem of selecting k subsets from F such that their union has maximum cardinality. Both these problems are NPhar ..."
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Given a collection F of subsets of S = f1; : : : ; ng, set cover is the problem of selecting as few as possible subsets from F such that their union covers S, and max kcover is the problem of selecting k subsets from F such that their union has maximum cardinality. Both these problems are NPhard. We prove that (1 \Gamma o(1)) ln n is a threshold below which set cover cannot be approximated efficiently, unless NP has slightly superpolynomial time algorithms. This closes the gap (up to low order terms) between the ratio of approximation achievable by the greedy algorithm (which is (1 \Gamma o(1)) ln n), and previous results of Lund and Yannakakis, that showed hardness of approximation within a ratio of (log 2 n)=2 ' 0:72 lnn. For max kcover we show an approximation threshold of (1 \Gamma 1=e) (up to low order terms), under the assumption that P != NP .
Algebraic Methods for Interactive Proof Systems
, 1990
"... We present a new algebraic technique for the construction of interactive proof systems. We use our technique to prove that every language in the polynomialtime hierarchy has an interactive proof system. This technique played a pivotal role in the recent proofs that IP=PSPACE (Shamir) and that MIP ..."
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Cited by 352 (29 self)
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We present a new algebraic technique for the construction of interactive proof systems. We use our technique to prove that every language in the polynomialtime hierarchy has an interactive proof system. This technique played a pivotal role in the recent proofs that IP=PSPACE (Shamir) and that MIP=NEXP (Babai, Fortnow and Lund).
Locally Random Reductions in Interactive Complexity Theory
 DIMACS Series in Discrete Mathematics and Theoretical Computer Science
, 1993
"... We survey definitions, known results, and open questions in the area of locally random reductions and explore the ramifications of these reductions in complexity theory. This paper is based on a survey talk given at the DIMACS Workshop on Structural Complexity and Cryptography, Rutgers University, ..."
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Cited by 24 (5 self)
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We survey definitions, known results, and open questions in the area of locally random reductions and explore the ramifications of these reductions in complexity theory. This paper is based on a survey talk given at the DIMACS Workshop on Structural Complexity and Cryptography, Rutgers University, New Brunswick NJ, December 1990. 1 Introduction We consider the question of whether a probabilistic polynomialtime machine A can compute a function f in the following manner. A interacts with one or more machines B 1 , . . ., B k that are not restricted to probabilistic polynomial time. At the end of the interaction, A can use the information obtained from the B i 's to compute f(x). However, the information that A sends to the B i 's is locally random. Informally, this means that no individual B i can use it to figure out what A's private input x is. This study can be motivated by the practical problem of using shared resources for private computations. For example, f may be a financial ...
Open Questions, Talk Abstracts, and Summary of Discussions
, 1991
"... s, and Summary of Discussions Joan Feigenbaum and Michael Merritt AT&T Bell Laboratories Murray Hill, NJ 07974 The DIMACS Workshop on Distributed Computing and Cryptography was held at the Nassau Inn in Princeton, New Jersey, on October 4, 5, and 6, 1989. Participants took a critical look at the ..."
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s, and Summary of Discussions Joan Feigenbaum and Michael Merritt AT&T Bell Laboratories Murray Hill, NJ 07974 The DIMACS Workshop on Distributed Computing and Cryptography was held at the Nassau Inn in Princeton, New Jersey, on October 4, 5, and 6, 1989. Participants took a critical look at the results, choice of problems, guiding philosophies, research methodology, and engineering projects that currently absorb much of the effort of people working in "cryptography" and "computer system security." This report summarizes both the formal presentations and the informal discussions that took place. Section 1 contains our account of the group discussions and statements of open questions, both general and specific, that we think are important. This report on the workshop is based on our recollections, our notes, and notes taken by the graduatestudent participants; we assume responsibility for any inaccuracies in our account. Section 2 contains abstracts of the talks presented at the worksh...
Languages that are Easier than their Proofs
, 1991
"... A basic question about NP is whether or not search reduces in polynomial time to decision. We indicate that the answer is negative: under a complexity assumption (that deterministic and nondeterministic doubleexponential time are unequal) we construct a language in NP for which search does not reduc ..."
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Cited by 13 (7 self)
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A basic question about NP is whether or not search reduces in polynomial time to decision. We indicate that the answer is negative: under a complexity assumption (that deterministic and nondeterministic doubleexponential time are unequal) we construct a language in NP for which search does not reduce to decision. These ideas extend in a natural way to interactive proofs and program checking. Under similar assumptions we present languages in NP for which it is harder to prove membership interactively than it is to decide this membership. Similarly we present languages where checking is harder than computing membership. Each of the following properties  checkability, randomselfreducibility, reduction from search to decision, and interactive proofs in which the prover's power is limited to deciding membership in the language itself  implies coherence, one of the weakest forms of selfreducibility. Under assumptions about tripleexponential time, we construct incoherent sets in NP....
Hiding Instances in ZeroKnowledge Proof Systems (Extended Abstract)
 ADVANCES IN CRYPTOLOGY  CRYPTO '90, LECTURE NOTES IN COMPUTER SCIENCE
, 1990
"... Informally speaking, an instancehiding proof system for the function f is a protocol in which a polynomialtime verifier is convinced of the value of f(x) but does not reveal the input x to the provers. We show here that a boolean function f has an instancehiding proof system if and only if it ..."
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Informally speaking, an instancehiding proof system for the function f is a protocol in which a polynomialtime verifier is convinced of the value of f(x) but does not reveal the input x to the provers. We show here that a boolean function f has an instancehiding proof system if and only if it is the characteristic function of a language in NEXP " coNEXP. We formalize the notion of zeroknowledge for instancehiding proof systems with several provers and show that all such systems can be made perfect zeroknowledge.
InstanceHiding Proof Systems
, 1993
"... We define the notion of an instancehiding proof system (ihps) for a function f ; informally, an ihps is a protocol in which a polynomialtime verifier interacts with one or more allpowerful provers and is convinced of the value of f(x) but does not reveal the input x to the provers. We show here t ..."
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Cited by 2 (0 self)
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We define the notion of an instancehiding proof system (ihps) for a function f ; informally, an ihps is a protocol in which a polynomialtime verifier interacts with one or more allpowerful provers and is convinced of the value of f(x) but does not reveal the input x to the provers. We show here that a function f has a multiprover ihps if and only if it is computable in FNEXP. We formalize the notion of zeroknowledge for ihps's and show that any function that has a multiprover ihps in fact has one that is perfect zeroknowledge. Under the assumption that oneway permutations exist, we show that f has a oneprover, zeroknowledge ihps if and only if it is in FPSPACE and has a oneoracle instancehiding scheme (ihs).