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Combinatorics of Monotone Computations
 Combinatorica
, 1998
"... Our main result is a combinatorial lower bounds criterion for a general model of monotone circuits, where we allow as gates: (i) arbitrary monotone Boolean functions whose minterms or maxterms (or both) have length 6 d, and (ii) arbitrary realvalued nondecreasing functions on 6 d variables. This r ..."
Abstract

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Our main result is a combinatorial lower bounds criterion for a general model of monotone circuits, where we allow as gates: (i) arbitrary monotone Boolean functions whose minterms or maxterms (or both) have length 6 d, and (ii) arbitrary realvalued nondecreasing functions on 6 d variables. This resolves a problem, raised by Razborov in 1986, and yields, in a uniform and easy way, nontrivial lower bounds for circuits computing explicit functions even when d !1. The proof is relatively simple and direct, and combines the bottlenecks counting method of Haken with the idea of finite limit due to Sipser. We demonstrate the criterion by superpolynomial lower bounds for explicit Boolean functions, associated with bipartite Paley graphs and partial tdesigns. We then derive exponential lower bounds for cliquelike graph functions of Tardos, thus establishing an exponential gap between the monotone real and nonmonotone Boolean circuit complexities. Since we allow real gates, the criterion...