Weizmann Logo
Electronic Colloquium on Computational Complexity

Under the auspices of the Computational Complexity Foundation (CCF)

Login | Register | Classic Style



TR23-154 | 12th October 2023 06:15

On the Rational Degree of Boolean Functions and Applications



We study a natural complexity measure of Boolean functions known as the (exact) rational degree. For total functions $f$, it is conjectured that $\mathrm{rdeg}(f)$ is polynomially related to $\mathrm{deg}(f)$, where $\mathrm{deg}(f)$ is the Fourier degree. Towards this conjecture, we show that symmetric functions have rational degree at least $\mathrm{deg}(f)/2$ and monotone functions have rational degree at least $\sqrt{\mathrm{deg}(f)}$. We observe that both of these lower bounds are tight. In addition, we show that all read-once depth-$d$ Boolean formulae have rational degree at least $\Omega(\mathrm{deg}(f)^{1/d})$. Furthermore, we show that almost every Boolean function on $n$ variables has rational degree at least $n/2 - O(\sqrt{n})$.

In contrast to total functions, we exhibit partial functions that witness unbounded separations between rational and approximate degree, in both directions. As a consequence, we show that for quantum computers, post-selection and bounded-error are incomparable resources in the black-box model.

ISSN 1433-8092 | Imprint