Computer Science/Discrete Mathematics Seminar I

Verifying The Unseen: Interactive Proofs for Label-Invariant Distribution Properties

Given i.i.d. samples drawn from an unknown distribution over a large domain [N], approximating several basic quantities, such as the distribution's support size and its Shannon Entropy, requires at least roughly (N / \log N) samples [Valiant and Valiant, STOC 2011].

Suppose, however, that we can interact with a powerful but untrusted prover, who knows the entire distribution. Can we use such a prover to approximately *verify* such statistical quantities more efficiently?

We show that this is indeed the case: a distribution's support size, its entropy, and its distance from the uniform distribution, can all be approximately verified via a constant-round interactive proof, where the verifier's running time, the sample complexity, and the communication complexity are all close to \sqrt{N}.

More generally, we give a tolerant interactive proof system with similar parameters for verifying a distribution's proximity to any label-invariant property (any property that is invariant to re-labeling of the elements in the distribution's support).

Joint work with Tal Herman.

Date & Time

October 04, 2021 | 11:15am – 12:15pm


Simonyi Hall 101 and Remote Access


Speaker Affiliation

Weizmann Institute