Near-Optimal Erasure List-Decodable Codes

Authors Avraham Ben-Aroya, Dean Doron, Amnon Ta-Shma

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Avraham Ben-Aroya
  • The Blavatnik School of Computer Science, Tel-Aviv University, Israel
Dean Doron
  • Department of Computer Science, Stanford University, CA, US
Amnon Ta-Shma
  • The Blavatnik School of Computer Science, Tel-Aviv University, Israel

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Avraham Ben-Aroya, Dean Doron, and Amnon Ta-Shma. Near-Optimal Erasure List-Decodable Codes. In 35th Computational Complexity Conference (CCC 2020). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 169, pp. 1:1-1:27, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2020)


A code 𝒞 ⊆ {0,1}^n̅ is (s,L) erasure list-decodable if for every word w, after erasing any s symbols of w, the remaining n̅-s symbols have at most L possible completions into a codeword of 𝒞. Non-explicitly, there exist binary ((1-τ)n̅,L) erasure list-decodable codes with rate approaching τ and tiny list-size L = O(log 1/(τ)). Achieving either of these parameters explicitly is a natural open problem (see, e.g., [Guruswami and Indyk, 2002; Guruswami, 2003; Guruswami, 2004]). While partial progress on the problem has been achieved, no prior nontrivial explicit construction achieved rate better than Ω(τ²) or list-size smaller than Ω(1/τ). Furthermore, Guruswami showed no linear code can have list-size smaller than Ω(1/τ) [Guruswami, 2003]. We construct an explicit binary ((1-τ)n̅,L) erasure list-decodable code having rate τ^(1+γ) (for any constant γ > 0 and small τ) and list-size poly(log 1/τ), answering simultaneously both questions, and exhibiting an explicit non-linear code that provably beats the best possible linear code. The binary erasure list-decoding problem is equivalent to the construction of explicit, low-error, strong dispersers outputting one bit with minimal entropy-loss and seed-length. For error ε, no prior explicit construction achieved seed-length better than 2log(1/ε) or entropy-loss smaller than 2log(1/ε), which are the best possible parameters for extractors. We explicitly construct an ε-error one-bit strong disperser with near-optimal seed-length (1+γ)log(1/ε) and entropy-loss O(log log1/ε). The main ingredient in our construction is a new (and almost-optimal) unbalanced two-source extractor. The extractor extracts one bit with constant error from two independent sources, where one source has length n and tiny min-entropy O(log log n) and the other source has length O(log n) and arbitrarily small constant min-entropy rate. When instantiated as a balanced two-source extractor, it improves upon Raz’s extractor [Raz, 2005] in the constant error regime. The construction incorporates recent components and ideas from extractor theory with a delicate and novel analysis needed in order to solve dependency and error issues that prevented previous papers (such as [Li, 2015; Chattopadhyay and Zuckerman, 2019; Cohen, 2016]) from achieving the above results.

Subject Classification

ACM Subject Classification
  • Theory of computation → Expander graphs and randomness extractors
  • Theory of computation → Error-correcting codes
  • Theory of computation → Pseudorandomness and derandomization
  • Dispersers
  • Erasure codes
  • List decoding
  • Ramsey graphs
  • Two-source extractors


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