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**Published in:** LIPIcs, Volume 124, 10th Innovations in Theoretical Computer Science Conference (ITCS 2019)

We introduce a simple logical inference structure we call a spanoid (generalizing the notion of a matroid), which captures well-studied problems in several areas. These include combinatorial geometry (point-line incidences), algebra (arrangements of hypersurfaces and ideals), statistical physics (bootstrap percolation), network theory (gossip / infection processes) and coding theory. We initiate a thorough investigation of spanoids, from computational and structural viewpoints, focusing on parameters relevant to the applications areas above and, in particular, to questions regarding Locally Correctable Codes (LCCs).
One central parameter we study is the rank of a spanoid, extending the rank of a matroid and related to the dimension of codes. This leads to one main application of our work, establishing the first known barrier to improving the nearly 20-year old bound of Katz-Trevisan (KT) on the dimension of LCCs. On the one hand, we prove that the KT bound (and its more recent refinements) holds for the much more general setting of spanoid rank. On the other hand we show that there exist (random) spanoids whose rank matches these bounds. Thus, to significantly improve the known bounds one must step out of the spanoid framework.
Another parameter we explore is the functional rank of a spanoid, which captures the possibility of turning a given spanoid into an actual code. The question of the relationship between rank and functional rank is one of the main questions we raise as it may reveal new avenues for constructing new LCCs (perhaps even matching the KT bound). As a first step, we develop an entropy relaxation of functional rank to create a small constant gap and amplify it by tensoring to construct a spanoid whose functional rank is smaller than rank by a polynomial factor. This is evidence that the entropy method we develop can prove polynomially better bounds than KT-type methods on the dimension of LCCs.
To facilitate the above results we also develop some basic structural results on spanoids including an equivalent formulation of spanoids as set systems and properties of spanoid products. We feel that given these initial findings and their motivations, the abstract study of spanoids merits further investigation. We leave plenty of concrete open problems and directions.

Zeev Dvir, Sivakanth Gopi, Yuzhou Gu, and Avi Wigderson. Spanoids - An Abstraction of Spanning Structures, and a Barrier for LCCs. In 10th Innovations in Theoretical Computer Science Conference (ITCS 2019). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 124, pp. 32:1-32:20, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2019)

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@InProceedings{dvir_et_al:LIPIcs.ITCS.2019.32, author = {Dvir, Zeev and Gopi, Sivakanth and Gu, Yuzhou and Wigderson, Avi}, title = {{Spanoids - An Abstraction of Spanning Structures, and a Barrier for LCCs}}, booktitle = {10th Innovations in Theoretical Computer Science Conference (ITCS 2019)}, pages = {32:1--32:20}, series = {Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs)}, ISBN = {978-3-95977-095-8}, ISSN = {1868-8969}, year = {2019}, volume = {124}, editor = {Blum, Avrim}, publisher = {Schloss Dagstuhl -- Leibniz-Zentrum f{\"u}r Informatik}, address = {Dagstuhl, Germany}, URL = {https://drops.dagstuhl.de/entities/document/10.4230/LIPIcs.ITCS.2019.32}, URN = {urn:nbn:de:0030-drops-101258}, doi = {10.4230/LIPIcs.ITCS.2019.32}, annote = {Keywords: Locally correctable codes, spanoids, entropy, bootstrap percolation, gossip spreading, matroid, union-closed family} }

Document

**Published in:** LIPIcs, Volume 67, 8th Innovations in Theoretical Computer Science Conference (ITCS 2017)

Locally decodable codes (LDCs) are error correcting codes that allow for decoding of a single message bit using a small number of queries to a corrupted encoding. Despite decades of study, the optimal trade-off between query complexity and codeword length is far from understood. In this work, we give a new characterization of LDCs using distributions over Boolean functions whose expectation is hard to approximate (in L_\infty norm) with a small number of samples. We coin the term 'outlaw distributions' for such distributions since they 'defy' the Law of Large Numbers. We show that the existence of outlaw distributions over sufficiently
'smooth' functions implies the existence of constant query LDCs and vice versa. We give several candidates for outlaw distributions over smooth functions coming from finite field incidence geometry and from hypergraph (non)expanders.
We also prove a useful lemma showing that (smooth) LDCs which are only required to work on average over a random message and a random message index can be turned into true LDCs at the cost of only constant factors in the parameters.

Jop Briët, Zeev Dvir, and Sivakanth Gopi. Outlaw Distributions and Locally Decodable Codes. In 8th Innovations in Theoretical Computer Science Conference (ITCS 2017). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 67, pp. 20:1-20:19, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2017)

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@InProceedings{briet_et_al:LIPIcs.ITCS.2017.20, author = {Bri\"{e}t, Jop and Dvir, Zeev and Gopi, Sivakanth}, title = {{Outlaw Distributions and Locally Decodable Codes}}, booktitle = {8th Innovations in Theoretical Computer Science Conference (ITCS 2017)}, pages = {20:1--20:19}, series = {Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs)}, ISBN = {978-3-95977-029-3}, ISSN = {1868-8969}, year = {2017}, volume = {67}, editor = {Papadimitriou, Christos H.}, publisher = {Schloss Dagstuhl -- Leibniz-Zentrum f{\"u}r Informatik}, address = {Dagstuhl, Germany}, URL = {https://drops.dagstuhl.de/entities/document/10.4230/LIPIcs.ITCS.2017.20}, URN = {urn:nbn:de:0030-drops-81888}, doi = {10.4230/LIPIcs.ITCS.2017.20}, annote = {Keywords: Locally Decodable Code, VC-dimension, Incidence Geometry, Cayley Hypergraphs} }

Document

**Published in:** LIPIcs, Volume 81, Approximation, Randomization, and Combinatorial Optimization. Algorithms and Techniques (APPROX/RANDOM 2017)

A locally correctable code (LCC) is an error correcting code that allows correction of any arbitrary coordinate of a corrupted codeword by querying only a few coordinates. We show that any 2-query locally correctable code C:{0,1}^k -> Sigma^n that can correct a constant fraction of corrupted symbols must have n >= exp(k/\log|Sigma|) under the assumption that the LCC is zero-error. We say that an LCC is zero-error if there exists a non-adaptive corrector algorithm that succeeds with probability 1 when the input is an uncorrupted codeword. All known constructions of LCCs are zero-error.
Our result is tight upto constant factors in the exponent. The only previous lower bound on the length of 2-query LCCs over large alphabet was Omega((k/log|\Sigma|)^2) due to Katz and Trevisan (STOC 2000). Our bound implies that zero-error LCCs cannot yield 2-server private information retrieval (PIR) schemes with sub-polynomial communication. Since there exists a 2-server PIR scheme with sub-polynomial communication (STOC 2015) based on a zero-error 2-query locally decodable code (LDC), we also obtain a separation between LDCs and LCCs over large alphabet.

Arnab Bhattacharyya, Sivakanth Gopi, and Avishay Tal. Lower Bounds for 2-Query LCCs over Large Alphabet. In Approximation, Randomization, and Combinatorial Optimization. Algorithms and Techniques (APPROX/RANDOM 2017). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 81, pp. 30:1-30:20, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2017)

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@InProceedings{bhattacharyya_et_al:LIPIcs.APPROX-RANDOM.2017.30, author = {Bhattacharyya, Arnab and Gopi, Sivakanth and Tal, Avishay}, title = {{Lower Bounds for 2-Query LCCs over Large Alphabet}}, booktitle = {Approximation, Randomization, and Combinatorial Optimization. Algorithms and Techniques (APPROX/RANDOM 2017)}, pages = {30:1--30:20}, series = {Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs)}, ISBN = {978-3-95977-044-6}, ISSN = {1868-8969}, year = {2017}, volume = {81}, editor = {Jansen, Klaus and Rolim, Jos\'{e} D. P. and Williamson, David P. and Vempala, Santosh S.}, publisher = {Schloss Dagstuhl -- Leibniz-Zentrum f{\"u}r Informatik}, address = {Dagstuhl, Germany}, URL = {https://drops.dagstuhl.de/entities/document/10.4230/LIPIcs.APPROX-RANDOM.2017.30}, URN = {urn:nbn:de:0030-drops-75792}, doi = {10.4230/LIPIcs.APPROX-RANDOM.2017.30}, annote = {Keywords: Locally correctable code, Private information retrieval, Szemer\'{e}di regularity lemma} }

Document

**Published in:** LIPIcs, Volume 50, 31st Conference on Computational Complexity (CCC 2016)

Affine-invariant codes are codes whose coordinates form a vector space over a finite field and which are invariant under affine transformations of the coordinate space. They form a natural, well-studied class of codes; they include popular codes such as Reed-Muller and Reed-Solomon. A particularly appealing feature of affine-invariant codes is that they seem well-suited to admit local correctors and testers.
In this work, we give lower bounds on the length of locally correctable and locally testable affine-invariant codes with constant query complexity. We show that if a code C subset Sigma^{K^n} is an r-query locally correctable code (LCC), where K is a finite field and Sigma is a finite alphabet, then the number of codewords in C is at most exp(O_{K, r, |Sigma|}(n^{r-1})). Also, we show that if C subset Sigma^{K^n} is an r-query locally testable code (LTC), then the number of codewords in C is at most \exp(O_{K, r, |Sigma|}(n^{r-2})). The dependence on n in these bounds is tight for constant-query LCCs/LTCs, since Guo, Kopparty and Sudan (ITCS 2013) construct affine-invariant codes via lifting that have the same asymptotic tradeoffs. Note that our result holds for non-linear codes, whereas previously, Ben-Sasson and Sudan (RANDOM 2011) assumed linearity to derive similar results.
Our analysis uses higher-order Fourier analysis. In particular, we show that the codewords corresponding to an affine-invariant LCC/LTC must be far from each other with respect to Gowers norm of an appropriate order. This then allows us to bound the number of codewords, using known decomposition theorems which approximate any bounded function in terms of a finite number of low-degree non-classical polynomials, upto a small error in the Gowers norm.

Arnab Bhattacharyya and Sivakanth Gopi. Lower Bounds for Constant Query Affine-Invariant LCCs and LTCs. In 31st Conference on Computational Complexity (CCC 2016). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 50, pp. 12:1-12:17, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2016)

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@InProceedings{bhattacharyya_et_al:LIPIcs.CCC.2016.12, author = {Bhattacharyya, Arnab and Gopi, Sivakanth}, title = {{Lower Bounds for Constant Query Affine-Invariant LCCs and LTCs}}, booktitle = {31st Conference on Computational Complexity (CCC 2016)}, pages = {12:1--12:17}, series = {Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs)}, ISBN = {978-3-95977-008-8}, ISSN = {1868-8969}, year = {2016}, volume = {50}, editor = {Raz, Ran}, publisher = {Schloss Dagstuhl -- Leibniz-Zentrum f{\"u}r Informatik}, address = {Dagstuhl, Germany}, URL = {https://drops.dagstuhl.de/entities/document/10.4230/LIPIcs.CCC.2016.12}, URN = {urn:nbn:de:0030-drops-58400}, doi = {10.4230/LIPIcs.CCC.2016.12}, annote = {Keywords: Locally correctable code, Locally testable code, Affine Invariance, Gowers uniformity norm} }

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**Published in:** LIPIcs, Volume 34, 31st International Symposium on Computational Geometry (SoCG 2015)

We prove a new upper bound on the number of r-rich lines (lines with at least r points) in a 'truly' d-dimensional configuration of points v_1,...,v_n over the complex numbers. More formally, we show that, if the number of r-rich lines is significantly larger than n^2/r^d then there must exist a large subset of the points contained in a hyperplane. We conjecture that the factor r^d can be replaced with a tight r^{d+1}. If true, this would generalize the classic Szemeredi-Trotter theorem which gives a bound of n^2/r^3 on the number of r-rich lines in a planar configuration. This conjecture was shown to hold in R^3 in the seminal work of Guth and Katz and was also recently proved over R^4 (under some additional restrictions) by Solomon and Sharir. For the special case of arithmetic progressions (r collinear points that are evenly distanced) we give a bound that is tight up to lower order terms, showing that a d-dimensional grid achieves the largest number of r-term progressions.
The main ingredient in the proof is a new method to find a low degree polynomial that vanishes on many of the rich lines. Unlike previous applications of the polynomial method, we do not find this polynomial by interpolation. The starting observation is that the degree r-2 Veronese embedding takes r-collinear points to r linearly dependent images. Hence, each collinear r-tuple of points, gives us a dependent r-tuple of images. We then use the design-matrix method of Barak et al. to convert these 'local' linear dependencies into a global one, showing that all the images lie in a hyperplane. This then translates into a low degree polynomial vanishing on the original set.

Zeev Dvir and Sivakanth Gopi. On the Number of Rich Lines in Truly High Dimensional Sets. In 31st International Symposium on Computational Geometry (SoCG 2015). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 34, pp. 584-598, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2015)

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@InProceedings{dvir_et_al:LIPIcs.SOCG.2015.584, author = {Dvir, Zeev and Gopi, Sivakanth}, title = {{On the Number of Rich Lines in Truly High Dimensional Sets}}, booktitle = {31st International Symposium on Computational Geometry (SoCG 2015)}, pages = {584--598}, series = {Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs)}, ISBN = {978-3-939897-83-5}, ISSN = {1868-8969}, year = {2015}, volume = {34}, editor = {Arge, Lars and Pach, J\'{a}nos}, publisher = {Schloss Dagstuhl -- Leibniz-Zentrum f{\"u}r Informatik}, address = {Dagstuhl, Germany}, URL = {https://drops.dagstuhl.de/entities/document/10.4230/LIPIcs.SOCG.2015.584}, URN = {urn:nbn:de:0030-drops-51110}, doi = {10.4230/LIPIcs.SOCG.2015.584}, annote = {Keywords: Incidences, Combinatorial Geometry, Designs, Polynomial Method, Additive Combinatorics} }