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TR18-156 | 8th September 2018 20:41
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#### Quantum algorithms and approximating polynomials for composed functions with shared inputs

**Abstract:**
We give new quantum algorithms for evaluating composed functions whose inputs may be shared between bottom-level gates. Let $f$ be a Boolean function and consider a function $F$ obtained by applying $f$ to conjunctions of possibly overlapping subsets of $n$ variables. If $f$ has quantum query complexity $Q(f)$, we give an algorithm for evaluating $F$ using $\tilde{O}(\sqrt{Q(f) \cdot n})$ quantum queries. This improves on the bound of $O(Q(f) \cdot \sqrt{n})$ that follows by treating each conjunction independently, and is tight for worst-case choices of $f$. Using completely different techniques, we prove a similar tight composition theorem for the approximate degree of $f$.

By recursively applying our composition theorems, we obtain a nearly optimal $\tilde{O}(n^{1-2^{-d}})$ upper bound on the quantum query complexity and approximate degree of linear-size depth-$d$ AC$^0$ circuits. As a consequence, such circuits can be PAC learned in subexponential time, even in the challenging agnostic setting. Prior to our work, a subexponential-time algorithm was not known even for linear-size depth-3 AC$^0$ circuits. We also show that any substantially faster learning algorithm will require fundamentally new techniques.