August 18-22, 2019

- IACR ePrint: 2019/188

We introduce and
study the notion of *fully linear* probabilistically checkable proof
systems. In such a proof system, the verifier can make a small number of linear
queries that apply *jointly* to the input and a proof vector. In
contrast to traditional (zero-knowledge) proofs systems, fully linear proofs
are meaningful even if P=PSPACE and even for very simple languages. Their
non-triviality and usefulness stem from the fact that the input is not directly
available to the verifier and can only be accessed via linear queries.

Our new type of proof system is motivated by applications in which the
input statement is not fully available to any single verifier, but can
still be efficiently accessed via linear queries. This situation
arises in scenarios where the input is partitioned or secret-shared
between two or more parties, or alternatively is encoded using an
additively homomorphic encryption or commitment scheme.
This setting appears in the context of secure messaging platforms, verifiable
outsourced computation, PIR writing, private computation of aggregate
statistics, and secure multiparty computation (MPC).
In all these applications, there is a need for fully linear proof systems with
*short proofs*.

While several efficient constructions of fully linear proof systems are
implicit in the interactive proofs literature, many questions about their
complexity are open. We present several new constructions of fully linear
*zero-knowledge* proof systems with *sublinear* proof size for
"simple" or "structured" languages. For example, in the
*non-interactive* setting of fully linear PCPs, we show how to prove
that an input vector \(x\in\mathbb{F}^n\), for a finite field \(\mathbb{F}\),
satisfies a single degree-two equation with
a proof of size \(O(\sqrt n)\) and \(O(\sqrt n)\) linear queries, which we show
to be optimal. More generally, for languages that can be recognized by systems
of constant-degree equations, we can reduce the proof size to \(O(\log n)\) at
the cost of \(O(\log n)\) rounds of interaction.

We use our new proof systems to construct new short zero-knowledge proofs on distributed and secret-shared data. These proofs can be used to improve the performance of the example systems mentioned above.

Finally, we observe that zero-knowledge proofs on distributed data provide a general-purpose tool for protecting MPC protocols
against malicious parties. Applying our short fully linear PCPs to "natural"
MPC protocols in the honest-majority setting, we can achieve unconditional
protection against malicious parties with sublinear additive communication
cost.
We use this to improve the communication complexity of recent honest-majority
MPC protocols. For instance, using any pseudorandom generator, we obtain a
three-party protocol for Boolean circuits in which the amortized communication
cost is only *one bit* per AND gate per party (compared to ten bits in
the best previous protocol), matching the best known protocols for semi-honest
parties.