Tight Chang’s-Lemma-Type Bounds for Boolean Functions

Authors Sourav Chakraborty, Nikhil S. Mande, Rajat Mittal, Tulasimohan Molli, Manaswi Paraashar, Swagato Sanyal

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Author Details

Sourav Chakraborty
  • Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata, India
Nikhil S. Mande
  • CWI, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Rajat Mittal
  • Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, India
Tulasimohan Molli
  • Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai, India
Manaswi Paraashar
  • Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata, India
Swagato Sanyal
  • Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, India


T.M. would like to thank Prahladh Harsha and Ramprasad Saptharishi for helpful discussions.

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Sourav Chakraborty, Nikhil S. Mande, Rajat Mittal, Tulasimohan Molli, Manaswi Paraashar, and Swagato Sanyal. Tight Chang’s-Lemma-Type Bounds for Boolean Functions. In 41st IARCS Annual Conference on Foundations of Software Technology and Theoretical Computer Science (FSTTCS 2021). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 213, pp. 10:1-10:22, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2021)


Chang’s lemma (Duke Mathematical Journal, 2002) is a classical result in mathematics, with applications spanning across additive combinatorics, combinatorial number theory, analysis of Boolean functions, communication complexity and algorithm design. For a Boolean function f that takes values in {-1, 1} let r(f) denote its Fourier rank (i.e., the dimension of the span of its Fourier support). For each positive threshold t, Chang’s lemma provides a lower bound on δ(f) := Pr[f(x) = -1] in terms of the dimension of the span of its characters with Fourier coefficients of magnitude at least 1/t. In this work we examine the tightness of Chang’s lemma with respect to the following three natural settings of the threshold: - the Fourier sparsity of f, denoted k(f), - the Fourier max-supp-entropy of f, denoted k'(f), defined to be the maximum value of the reciprocal of the absolute value of a non-zero Fourier coefficient, - the Fourier max-rank-entropy of f, denoted k''(f), defined to be the minimum t such that characters whose coefficients are at least 1/t in magnitude span a r(f)-dimensional space. In this work we prove new lower bounds on δ(f) in terms of the above measures. One of our lower bounds, δ(f) = Ω(r(f)²/(k(f) log² k(f))), subsumes and refines the previously best known upper bound r(f) = O(√{k(f)}log k(f)) on r(f) in terms of k(f) by Sanyal (Theory of Computing, 2019). We improve upon this bound and show r(f) = O(√{k(f)δ(f)}log k(f)). Another lower bound, δ(f) = Ω(r(f)/(k''(f) log k(f))), is based on our improvement of a bound by Chattopadhyay, Hatami, Lovett and Tal (ITCS, 2019) on the sum of absolute values of level-1 Fourier coefficients in terms of 𝔽₂-degree. We further show that Chang’s lemma for the above-mentioned choices of the threshold is asymptotically outperformed by our bounds for most settings of the parameters involved. Next, we show that our bounds are tight for a wide range of the parameters involved, by constructing functions witnessing their tightness. All the functions we construct are modifications of the Addressing function, where we replace certain input variables by suitable functions. Our final contribution is to construct Boolean functions f for which our lower bounds asymptotically match δ(f), and for any choice of the threshold t, the lower bound obtained from Chang’s lemma is asymptotically smaller than δ(f). Our results imply more refined deterministic one-way communication complexity upper bounds for XOR functions. Given the wide-ranging application of Chang’s lemma to areas like additive combinatorics, learning theory and communication complexity, we strongly feel that our refinements of Chang’s lemma will find many more applications.

Subject Classification

ACM Subject Classification
  • Theory of computation → Oracles and decision trees
  • Theory of computation → Communication complexity
  • Analysis of Boolean functions
  • Chang’s lemma
  • Parity decision trees
  • Fourier dimension


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