Paper 2012/461

Succinct Arguments from Multi-Prover Interactive Proofs and their Efficiency Benefits

Nir Bitansky and Alessandro Chiesa


\emph{Succinct arguments of knowledge} are computationally-sound proofs of knowledge for NP where the verifier's running time is independent of the time complexity $t$ of the nondeterministic NP machine $M$ that decides the given language. Existing succinct argument constructions are, typically, based on techniques that combine cryptographic hashing and probabilistically-checkable proofs (PCPs). Yet, even when instantiating these constructions with state-of-the-art PCPs, the prover needs $\Omega(t)$ space in order to run in quasilinear time (i.e., time $t \poly(k)$), regardless of the space complexity $s$ of the machine $M$. We say that a succinct argument is \emph{complexity preserving} if the prover runs in time $t \poly(k)$ and space $s \poly(k)$ and the verifier runs in time $|x| \poly(k)$ when proving and verifying that a $t$-time $s$-space random-access machine nondeterministically accepts an input $x$. Do complexity-preserving succinct arguments exist? To study this question, we investigate the alternative approach of constructing succinct arguments based on multi-prover interactive proofs (MIPs) and stronger cryptographic techniques: (1) We construct a one-round succinct MIP of knowledge, where each prover runs in time $t \polylog(t)$ and space $s \polylog(t)$ and the verifier runs in time $|x| \polylog(t)$. (2) We show how to transform any one-round MIP protocol to a succinct four-message argument (with a single prover), while preserving the time and space efficiency of the original MIP protocol; using our MIP protocol, this transformation yields a complexity-preserving four-message succinct argument. As a main tool for our transformation, we define and construct a \emph{succinct multi-function commitment} that (a) allows the sender to commit to a vector of functions in time and space complexity that are essentially the same as those needed for a single evaluation of the functions, and (b) ensures that the receiver's running time is essentially independent of the function. The scheme is based on fully-homomorphic encryption (and no additional assumptions are needed for our succinct argument). (3) In addition, we revisit the problem of \emph{non-interactive} succinct arguments of knowledge (SNARKs), where known impossibilities prevent solutions based on black-box reductions to standard assumptions. We formulate a natural (but non-standard) variant of homomorphic encryption having a \emph{homomorphism-extraction property}. We show that this primitive essentially allows to squash our interactive protocol, while again preserving time and space efficiency, thereby obtaining a complexity-preserving SNARK. We further show that this variant is, in fact, implied by the existence of (complexity-preserving) SNARKs.

Note: Full version of the CRYPTO 2012 extended abstract.

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Publication info
Published elsewhere. CRYPTO 2012
succinct argumentsdelegation of computationmulti-prover interactive proofssuccinct function commitmentSNARKs
Contact author(s)
alexch @ csail mit edu
2012-12-27: revised
2012-08-14: received
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      author = {Nir Bitansky and Alessandro Chiesa},
      title = {Succinct Arguments from Multi-Prover Interactive Proofs and their Efficiency Benefits},
      howpublished = {Cryptology ePrint Archive, Paper 2012/461},
      year = {2012},
      note = {\url{}},
      url = {}
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