Editors: Anuj Dawar, Anca Muscholl, Catuscia Palamidessi

In the setting of DynFO, dynamic programs update the stored result of a query whenever the underlying data changes. This update is expressed in terms of first-order logic. We introduce a strategy for constructing dynamic programs that utilises periodic computation of auxiliary data from scratch and the ability to maintain a query for a limited number of change steps. We show that if some program can maintain a query for log n change steps after an AC$^1$-computable initialisation, it can be maintained by a first-order dynamic program as well, i.e., in DynFO. As an application, it is shown that decision and optimisation problems defined by monadic second-order (MSO) formulas are in DynFO, if only change sequences that produce graphs of bounded treewidth are allowed. To establish this result, a Feferman-Vaught-type composition theorem for MSO is established that might be useful in its own right.

We consider the action of a linear subspace $U$ of $\{0,1\}^n$ on the set of AC$^0$ formulas with inputs labeled by literals in the set $\{X_1,\overline X_1,\dots,X_n,\overline X_n\}$, where an element $u \in U$ acts on formulas by transposing the $i$th pair of literals for all $i \in [n]$ such that $u_i=1$. A formula is {\em $U$-invariant} if it is fixed by this action. For example, there is a well-known recursive construction of depth $d+1$ formulas of size $O(n{\cdot}2^{dn^{1/d}})$ computing the $n$-variable PARITY function; these formulas are easily seen to be $P$-invariant where $P$ is the subspace of even-weight elements of $\{0,1\}^n$. In this paper we establish a nearly matching $2^{d(n^{1/d}-1)}$ lower bound on the $P$-invariant depth $d+1$ formula size of PARITY. Quantitatively this improves the best known $\Omega(2^{\frac{1}{84}d(n^{1/d}-1)})$ lower bound for {\em unrestricted} depth $d+1$ formulas, while avoiding the use of the switching lemma. More generally, for any linear subspaces $U \subset V$, we show that if a Boolean function is $U$-invariant and non-constant over $V$, then its $U$-invariant depth $d+1$ formula size is at least $2^{d(m^{1/d}-1)}$ where $m$ is the minimum Hamming weight of a vector in $U^\bot \setminus V^\bot$.

We look at characterizing which formulas are expressible in rich decidable logics such as guarded fixpoint logic, unary negation fixpoint logic, and guarded negation fixpoint logic. We consider semantic characterizations of definability, as well as effective characterizations. Our algorithms revolve around a finer analysis of the tree-model property and a refinement of the method of moving back and forth between relational logics and logics over trees.

Recent developments in formal verification have identified approximate liftings (also known as approximate couplings) as a clean, compositional abstraction for proving differential privacy. This construction can be defined in two styles. Earlier definitions require the existence of one or more witness distributions, while a recent definition by Sato uses universal quantification over all sets of samples. These notions have each have their own strengths: the universal version is more general than the existential ones, while existential liftings are known to satisfy more precise composition principles. We propose a novel, existential version of approximate lifting, called $\star$-lifting, and show that it is equivalent to Sato's construction for discrete probability measures. Our work unifies all known notions of approximate lifting, yielding cleaner properties, more general constructions, and more precise composition theorems for both styles of lifting, enabling richer proofs of differential privacy. We also clarify the relation between existing definitions of approximate lifting, and consider more general approximate liftings based on $f$-divergences.

A word-to-word function is continuous for a class of languages~$\mathcal{V}$ if its inverse maps $\mathcal{V}$_languages to~$\mathcal{V}$. This notion provides a basis for an algebraic study of transducers, and was integral to the characterization of the sequential transducers computable in some circuit complexity classes. Here, we report on the decidability of continuity for functional transducers and some standard classes of regular languages. To this end, we develop a robust theory rooted in the standard profinite analysis of regular languages. Since previous algebraic studies of transducers have focused on the sole structure of the underlying input automaton, we also compare the two algebraic approaches. We focus on two questions: When are the automaton structure and the continuity properties related, and when does continuity propagate to superclasses?

An astonishing fact was established by Lee A. Rubel (1981): there exists a fixed non-trivial fourth-order polynomial differential algebraic equation (DAE) such that for any positive continuous function $\varphi$ on the reals, and for any positive continuous function $\epsilon(t)$, it has a $\mathcal{C}^\infty$ solution with $| y(t) - \varphi(t) | < \epsilon(t)$ for all $t$. Lee A. Rubel provided an explicit example of such a polynomial DAE. Other examples of universal DAE have later been proposed by other authors. However, Rubel's DAE \emph{never} has a unique solution, even with a finite number of conditions of the form $y^{(k_i)}(a_i)=b_i$. The question whether one can require the solution that approximates $\varphi$ to be the unique solution for a given initial data is a well known open problem [Rubel 1981, page 2], [Boshernitzan 1986, Conjecture 6.2]. In this article, we solve it and show that Rubel's statement holds for polynomial ordinary differential equations (ODEs), and since polynomial ODEs have a unique solution given an initial data, this positively answers Rubel's open problem. More precisely, we show that there exists a \textbf{fixed} polynomial ODE such that for any $\varphi$ and $\epsilon(t)$ there exists some initial condition that yields a solution that is $\epsilon$-close to $\varphi$ at all times. In particular, the solution to the ODE is necessarily analytic, and we show that the initial condition is computable from the target […]