Quasipolynomial-time Identity Testing of Non-Commutative and Read-Once Oblivious Algebraic Branching Programs
We study the problem of obtaining deterministic black-box polynomial identity testing algorithms (PIT) for algebraic branching programs (ABPs) that are read-once and oblivious. This class has an deterministic white-box polynomial identity testing algorithm (due to Raz and Shpilka), but prior to this work there was no known such black-box algorithm. The main result of this work gives the first quasi-polynomial sized hitting sets for size S circuits from this class, when the order of the
... is known. As our hitting set is of size exp(lg^2 S), this is analogous (in the terminology of boolean pseudorandomness) to a seed-length of lg^2 S, which is the seed length of the pseudorandom generators of Nisan and Impagliazzo-Nisan-Wigderson for read-once oblivious boolean branching programs. Our results are stronger for branching programs of bounded width, where we give a hitting set of size exp(lg^2 S/lglg S), corresponding to a seed length of lg^2 S/lglg S. This is in stark contrast to the known results for read-once oblivious boolean branching programs of bounded width, where no pseudorandom generator (or hitting set) with seed length o(lg^2 S) is known. In follow up work, we strengthened a result of Mulmuley, and showed that derandomizing a particular case of the Noether Normalization Lemma is reducible to black-box PIT of read-once oblivious ABPs. Using the results of the present work, this gives a derandomization of Noether Normalization in that case, which Mulmuley conjectured would difficult due to its relations to problems in algebraic geometry. We also show that several other circuit classes can be black-box reduced to read-once oblivious ABPs, including set-multilinear ABPs (a generalization of depth-3 set-multilinear formulas), non-commutative ABPs (generalizing non-commutative formulas), and (semi-)diagonal depth-4 circuits (as introduced by Saxena).