Degree and Sensitivity: tails of two distributions [article]

Parikshit Gopalan, Rocco Servedio, Avishay Tal, Avi Wigderson
2016 arXiv   pre-print
The sensitivity of a Boolean function f is the maximum over all inputs x, of the number of sensitive coordinates of x. The well-known sensitivity conjecture of Nisan (see also Nisan and Szegedy) states that every sensitivity-s Boolean function can be computed by a polynomial over the reals of degree poly(s). The best known upper bounds on degree, however, are exponential rather than polynomial in s. Our main result is an approximate version of the conjecture: every Boolean function with
more » ... ity s can be epsilon-approximated (in L_2) by a polynomial whose degree is O(s log(1/epsilon)). This is the first improvement on the folklore bound of s/epsilon. Further, we show that improving the bound to O(s^c log(1/epsilon)^d) for any d < 1 and any c > 0 will imply the sensitivity conjecture. Thus our result is essentially the best one can hope for without proving the conjecture. We postulate a robust analogue of the sensitivity conjecture: if most inputs to a Boolean function f have low sensitivity, then most of the Fourier mass of f is concentrated on small subsets, and present an approach towards proving this conjecture.
arXiv:1604.07432v1 fatcat:rb7puf3tbfftphxyou4tc2karu