Technical Report MSC-2013-15

Title: Truth table minimization of computational models
Authors: Netanel Raviv
Supervisors: Eyal Kushlevitz
Abstract: Complexity theory offers a variety of concise computational models for computing boolean functions - branching programs, circuits, decision trees and ordered binary decision diagrams to name a few. A natural question that arises in this context with respect to any such model is this:

Given a function f:{0,1}^n \to {0,1}, can we compute the optimal complexity of computing f in the computational model in question? (according to some desirable measure).

A critical issue regarding this question is how exactly is f given, since a more elaborate description of f allows the algorithm to use more computational resources. Among the possible representations are black-box access to f (such as in computational learning theory), a representation of f in the desired computational model or a representation of f in some other model. One might conjecture that if f is given as its complete truth table (i.e., a list of f's values on each of its 2^n possible inputs), the most elaborate description conceivable, then any computational model can be efficiently computed, since the algorithm computing it can run poly(2^n) time. Several recent studies show that this is far from the truth - some models have efficient and simple algorithms that yield the desired result, others are believed to be hard, and for some models this problem remains open. In this talk we will discuss the computational complexity of this question regarding several common types of computational models. We shall present several new hardness results and efficient algorithms, as well as new proofs and extensions for known theorems, for variants of decision trees, formulas and branching programs.

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