Barriers for Rank Methods in Arithmetic Complexity [article]

Klim Efremenko and Ankit Garg and Rafael Oliveira and Avi Wigderson
2017 arXiv   pre-print
Arithmetic complexity is considered simpler to understand than Boolean complexity, namely computing Boolean functions via logical gates. And indeed, we seem to have significantly more lower bound techniques and results in arithmetic complexity than in Boolean complexity. Despite many successes and rapid progress, however, challenges like proving super-polynomial lower bounds on circuit or formula size for explicit polynomials, or super-linear lower bounds on explicit 3-dimensional tensors,
more » ... n elusive. At the same time, we have plenty more "barrier results" for failing to prove basic lower bounds in Boolean complexity than in arithmetic complexity. Finding barriers to arithmetic lower bound techniques seem harder, and despite some attempts we have no excuses of similar quality for these failures in arithmetic complexity. This paper aims to add to this study. We address rank methods, which were long recognized as encompassing and abstracting almost all known arithmetic lower bounds to-date, including the most recent impressive successes. Rank methods (or flattenings) are also in wide use in algebraic geometry for proving tensor rank and symmetric tensor rank lower bounds. Our main results are barriers to these methods. In particular, 1. Rank methods cannot prove better than Ω_d (n^ d/2 ) lower bound on the tensor rank of any d-dimensional tensor of side n. (In particular, they cannot prove super-linear, indeed even >8n tensor rank lower bounds for any 3-dimensional tensors.) 2. Rank methods cannot prove Ω_d (n^ d/2 ) on the Waring rank of any n-variate polynomial of degree d. (In particular, they cannot prove such lower bounds on stronger models, including depth-3 circuits.)
arXiv:1710.09502v1 fatcat:q77slcdltfa7hh5awrcko2wmbq