Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Fuzzy Logic and Inuitionistic Logic

I recently got rid of a pop science book on fuzzy logic that I purchased about eight years ago. When I first read it, it seemed to me to be not all that interesting, since it didn't seem like it created any particularly new ways of thinking about things. After all, calling someone "tall" is just shorthand, and it's not exactly revolutionary to call someone "somewhat tall" or "48% tall", since we can do that already when we talk about any continuous domain.

I put the book aside and figured that I either didn't get it, I had picked a bad explanation, or it truly was not something I would be interested in.

It occurs to me now that the idea of indeterminate truth should be very interesting to me, since I'm interested in intuitionistic logic, especially where provability differs from truth. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy indicates that the fuzzy logic I was thinking of is the "broad sense" or "fuzzy control", and that there's a whole other sense of fuzzy logic that is more closely related to my interests.

Are there any Zero-Knowledge Proofs?

I speculated before about zero-knowledge proofs and existentials. What I had in mind was encoding knowledge hiding via types. I suspect this result would be more interesting than I had imagined. Here is my understanding:

Zero-knowledge proofs are interactive proofs, and are therefore in the class IP. This class is the same as PSPACE, which is not yet known to be distinct from P (though it certainly contains P). So, it's possible that P = IP = PSPACE, and ZK proofs can't hide anything the verifier couldn't calculate herself. In other words, we may one day discover that most of our ZK proof protocols are useless. (This is not the whole story, as there are lots of variations on interactive proving.)

So, if there were a correspondence between these ZK proofs and existential types, it would either settle the P = PSPACE problem or discover a problem in type theory that is equivalent to it.

Each of these seems quite unlikely to me.

There is at least one person, however, who is doing research about the relationship between types and cryptography.