A Dichotomy for Local Small-Bias Generators

Benny Applebaum*, Andrej Bogdanov, Alon Rosen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We consider pseudorandom generators in which each output bit depends on a constant number of input bits. Such generators have appealingly simple structure: They can be described by a sparse input–output dependency graph G and a small predicate P that is applied at each output. Following the works of Cryan and Miltersen (MFCS’01) and by Mossel et al (STOC’03), we ask: which graphs and predicates yield “small-bias” generators (that fool linear distinguishers)? We identify an explicit class of degenerate predicates and prove the following. For most graphs, all non-degenerate predicates yield small-bias generators, f: {0 , 1} n→ {0 , 1} m, with output length m= n1 + ϵfor some constant ϵ> 0. Conversely, we show that for most graphs, degenerate predicates are not secure against linear distinguishers, even when the output length is linear m= n+ Ω (n). Taken together, these results expose a dichotomy: Every predicate is either very hard or very easy, in the sense that it either yields a small-bias generator for almost all graphs or fails to do so for almost all graphs. As a secondary contribution, we attempt to support the view that small-bias is a good measure of pseudorandomness for local functions with large stretch. We do so by demonstrating that resilience to linear distinguishers implies resilience to a larger class of attacks.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)577-596
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Cryptology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2016


  • Dichotomy
  • Local functions
  • NC0
  • Small-bias generator


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