School of Mathematics

Average Sensitivity of Polynomial Threshold Functions

Rocco Servedio
Columbia University
February 22, 2010

How many edges of the n-dimensional Boolean hypercube can be sliced by a degree-d polynomial surface? This question can be equivalently stated as "What is the maximum average sensitivity of any degree-d polynomial threshold function?" In 1994 Gotsman and Linial posed this question and gave a conjectured answer: the symmetric function slicing the middle d layers of the Boolean hypercube has the highest average sensitivity of all degree-d polynomial threshold functions.

Complexity of Constraint Satisfaction Problems: Exact and Approximate

Prasad Raghavendra
University of Washington
February 16, 2010

 Is there a common explanation for 2SAT being solvable polynomial time, and Max2SAT being approximable to a 0.91 factor? More generally, it is natural to wonder what characterizes the complexity of exact constraint satisfaction problems (CSP) like 2SAT and what determines the approximation ratios for MaxCSPs like Max2SAT.

Expanders and Communication-Avoiding Algorithms

Oded Schwartz
Technical University Berlin
January 25, 2010

Algorithms spend time on performing arithmetic computations, but often more on moving data, between the levels of a memory hierarchy and between parallel computing entities. Judging by the hardware evolution of the last few decades, the fraction of running time spent on communication is expected to increase, and with it - the demand for communication-avoiding algorithms. We use geometric, combinatorial, and algebraic ideas and techniques, some of which are known in the context of expander graphs, to construct provably communication-optimal algorithms.

An Algorithmic Proof of Forster's Lower Bound

Moritz Hardt
Princeton University
December 15, 2009

We give an algorithmic proof of Forster's Theorem, a fundamental result in communication complexity. Our proof is based on a geometric notion we call radial isotropic position which is related to the well-known isotropic position of a set of vectors. We point out an efficient algorithm to compute the radial isotropic position of a given set of vectors when it exists.

Algorithmic Dense Model Theorems, Decompositions, and Regularity Theorems

Russell Impagliazzo
Institute for Advanced Study
December 8, 2009

Green and Tao used the existence of a dense subset indistinguishable from the primes under certain tests from a certain class to prove the existence of arbitrarily long prime arithmetic progressions. Reingold, Trevisan, Tulsiani and Vadhan, and independently, Gowers, give a quantitatively improved characterization of when such dense models exist. An equivalent formulation was obtained earlier by Barak, Shaltiel and Wigderson.