Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Communication complexity and information complexity
by Pankratov, Denis, Ph.D., The University of Chicago, 2015, 188; 3711791
Abstract (Summary)

Information complexity enables the use of information-theoretic tools in communication complexity theory. Prior to the results presented in this thesis, information complexity was mainly used for proving lower bounds and direct-sum theorems in the setting of communication complexity. We present three results that demonstrate new connections between information complexity and communication complexity.

In the first contribution we thoroughly study the information complexity of the smallest nontrivial two-party function: the AND function. While computing the communication complexity of AND is trivial, computing its exact information complexity presents a major technical challenge. In overcoming this challenge, we reveal that information complexity gives rise to rich geometrical structures. Our analysis of information complexity relies on new analytic techniques and new characterizations of communication protocols. We also uncover a connection of information complexity to the theory of elliptic partial differential equations. Once we compute the exact information complexity of AND, we can compute exact communication complexity of several related functions on n-bit inputs with some additional technical work. Previous combinatorial and algebraic techniques could only prove bounds of the form Θ( n). Interestingly, this level of precision is typical in the area of information theory, so our result demonstrates that this meta-property of precise bounds carries over to information complexity and in certain cases even to communication complexity. Our result does not only strengthen the lower bound on communication complexity of disjointness by making it more exact, but it also shows that information complexity provides the exact upper bound on communication complexity. In fact, this result is more general and applies to a whole class of communication problems.

In the second contribution, we use self-reduction methods to prove strong lower bounds on the information complexity of two of the most studied functions in the communication complexity literature: Gap Hamming Distance (GHD) and Inner Product mod 2 (IP). In our first result we affirm the conjecture that the information complexity of GHD is linear even under the uniform distribution. This strengthens the Ω(n) bound shown by Kerenidis et al. (2012) and answers an open problem by Chakrabarti et al. (2012). We also prove that the information complexity of IP is arbitrarily close to the trivial upper bound n as the permitted error tends to zero, again strengthening the Ω(n) lower bound proved by Braverman and Weinstein (2011). More importantly, our proofs demonstrate that self-reducibility makes the connection between information complexity and communication complexity lower bounds a two-way connection. Whereas numerous results in the past used information complexity techniques to derive new communication complexity lower bounds, we explore a generic way, in which communication complexity lower bounds imply information complexity lower bounds in a black-box manner.

In the third contribution we consider the roles that private and public randomness play in the definition of information complexity. In communication complexity, private randomness can be trivially simulated by public randomness. Moreover, the communication cost of simulating public randomness with private randomness is well understood due to Newman's theorem (1991). In information complexity, the roles of public and private randomness are reversed: public randomness can be trivially simulated by private randomness. However, the information cost of simulating private randomness with public randomness is not understood. We show that protocols that use only public randomness admit a rather strong compression. In particular, efficient simulation of private randomness by public randomness would imply a version of a direct sum theorem in the setting of communication complexity. This establishes a yet another connection between the two areas. (Abstract shortened by UMI.)

Indexing (document details)
 Advisor: Babai, Laszlo Commitee: Babai, Laszlo, Razborov, Alexander, Tulsiani, Madhur School: The University of Chicago Department: Computer Science School Location: United States -- Illinois Source: DAI-B 76/11(E), Dissertation Abstracts International Source Type: DISSERTATION Subjects: Mathematics, Information science, Computer science Keywords: Communication complexity, Computational complexity theory, Disjointness, Gap hamming distance, Information complexity, Information theory Publication Number: 3711791 ISBN: 978-1-321-88202-5