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TCS+ Talk

Wednesday, May 27, 2020
10:00am to 11:00am
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Is it (NP) hard to distinguish order from chaos?
Rahul Ilango, Graduate Student, MIT,

Abstract: The Minimum Circuit Size Problem (MCSP) roughly asks what the "complexity" of a given string is. Informally, one can think of this as determining the degree of "computational order" a string has.


In the past several years, there has been a resurgence of interest in MCSP. A series of exciting results have begun unraveling what looks to be a fascinating story. This story already reveals deep connections between MCSP and a growing list of fields, including cryptography, learning theory, structural complexity theory, average-case complexity, and circuit complexity. As an example, Santhanam recently proved a conditional equivalence between the complexity of MCSP and the existence of one-way functions.


This talk is split into two parts. The first part is a broad introduction to MCSP, answering the following questions: What is this problem? Why is it interesting? What do we know so far, and where might the story go next? The second part discusses recent joint work with Bruno Loff and Igor Oliveira showing that the "multi-output version" of MCSP is NP-hard.

To watch the talk:

  • Watching the live stream. At the announced start time of the talk (or a minute before), a live video stream will be available on our "next talk" page. Simply connect to the page and enjoy the talk. No webcam or registration is needed. Questions and comments during the talk are welcome (text only, unfortunately); simply post a comment below the live video stream on YouTube.
  • Watching the recorded talk offline. The recorded talk will be made available shortly after the talk ends on our YouTube page. (Please leave a comment if you enjoyed it!)
For more information, please contact Bonnie Leung by email at bjleung@caltech.edu.