News for December 2022

Happy New Year! Apologies for the late post; I was stuck for far too long in holiday mode. We haven’t missed much. There were only two papers in the month of December, since, I’m assuming, many of us were entering holiday mode.

Testing in the bounded-degree graph model with degree bound two by Oded Goldreich and Laliv Tauber (ECCC). One of great, central results in graph property testing is that all monotone properties are testable (with query complexity independent on graph size) on dense graphs. The sparse graph universe is far, far, more complicated and interesting. Even for graphs with degree bound 3, natural graph properties can have anywhere from constant to linear (in \(n\)) query complexity. This note shows that when considering graphs with degree bound at most 2, the landscape is quite plain. The paper shows that all properties are testable in \(poly(\varepsilon^{-1})\). Any graph with degree at most 2 is a collection of paths and cycles. In \(poly(\varepsilon^{-1})\) queries, one can approximately learn the graph. (After which the testing problem is trivial.) The paper gives a simple \(O(\varepsilon^{-4})\) query algorithm, which is improved to the nearly optimal \(\widetilde{O}(\varepsilon^{-2})\) bound.

On the power of nonstandard quantum oracles by Roozbeh Bassirian, Bill Fefferman, and Kunal Marwaha (arXiv). This paper is on the power of oracles in quantum computation. An important question in quantum complexity theory is whether \(QCMA\) is a strict subset of \(QMA\). The former consists of languages decided by Merlin-Arthur quantum protocols with a classical witness (the string that Merlin provides). The latter class allows Merlin to be a quantum witness. This paper shows a property testing problem where such a separation is shown. The property is essentially graph non-expansion (does there exist a set of low conductance?). The input graph should be thought of as an even (bounded) degree with “exponentially many” vertices. So it has \(N = 2^n\) vertices. The graph is represented through a special “graph-coded” function. The paper shows that there is a \(poly(n)\)-sized quantum witness for non-expansion that can be verified in \(poly(n)\) time, which includes queries to the graph-coded function. On the other hand, there is no classic \(poly(n)\)-sized witness that can be verified in \(poly(n)\) queries to the graph-coded function. (Informally speaking, any \(QCMA\) protocol needs exponentially many queries to the graph.)

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