List-Decoding Homomorphism Codes with Arbitrary Codomains

Authors László Babai , Timothy J. F. Black , Angela Wuu

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László Babai
  • University of Chicago, Chicago IL, USA
Timothy J. F. Black
  • University of Chicago, Chicago IL, USA
Angela Wuu
  • University of Chicago, Chicago IL, USA

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László Babai, Timothy J. F. Black, and Angela Wuu. List-Decoding Homomorphism Codes with Arbitrary Codomains. In Approximation, Randomization, and Combinatorial Optimization. Algorithms and Techniques (APPROX/RANDOM 2018). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 116, pp. 29:1-29:18, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2018)


The codewords of the homomorphism code aHom(G,H) are the affine homomorphisms between two finite groups, G and H, generalizing Hadamard codes. Following the work of Goldreich-Levin (1989), Grigorescu et al. (2006), Dinur et al. (2008), and Guo and Sudan (2014), we further expand the range of groups for which local list-decoding is possible up to mindist, the minimum distance of the code. In particular, for the first time, we do not require either G or H to be solvable. Specifically, we demonstrate a poly(1/epsilon) bound on the list size, i. e., on the number of codewords within distance (mindist-epsilon) from any received word, when G is either abelian or an alternating group, and H is an arbitrary (finite or infinite) group. We conjecture that a similar bound holds for all finite simple groups as domains; the alternating groups serve as the first test case. The abelian vs. arbitrary result permits us to adapt previous techniques to obtain efficient local list-decoding for this case. We also obtain efficient local list-decoding for the permutation representations of alternating groups (the codomain is a symmetric group) under the restriction that the domain G=A_n is paired with codomain H=S_m satisfying m < 2^{n-1}/sqrt{n}. The limitations on the codomain in the latter case arise from severe technical difficulties stemming from the need to solve the homomorphism extension (HomExt) problem in certain cases; these are addressed in a separate paper (Wuu 2018). We introduce an intermediate "semi-algorithmic" model we call Certificate List-Decoding that bypasses the HomExt bottleneck and works in the alternating vs. arbitrary setting. A certificate list-decoder produces partial homomorphisms that uniquely extend to the homomorphisms in the list. A homomorphism extender applied to a list of certificates yields the desired list.

Subject Classification

ACM Subject Classification
  • Mathematics of computing → Coding theory
  • Mathematics of computing → Probabilistic algorithms
  • Error-correcting codes
  • Local algorithms
  • Local list-decoding
  • Finite groups
  • Homomorphism codes


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