Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Computer Science

First Advisor

Pavan Aduri


The study of computational complexity investigates the role of various computational resources such as processing time, memory requirements, nondeterminism, randomness, nonuniformity, etc. to solve different types of computational problems. In this dissertation, we study the role of randomness in two fundamental areas of computational complexity: NP-completeness and space-bounded computations.

The concept of completeness plays an important role in defining the notion of 'hard' problems in Computer Science. Intuitively, an NP-complete problem captures the difficulty of solving any problem in NP. Polynomial-time reductions are at the heart of defining completeness. However, there is no single notion of reduction; researchers identified various polynomial-time reductions such as many-one reduction, truth-table reduction, Turing reduction, etc. Each such notion of reduction induces a notion of completeness. Finding the relationships among various NP-completeness notions is a significant open problem. Our first result is about the separation of two such polynomial-time completeness notions for NP, namely, Turing completeness and many-one completeness. This is the first result that separates completeness notions for NP under a worst-case hardness hypothesis.

Our next result involves a conjecture by Even, Selman, and Yacobi [ESY84,SY82] which states that there do not exist disjoint NP-pairs all of whose separators are NP-hard via Turing reductions. If true, this conjecture implies that a certain kind of probabilistic public-key cryptosystems is not secure. The conjecture is open for 30 years. We provide evidence in support of a variant of this conjecture. We show that if there exist certain secure one-way functions, then the ESY conjecture for the bounded-truth-table reduction holds.

Now we turn our attention to space-bounded computations. We investigate probabilistic space-bounded machines that are allowed to access their random bits {\em multiple times}. Our main conceptual contribution here is to establish an interesting connection between derandomization of such probabilistic space-bounded machines and the derandomization of probabilistic time-bounded machines. In particular, we show that if we can derandomize a multipass machine even with a small number of passes over random tape and only O(log^2 n) random bits to deterministic polynomial-time, then BPTIME(n) ⊆ DTIME(2^{o(n)}). Note that if we restrict the number of random bits to O(log n), then we can trivially derandomize the machine to polynomial time. Furthermore, it can be shown that if we restrict the number of passes to O(1), we can still derandomize the machine to polynomial time. Thus our result implies that any extension beyond these trivialities will lead to an unknown derandomization of BPTIME(n).

Our final contribution is about the derandomization of probabilistic time-bounded machines under branching program lower bounds. The standard method of derandomizing time-bounded probabilistic machines depends on various circuit lower bounds, which are notoriously hard to prove. We show that the derandomization of low-degree polynomial identity testing, a well-known problem in co-RP, can be obtained under certain branching program lower bounds. Note that branching programs are considered weaker model of computation than the Boolean circuits.

Copyright Owner

Debasis Mandal



File Format


File Size

117 pages