TR07-128 Authors: Kevin Matulef, Ryan O'Donnell, Ronitt Rubinfeld, Rocco Servedio

Publication: 8th December 2007 15:24

Downloads: 3065

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This paper addresses the problem of testing whether a Boolean-valued function f is a halfspace, i.e. a function of the form f(x)=sgn(w ⋅ x - θ). We consider halfspaces over the continuous domain R^n (endowed with the standard multivariate Gaussian distribution) as well as halfspaces over the Boolean cube {-1,1}^n (endowed with the uniform distribution). In both cases we give an algorithm that distinguishes halfspaces from functions that are ε-far from any halfspace using only poly(1/ε) queries, independent of the dimension n.

<p>Two simple structural results about halfspaces are at the heart of our approach for the Gaussian distribution: the first gives an exact relationship between the expected value of a halfspace f and the sum of the squares of f's degree-1 Hermite coefficients, and the second shows that any function that approximately satisfies this relationship is close to a halfspace. We prove analogous results for the Boolean cube {-1,1}^n (with Fourier coefficients in place of Hermite coefficients) for balanced halfspaces in which all degree-1 Fourier coefficients are small. Dealing with general halfspaces over {-1,1}^n poses significant additional complications and requires other ingredients. These include ``cross-consistency' versions of the results mentioned above for pairs of halfspaces with the same weights but different thresholds; new structural results relating the largest degree-1 Fourier coefficient and the largest weight in unbalanced halfspaces; and algorithmic techniques from recent work on testing juntas [FKR+:02].</p>