TR19-047 Authors: Mrinal Kumar, Ben Lee Volk

Publication: 2nd April 2019 07:45

Downloads: 141

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We study the problem of constructing explicit families of matrices which cannot be expressed as a product of a few sparse matrices. In addition to being a natural mathematical question on its own, this problem appears in various incarnations in computer science; the most significant being in the context of lower bounds for algebraic circuits which compute linear transformations, matrix rigidity and data structure lower bounds.

We first show, for every constant $d$, a deterministic construction in subexponential time of a family $\{M_n\}$ of $n \times n$ matrices which cannot be expressed as a product $M_n = A_1 \cdots A_d$ where the total sparsity of $A_1,\ldots,A_d$ is less than $n^{1+1/(2d)}$. In other words, any depth-$d$ linear circuit computing the linear transformation $M_n\cdot \mathbf{x}$ has size at least $n^{1+\Omega(1/d)}$. This improves upon the prior best lower bounds for this problem, which are barely super-linear, and were obtained by a long line of research based on the study of super-concentrators (albeit at the cost of a blow up in the time required to construct these matrices).

We then outline an approach for proving improved lower bounds through a certain derandomization problem, and use this approach to prove asymptotically optimal quadratic lower bounds for natural special cases, which generalize many of the common matrix decompositions.