Pseudo-Derandomizing Learning and Approximation

Authors Igor Carboni Oliveira, Rahul Santhanam

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Igor Carboni Oliveira
  • Department of Computer Science, University of Oxford, United Kingdom.
Rahul Santhanam
  • Department of Computer Science, University of Oxford, United Kingdom.

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Igor Carboni Oliveira and Rahul Santhanam. Pseudo-Derandomizing Learning and Approximation. In Approximation, Randomization, and Combinatorial Optimization. Algorithms and Techniques (APPROX/RANDOM 2018). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 116, pp. 55:1-55:19, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2018)


We continue the study of pseudo-deterministic algorithms initiated by Gat and Goldwasser [Eran Gat and Shafi Goldwasser, 2011]. A pseudo-deterministic algorithm is a probabilistic algorithm which produces a fixed output with high probability. We explore pseudo-determinism in the settings of learning and approximation. Our goal is to simulate known randomized algorithms in these settings by pseudo-deterministic algorithms in a generic fashion - a goal we succinctly term pseudo-derandomization. Learning. In the setting of learning with membership queries, we first show that randomized learning algorithms can be derandomized (resp. pseudo-derandomized) under the standard hardness assumption that E (resp. BPE) requires large Boolean circuits. Thus, despite the fact that learning is an algorithmic task that requires interaction with an oracle, standard hardness assumptions suffice to (pseudo-)derandomize it. We also unconditionally pseudo-derandomize any {quasi-polynomial} time learning algorithm for polynomial size circuits on infinitely many input lengths in sub-exponential time. Next, we establish a generic connection between learning and derandomization in the reverse direction, by showing that deterministic (resp. pseudo-deterministic) learning algorithms for a concept class C imply hitting sets against C that are computable deterministically (resp. pseudo-deterministically). In particular, this suggests a new approach to constructing hitting set generators against AC^0[p] circuits by giving a deterministic learning algorithm for AC^0[p]. Approximation. Turning to approximation, we unconditionally pseudo-derandomize any poly-time randomized approximation scheme for integer-valued functions infinitely often in subexponential time over any samplable distribution on inputs. As a corollary, we get that the (0,1)-Permanent has a fully pseudo-deterministic approximation scheme running in sub-exponential time infinitely often over any samplable distribution on inputs. Finally, we {investigate} the notion of approximate canonization of Boolean circuits. We use a connection between pseudodeterministic learning and approximate canonization to show that if BPE does not have sub-exponential size circuits infinitely often, then there is a pseudo-deterministic approximate canonizer for AC^0[p] computable in quasi-polynomial time.

Subject Classification

ACM Subject Classification
  • Theory of computation → Pseudorandomness and derandomization
  • derandomization
  • learning
  • approximation
  • boolean circuits


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