We extend the notion of distributed decision in the framework of distributed network computing, inspired by recent results on so-called distributed graph automata. We show that, by using distributed decision mechanisms based on the interaction between a prover and a disprover, the size of the certificates distributed to the nodes for certifying a given network property can be drastically reduced.
For instance, we prove that minimum spanning tree can be certified with $O(\log n)$-bit certificates in $n$-node graphs, with just one interaction between the prover and the disprover, while it is known that certifying MST requires $\Omega(\log^2 n)$-bit certificates if only the prover can act. The improvement can even be exponential for some simple graph properties. For instance, it is known that certifying the existence of a nontrivial automorphism requires $\Theta(n^2)$ bits if only the prover can act. We show that there is a protocol with two interactions between the prover and the disprover enabling to certify nontrivial automorphism with $O(\log n)$-bit certificates.
These results are achieved by defining and analysing a local hierarchy of decision which generalizes the classical notions of proof-labelling schemes and locally checkable proofs.