Lower Bounds for Monotone Span Programs

Amos Beimel
Anna Gál
Mike Paterson

December 1994


The model of span programs is a linear algebraic model of computation. Lower bounds for span programs imply lower bounds for contact schemes, symmetric branching programs and for formula size. Monotone span programs correspond also to linear secret-sharing schemes. We present a new technique for proving lower bounds for monotone span programs. The main result proved here yields quadratic lower bounds for the size of monotone span programs, improving on the largest previously known bounds for explicit functions. The bound is asymptotically tight for the function corresponding to a class of 4-cliques.

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