TR22-107 Authors: Shachar Lovett, Jiapeng Zhang

Publication: 21st July 2022 23:21

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A folklore conjecture in quantum computing is that the acceptance probability of a quantum query algorithm can be approximated by a classical decision tree, with only a polynomial increase in the number of queries. Motivated by this conjecture, Aaronson and Ambainis (Theory of Computing, 2014) conjectured that this should hold more generally for any bounded function computed by a low degree polynomial.

In this work we prove two new results towards establishing this conjecture: first, that any such polynomial has a small fractional certificate complexity; and second, that many inputs have a small sensitive block. We also give two new conjectures that, if true, would imply the Aaronson and Ambainis conjecture given our results.

On the technical side, many classical techniques used in the analysis of Boolean functions seem to fail when applied to bounded functions. Here, we develop a new technique, based on a mix of combinatorics, analysis and geometry, and which in part extends a recent technique of Knop et al. (STOC 2021) to bounded functions.