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TR20-174 | 18th November 2020 20:11
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#### Isoperimetric Inequalities for Real-Valued Functions with Applications to Monotonicity Testing

**Abstract:**
We generalize the celebrated isoperimetric inequality of Khot, Minzer, and Safra (SICOMP 2018) for Boolean functions to the case of real-valued functions $f \colon \{0,1\}^d\to\mathbb{R}$. Our main tool in the proof of the generalized inequality is a new Boolean decomposition that represents every real-valued function $f$ over an arbitrary partially ordered domain as a collection of Boolean functions over the same domain, roughly capturing the distance of $f$ to monotonicity and the structure of violations of $f$ to monotonicity.

We apply our generalized isoperimetric inequality to improve algorithms for testing monotonicity and approximating the distance to monotonicity for real-valued functions. Our tester for monotonicity has query complexity $\widetilde{O}(\min(r \sqrt{d},d))$, where $r$ is the size of the image of the input function. (The best previously known tester, by Chakrabarty and Seshadhri (STOC 2013), makes $O(d)$ queries.) Our tester is nonadaptive and has 1-sided error. We show a matching lower bound for nonadaptive, 1-sided error testers for monotonicity. We also show that the distance to monotonicity of real-valued functions that are $\alpha$-far from monotone can be approximated nonadaptively within a factor of $O(\sqrt{d\log d})$ with query complexity polynomial in $1/\alpha$ and the dimension $d$. This query complexity is known to be nearly optimal for nonadaptive algorithms even for the special case of Boolean functions. (The best previously known distance approximation algorithm for real-valued functions, by Fattal and Ron (TALG 2010) achieves $O(d\log r)$-approximation.)