Characterizing Direct Product Testing via Coboundary Expansion

by   Mitali Bafna, et al.

A d-dimensional simplicial complex X is said to support a direct product tester if any locally consistent function defined on its k-faces (where k≪ d) necessarily come from a function over its vertices. More precisely, a direct product tester has a distribution μ over pairs of k-faces (A,A'), and given query access to F X(k)→{0,1}^k it samples (A,A')∼μ and checks that F[A]|_A∩ A' = F[A']|_A∩ A'. The tester should have (1) the "completeness property", meaning that any assignment F which is a direct product assignment passes the test with probability 1, and (2) the "soundness property", meaning that if F passes the test with probability s, then F must be correlated with a direct product function. Dinur and Kaufman showed that a sufficiently good spectral expanding complex X admits a direct product tester in the "high soundness" regime where s is close to 1. They asked whether there are high dimensional expanders that support direct product tests in the "low soundness", when s is close to 0. We give a characterization of high-dimensional expanders that support a direct product tester in the low soundness regime. We show that spectral expansion is insufficient, and the complex must additionally satisfy a variant of coboundary expansion, which we refer to as Unique-Games coboundary expanders. This property can be seen as a high-dimensional generalization of the standard notion of coboundary expansion over non-Abelian groups for 2-dimensional complexes. It asserts that any locally consistent Unique-Games instance obtained using the low-level faces of the complex, must admit a good global solution.


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