Igor Carboni Oliveira

  | Royal Society University Research Fellow & Assistant Professor
  | Department of Computer Science, University of Warwick, UK
  | Division of Theory and Foundations (FoCS)
  | Centre for Discrete Mathematics and its Applications (DIMAP)





Quick Links
Meta-Complexity Program
Online Complexity Seminar
Complexity Network (Warwick, Oxford, Imperial)

Contact Details

Email:  igor.oliveira@warwick.ac.uk  |  igorcarb@gmail.com    Room:  CS2.02    Office hours:  Please write to me to schedule a meeting.   Address:  Info   

- Prospective PhD students and postdocs:  Several positions are available. If our research interests overlap and you would like to work with me, please get in touch.
- I can also support the application of strong candidates to one of these postdoctoral fellowships: Marie Curie, Leverhulme, Newton, Eutopia, EPSRC, 1851 Fellowship.
- If you're a local student or researcher interested in computational complexity theory, check out the website of the Complexity Network (Warwick, Oxford, Imperial).       
- I'm interesed in advising phd students with a strong theoretical background. We accept applications twice a year; more information is available here.
About Me
I'm a member of the Division of Theory and Foundations (FoCS) and of the Centre for Discrete Mathematics and its Applications (DIMAP) at the University of Warwick. Previously, I was a postdoctoral researcher at the Algorithms and Complexity Theory Group at the University of Oxford, a research fellow at UC Berkeley's Simons Institute, and a postdoctoral fellow at the School of Mathematics at Charles University in Prague. I completed my phd in the Theory of Computation Group at Columbia University. In a more distant past, I was a student at University of Campinas in Brazil.

Curriculum Vitae

Research Interests
Computational complexity theory and its connections to algorithms, combinatorics, and mathematical logic. In general, I'm interested in the possibilities and limits of efficient computation and what we can prove about them. More specifically, over the last few years I have been involved with the following research directions:

- Unconditional complexity lower bounds;
- Connecting the design of learning algorithms to complexity lower bounds;
- Computational pseudorandomness, probabilistic Kolmogorov complexityand their applications;
- Hardness magnification: understanding the difficulty of proving weak lower bounds;
- Unprovability results in mathematical logic; 
- Meta-complexity and NP-hardness of circuit minimisation and related problems.

My research is currently supoprted by a Royal Society University Research Fellowship, an EPSRC New Horizons Grant, and an ERC Starting Grant/UKRI Frontier Research Guarantee.

Warwick:  [Complexity Network]  [Complexity Seminar]  [DIMAP Seminar]  [Cambridge-Warwick Quantum]  [Combinatorics Seminar]  [CS Colloquium]  [Maths Colloquium]
 [TCS/Logic Seminar]  [Lab Lunch]
 [Algo/Complexity Seminar]   

Teaching Activities
CS418/CS938: Advanced Topics in Algorithms and Complexity: Computational Learning Theory (Warwick, Term 1 - 2022/2023).
CS418/CS938: Advanced Topics in Algorithms and Complexity (Warwick, Term 1 - 2021/2022).
Logic and Complexity Student Seminar: Infinitary Methods in Complexity Theory (Prague, Winter Term, 2016).
Logic and Complexity Student Seminar: Bounded Arithmetic and Feasible Complexity Theory (Prague, Summer Term, 2016).
Logic and Complexity Student Seminar: Reading Group (Prague, Winter Term, 2015).

Research Fellows, Students, and Long-Term Visitors

Ian Mertz (Research Fellow). Joined in October/2022.
Shuichi Hirahara (Research Fellow). September/2022 to February/2023.
Zhenjian Lu (Research Fellow). April/2020 to March/2022.
Dimitrios Tsintsilidas (PhD Student). Joining in October/2023.
Bruno P. Cavalar (PhD Student). Joined in October/2020.
Jiawei Li (Graduate Research Intern). May/2023 to July/2023. 
Herby Bowden (MSc Student). January/2022 to August/2022.
Jiatu Li (Undergraduate Research Intern). March/2022 to July/2022.

Prospective PhD students and postdocs: In case you might be interested in joining my research group, several positions are available. I can also support the application of strong candidates to one of these postdoctoral fellowships: Marie Curie, Leverhulme, Newton, Eutopia, EPSRC, 1851 Fellowship.

Publications and Preprints

A few representative results and highlights include:
- Showing that the design of provably correct learning algorithms requires progress in computational complexity theory.
- Establishing new complexity bounds for graph connectivity, addition, and symmetric functions in the setting of bounded-depth circuits.
- Investigation of a hardness magnification phenomenon under which minor extensions of known complexity lower bounds lead to breakthroughs.
- Showing that some theories of arithmetic cannot prove the easiness and the hardness of computational problems.  
- A proof that infinitely many prime numbers have succinct and efficient probabilistic representations. See this related survey on probabilistic Kolmogorov complexity.

List of Publications:  

- Polynomial-time pseudodeterministic construction of primes  (with L. Chen, Z. Lu, H. Ren, and R. Santhanam).  [ ECCC ]   [ PDF ]
   Preprint, 2023.
- Constant-depth circuits vs. monotone circuits  (with B.P. Cavalar).  [ ECCC ]   [ PDF ]
   Computational Complexity Conference (CCC), 2023.
- Unprovability of strong complexity lower bounds in bounded arithmetic  (with J. Li).  [ ECCC ]   [ slides ]   [ Simons talk ]   [ PDF ]
   Symposium on Theory of Computing (STOC), 2023.
- A duality between one-way functions and average-case symmetry of information  (with S. Hirahara, R. Ilango, Z. Lu, and M. Nanashima).  ePrint ]   [ Zhenjian's Simons talk ]   [ PDF ]
   Symposium on Theory of Computing (STOC), 2023.
- Theory and applications of probabilistic Kolmogorov complexity  (with Z. Lu).  [ ECCC ]   [ slides ]   [ Simons talk ]   [ PDF ]
   The Computational Complexity Column - Bulletin of EATCS No 137, 2022.
- Probabilistic Kolmogorov complexity with applications to average-case complexity  (with H. Goldberg, V. Kabanets, and Z. Lu).  [ ECCC ]   [ slides ]   [ Halley's CCC talk ]   [ Zhenjian's DIMACS talk ]   [ PDF ]
   Computational Complexity Conference (CCC), 2022.
- Optimal coding theorems in time-bounded Kolmogorov complexity  (with Z. Lu and M. Zimand).  arXiv ]   [ slides ]   [ Zhenjian's DIMACS talk ]   [ PDF ]
   International Colloquium on Automata, Languages and Programming (ICALP), 2022.
- LEARN-uniform circuit lower bounds and provability in bounded arithmetic  (with M. Carmosino, V. Kabanets, and A. Kolokolova).  [ ECCC ]   [ slides ]   [ ICMS talk ]   [ Marco's talk ]   [ Antonina's talk ]   [ PDF ]
   Symposium on Foundations of Computer Science (FOCS), 2021.
- Quantum learning algorithms imply circuit lower bounds  (with S. Arunachalam, A. Grilo, T. Gur, and A. Sundaram).  arXiv ]   [ slides ]   [ DIMACS talk ]   [ FOCS talk ]   [ Tom's talk ]   [ Alex's talk ]   [ PDF ]
   Symposium on Foundations of Computer Science (FOCS), 2021. Quantum Information Processing (QIP), 2021. 
- Majority vs. Approximate Linear Sum and average-case complexity below NC1  (with L. Chen, Z. Lu, and X. Lyu).  ECCC ]   [ slides ]   [ Xin's ICALP talk ]   [ PDF ]
   International Colloquium on Automata, Languages and Programming (ICALP), 2021.
- An efficient coding theorem via probabilistic representations and its applications  (with Z. Lu).  ECCC ]   [ overview ]   [ slides ]   [ LMS Colloquium talk ]   [ Zhenjian's ICALP talk ]   [ PDF ] 
   International Colloquium on Automata, Languages and Programming (ICALP), 2021.
- Pseudodeterministic algorithms and the structure of probabilistic time  (with Z. Lu and R. Santhanam).  ECCC ]   [ Zhenjian's STOC talk ]   [ PDF ]
   Symposium on Theory of Computing (STOC), 2021.
- NP-hardness of circuit minimization for multi-output functions  (with R. Ilango and B. Loff).  ECCC ]   [ Rahul's TCS+ talk ]   [ Rahul's CCC talk ]   [ Bruno's HSE talk ]   [ see also Eric Allender's survey ]   [ PDF ]
   Computational Complexity Conference (CCC), 2020.
- Algorithms and lower bounds for de Morgan formulas of low-communication leaf gates  (with V. Kabanets, S. Koroth, Z. Lu, and D. Myrisiotis).  ECCC ]   [ Dimitrios' CCC talk ]   [ PDF ]
   Computational Complexity Conference (CCC), 2020. ACM Trans. Comput. Theory 13(4): 23:1-23:37, 2021.
- Consistency of circuit lower bounds with bounded theories  (with J. Bydzovsky and J. Krajicek).  arXiv ]   [ slides ]   [ short slides ]   [ Banff talk ]   [ see also Jan Krajicek's Fields talk ]   [ PDF ]  
   Logical Methods in Computer Science, Volume 16, Issue 2, 2020.
- Beyond natural proofs: hardness magnification and locality  (with L. Chen, S. Hirahara, J. Pich, N. Rajgopal, and R. Santhanam).  arXiv ]   notes ]   [ STOC talk ]   [ slides ]   [ Ninad's ITCS talk ]   [ PDF ]
   Innovations in Theoretical Computer Science (ITCS), 2020. Journal of the ACM (to appear), 2022.
- Randomness and intractability in Kolmogorov complexity.  ECCC ]   [ slides ]   [ LMS Colloquium talk ]   [ PDF ]
   International Colloquium on Automata, Languages and Programming (ICALP), 2019.
- Parity helps to compute Majority  (with R. Santhanam and S. Srinivasan).  ECCC ]   [ slides ]   [ PDF ]
   Computational Complexity Conference (CCC), 2019.
- Hardness magnification near state-of-the-art lower bounds  (with J. Pich and R. Santhanam).  ECCC ]   notes ]   [ slides ]   [ PDF ]
   Computational Complexity Conference (CCC), 2019. Theory of Computing (CCC'19 Special Isssue, to appear), 2021.
- Expander-based cryptography meets natural proofs  (with R. Santhanam and R. Tell).  ECCC ]   [ PDF ]
   Innovations in Theoretical Computer Science (ITCS), 2019. Computational Complexity 31(1):4-1:60, 2022.
- Hardness magnification for natural problems  (with R. Santhanam).  ECCC ]   [ slides ]   [ Simons talk ]   notes ]   [ informal exposition ]   [ PDF ]    
   Symposium on Foundations of Computer Science (FOCS), 2018.
- On monotone circuits with local oracles and clique lower bounds  (with J. Krajicek).  [ CJTCS ]   [ arXiv ]   [ PDF ]
   Chicago Journal of Theoretical Computer Science (CJTCS), 2018.
- Pseudo-derandomizing learning and approximation  (with R. Santhanam).  ECCC ]   [ slides ]   [ PDF ]  
   International Workshop on Randomization and Computation (RANDOM), 2018.
- NP-hardness of Minimum Circuit Size Problem for OR-AND-MOD circuits  (with S. Hirahara and R. Santhanam).  ECCC ]   [ PDF ]
   Computational Complexity Conference (CCC), 2018.
- An average-case lower bound against ACC  (with R. Chen and R. Santhanam).   ECCC ]   [ slides ]   [ see also Chen-Ren for subsequent developments ]   [ PDF ]
   Latin American Theoretical Informatics (LATIN, co-winner of the Best Paper Award), 2018.
- Conspiracies between learning algorithms, circuit lower bounds, and pseudorandomness  (with R. Santhanam).   [ arXiv ]   [ slides ]   [ PDF ]
   Computational Complexity Conference (CCC), 2017.
- Addition is exponentially harder than counting for shallow monotone circuits  (with X. Chen and R. Servedio).   arXiv  [ slides ]   [Simons talk ]   [ PDF ]
   Symposium on Theory of Computing (STOC), 2017.
- Pseudodeterministic constructions in subexponential time  (with R. Santhanam).   ECCC ]   [ slides ]   [ LMS Colloquium talk ]   [ see also Rahul's IAS talk ]   [ PDF ]   
   Symposium on Theory of Computing (STOC), 2017.
- Unprovability of circuit upper bounds in Cook's theory PV  (with J. Krajicek).   arXiv ]   [ slides ]   [ PDF ]
   Logical Methods in Computer Science, Volume 13, Issue 1, 2017.
- Erdos-Ko-Rado for random hypergraphs: asymptotics and stability  (with M. Gauy and H. Han).   arXiv ]   [ PDF ]
   Combinatorics, Probability and Computing, 26(3), 406-422, 2017.
- Near-optimal small-depth lower bounds for small distance connectivity  (with X. Chen, R. Servedio, and L. Tan).   arXiv ]   [ see also Srikanth Srinivasan's exposition ]   [ PDF ]
   Symposium on Theory of Computing (STOC), 2016.
- An algebraic formulation of the graph reconstruction conjecture  (with B. Thatte).   arXiv ]   [ PDF ]
   J. Graph Theory, 81: 351-363, 2016.
- Learning circuits with few negations  (with E. Blais, C. Canonne, R. Servedio, and L. Tan).   ECCC ]   [ PDF ]
   International Workshop on Randomization and Computation (RANDOM), 2015.
- Majority is incompressible by AC[p] circuits  (with R. Santhanam).  ECCC ]   [ slides ]   [ PDF ]
   Conference on Computational Complexity (CCC), 2015.
- The power of negations in cryptography  (with S. Guo, T. Malkin, and A. Rosen).  ePrint ]   [ slides ]   [ Tal's MSR talk ]   [ PDF ] 
   Theory of Cryptography Conference (TCC), 2015.
- Algorithms versus circuit lower bounds.   ECCC ]   [ slides ]   PDF ] 
   Survey / ECCC Report, 2013.
- Constructing hard functions from learning algorithms  (with A. Klivans and P. Kothari).   ECCC ]   [ slides ]   PDF ] 
   Conference on Computational Complexity (CCC), 2013.

[PhD Thesis]  Unconditional lower bounds in complexity theory
.   [ External Link ]   PDF ]  
Columbia University, June/2015 (Advisors: Tal Malkin and Rocco Servedio).
[Master's Thesis]  Computational complexity and the P vs. NP problem  (In Portuguese).   External Link ]   Related Note ]   PDF ]  
University of Campinas, August/2010 (Advisor: Arnaldo Vieira Moura).

Notes and Expositions:    

- Advances in hardness magnification. December, 2019.  PDF ]
- Notes on the method of approximations and the emergence of the fusion method. August, 2018.  PDF ]
A simple algorithmic explanation for the concentration of measure phenomenon. October, 2014.  PDF ]

Open Problems:

Simons Institute ("Lower Bounds in Computational Complexity" - Fall/2018)

Informal expositions | media coverage | online discussions:  
Computational Complexity Blog ]   [ Simons Institute ]   [ Godel's Lost Letter ]   [ Shtetl Optimized I ]   [ Shtetl Optimized II ]   [ Oxford Inspired Research ]   [ CS@Columbia ]   [ Oded's Choices ]   

Recent and Upcoming Events

A list with a few recent and upcoming conferences and workshops that could be of interest to students and researchers, including events that I might attend.

Meta-Complexity  [Simons Institute, Spring 2023]  &  Workshop Lower Bounds, Learning, and Average-Case Complexity  [Simons Institute, 13-17 February, 2023]
Dagstuhl Workshop "Computational Complexity of Discrete Problems"  [12-17 March, 2023]
WACT - 7th Workshop on Algebraic Complexity Theory  [Warwick, 27-31 March, 2023]
Logic Colloquium 2023  [Milan, 5-9 June, 2023]
Symposium on Theory of Computing (STOC)  [Orlando, 20-23 June, 2023]
Computational Complexity Conference (CCC)  [Warwick, 17-20 July, 2023]
Symposium on Foundations of Computer Science (FOCS)  [Santa Cruz, 6-9 November, 2023]
CIRM Thematic Month "Discrete Mathematics & Computer Science: Groups, Dynamics, Complexity, Words"  [Marseille, February, 2024]
Oberwolfach Workshop "Proof Complexity and Beyond"  [Oberwolfach, 24-29 March, 2024]   

Check DIMAP's website for local events.

Information for Students, Postdocs, Visitors, etc.

Warwick Students.
  If you're a student at Warwick interested in working with me, don't hesitate to get in touch to discuss this possibility.
PhD. Warwick has one of the strongest theory groups in Europe, with close interactions between the CS and Math departments. If you would like to apply for a phd position, more information can be found here (check also these scholarships: link1, link2link3link4). I would be happy to support the application of strong candidates based in the UK or from abroad.
You can find some potential topics here.
Postdocs. There are many opportunities for postdocs to come to Warwick, and some of them offer quite generous conditions. A few options are discussed on these pages: link1link2, and link3. You can also check funding opportunities available through Warwick IAS. The best strategy is to contact me as early as possible if you would like to apply for a position or fellowship.
Finally, check also the department's vacancies.

Resources for Warwick visitors