Lower bounds on the time/memory tradeoff of function inversion

Dror Chawin*, Iftach Haitner, Noam Mazor

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

2 Scopus citations


We study time/memory tradeoffs of function inversion: an algorithm, i.e., an inverter, equipped with an s-bit advice on a randomly chosen function (Formula Presented) and using q oracle queries to f, tries to invert a randomly chosen output y of f, i.e., to find (Formula Presented). Much progress was done regarding adaptive function inversion—the inverter is allowed to make adaptive oracle queries. Hellman [IEEE transactions on Information Theory ’80] presented an adaptive inverter that inverts with high probability a random f. Fiat and Naor [SICOMP ’00] proved that for any s, q with s3 q = n3 (ignoring low-order terms), an s-advice, q-query variant of Hellman’s algorithm inverts a constant fraction of the image points of any function. Yao [STOC ’90] proved a lower bound of sq≥ n for this problem. Closing the gap between the above lower and upper bounds is a long-standing open question. Very little is known of the non-adaptive variant of the question—the inverter chooses its queries in advance. The only known upper bounds, i.e., inverters, are the trivial ones (with s+q= n), and the only lower bound is the above bound of Yao. In a recent work, Corrigan-Gibbs and Kogan [TCC ’19] partially justified the difficulty of finding lower bounds on non-adaptive inverters, showing that a lower bound on the time/memory tradeoff of non-adaptive inverters implies a lower bound on low-depth Boolean circuits. Bounds that, for a strong enough choice of parameters, are notoriously hard to prove. We make progress on the above intriguing question, both for the adaptive and the non-adaptive case, proving the following lower bounds on restricted families of inverters: Linear-advice (adaptive inverter).If the advice string is a linear function of f (e.g., A× f, for some matrix A, viewing f as a vector in [n]n), then (Formula Presented). The bound generalizes to the case where the advice string of f1 + f2, i.e., the coordinate-wise addition of the truth tables of f1 and f2, can be computed from the description of f1 and f2 by a low communication protocol.Affine non-adaptive decoders.If the non-adaptive inverter has an affine decoder—it outputs a linear function, determined by the advice string and the element to invert, of the query answers—then (Formula Presented) (regardless of q).Affine non-adaptive decision trees.If the non-adaptive inversion algorithm is a d-depth affine decision tree—it outputs the evaluation of a decision tree whose nodes compute a linear function of the answers to the queries—and q < cn for some universal c>0, then (Formula Presented).

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTheory of Cryptography - 18th International Conference, TCC 2020, Proceedings
EditorsRafael Pass, Krzysztof Pietrzak
PublisherSpringer Science and Business Media Deutschland GmbH
Number of pages30
ISBN (Print)9783030643805
StatePublished - 2020
Event18th International Conference on Theory of Cryptography, TCCC 2020 - Durham, United States
Duration: 16 Nov 202019 Nov 2020

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
Volume12552 LNCS
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349


Conference18th International Conference on Theory of Cryptography, TCCC 2020
Country/TerritoryUnited States


FundersFunder number
European Research Council638121
Israel Science Foundation666/19


    • Function inverters
    • Random functions
    • Time/memory tradeoff


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