My thesis defence

This page is dedicated to giving you some information about my Ph.D. thesis defence.

Practical information

Date and time

Tuesday, 25th September 2018, 15:00.


Salle de conférences du Pavillon des Jardins
École Normale Supérieure Paris-Saclay
61 avenue du Président Wilson
94230 Cachan

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The limits of Nečiporuk's method and the power of programs over monoids taken from small varieties of finite monoids


Computational complexity, lower bounds, Nečiporuk, programs over monoids, DA, J


This thesis deals with lower bounds for complexity measures related to subclasses of the class P of languages that can be decided by Turing machines in polynomial time. We consider non-uniform computational models like programs over monoids and branching programs.

Our first contribution is an abstract, measure-independent treatment of Nečiporuk's method for proving lower bounds. This method still gives the best lower bounds known on measures such as the size of deterministic and non-deterministic branching programs or formulæ with arbitrary binary Boolean operators; we give an abstract formulation of the method and use this framework to prove limits on the best lower bounds obtainable using this method for several complexity measures. We thereby confirm previously known limitation results in this slightly more general framework and showcase new limitation results for complexity measures to which Nečiporuk's method had never been applied.

Our second contribution is a better understanding of the computational power of programs over monoids taken from small varieties of finite monoids. Programs over monoids were introduced in the late 1980s by Barrington and Thérien as a way to generalise recognition by morphisms so as to obtain a finite-semigroup-theoretic characterisation of NC^1 and its subclasses. Given a variety V of finite monoids, one considers the class P(V) of languages recognised by a sequence of polynomial-length programs over a monoid from V: as V ranges over all varieties of finite monoids, one obtains different subclasses of NC^1, for instance AC^0, ACC^0 and NC^1 when V respectively is the variety of all finite aperiodic, finite solvable and finite monoids. We introduce a new notion of tameness for varieties of finite monoids, strengthening a notion of Péladeau. The main interest of this notion is that when a variety V of finite monoids is tame, we have that P(V) does only contain regular languages that are quasi morphism-recognised by monoids from V. Many open questions about the internal structure of NC^1 would be settled by showing that some appropriate variety of finite monoids is tame, and, in this thesis, we modestly start an exhaustive study of which varieties of finite monoids are tame. More precisely, we focus on two well-known small varieties of finite aperiodic monoids: DA and J. On the one hand, we show that DA is tame using finite-semigroup-theoretic arguments. This allows us to derive an exact algebraic characterisation of the class of regular languages in P(DA). On the other hand, we show that P(J) is not tame. To do this, we present a trick by which programs over monoids from J can recognise much more regular languages than only those that are quasi morphism-recognised by monoids from J. This brings us to conjecture an exact algebraic characterisation of the class of regular languages in P(J), and we lay out some partial results that support this conjecture. For each of the varieties DA and J, we also exhibit a program-length-based hierarchy within the class of languages recognised by programs over monoids from the variety, refining Tesson and Thérien's results on the polynomial-length property for monoids from those varieties.


The final version is here.


The slides of the presentation are here.


DIEKERT Volker Rapporteur
FÜGGER Matthias Examiner
HAMEL Sylvie Examiner
MCKENZIE Pierre Thesis supervisor
SEGOUFIN Luc Thesis supervisor
ZEITOUN Marc Rapporteur

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