Separation of the monotone NC hierarchy

Ran Raz, Pierre McKenzie

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106 Scopus citations


We prove tight lower bounds, of up to n, for the monotone depth of functions in monotone-P. As a result we achieve the separation of the following classes. 1. monotone-NC ≠ monotone-P. 2. For every i≥1, monotone-NCi ≠ monotone-NCi+1. 3. More generally: For any integer function D(n), up to n (for some ∈ > 0), we give an explicit example of a monotone Boolean function, that can be computed by polynomial size monotone Boolean circuits of depth D(n), but that cannot be computed by any (fan-in 2) monotone Boolean circuits of depth less than Const · D(n) (for some constant Const). Only a separation of monotone-NC1 from monotone-NC2 was previously known. Our argument is more general: we define a new class of communication complexity search problems, referred to below as DART games, and we prove a tight lower bound for the communication complexity of every member of this class. As a result we get lower bounds for the monotone depth of many functions. In particular, we get the following bounds: 1. For st-connectivity, we get a tight lower bound of Ω(log2 n). That is, we get a new proof for Karchmer-Wigderson's theorem, as an immediate corollary of our general result. 2. For the k-cliqne function, with k≤n∈, we get a tight lower bound of Ω(k log n). This lower bound was previously known for k ≤ log n [1]. For larger k, however, only a bound of Ω(k) was previously known.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)403-435
Number of pages33
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Discrete Mathematics and Combinatorics
  • Computational Mathematics


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