Locally decodable codes with 2 queries and polynomial identity testing for depth 3 circuits

Zeev Dvir, Amir Shpilka

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


In this work we study two, seemingly unrelated, notions. Locally Decodable Codes (LDCs) are codes that allow the recovery of each message bit from a constant number of entries of the codeword. Polynomial Identity Testing (PIT) is one of the fundamental problems of algebraic complexity: we are given a circuit computing a multivariate polynomial and we have to determine whether the polynomial is identically zero. We improve known results on locally decodable codes and on polynomial identity testing and show a relation between the two notions. In particular we obtain the following results: 1. We show that if E: double struck F signn → double struck F sign mis a linear LDC with 2 queries then m = exp(Ω(n)). Previously this was only known for fields of size ≪ 2n [18]. 2. We show that from every depth 3 arithmetic circuit (∑Π∑ circuit), C, with a bounded (constant) top fan-in that computes the zero polynomial, one can construct a locally decodeable code. More formally: Assume that C is minimal (no subset of the multiplication gates sums to zero) and simple (no linear function appears in all the multiplication gates). Denote by d the degree of the polynomial computed by C and by r the rank of the linear functions appearing in C. Then we can construct a linear LDC with 2 queries, that encodes messages of length r/polylog(d) by codewords of length O(d). 3. We prove a structural theorem for ∑Π∑ circuits, with a bounded top fan-in, that compute the zero polynomial. In particular we show that if such a circuit is simple and minimal and of polynomial size then its rank, r, is only polylogarithmic in the number of variables (a priory it could have been linear). 4. We give new PIT algorithms for ∑Π∑ circuits with a bounded top fan-in: (a) A deterministic algorithm that runs in quasi polynomial time. (b) A randomized algorithm that runs in polynomial time and uses only polylogarithmic number of random bits. Moreover, when the circuit is multilinear our deterministic algorithm runs in polynomial time. Previously, deterministic subexponential time algorithms for PIT in bounded depth circuits were known only for depth 2 circuits (in the black box model) [22, 9, 28]. In particular, for the special case of depth 3 circuits with 3 multiplication gates our result resolves an open question asked by Klivans and Spielman [28].

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)592-601
Number of pages10
JournalProceedings of the Annual ACM Symposium on Theory of Computing
StatePublished - 2005
Externally publishedYes
Event13th Color Imaging Conference: Color Science, Systems, Technologies, and Applications - Scottsdale, AZ, United States
Duration: Nov 7 2005Nov 11 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Software


  • Depth 3 circuits
  • Locally decodable codes
  • Polynomial identity testing


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