Lecture Notes in Computer Science Volume 6390, 2010, pp 334-340

Testing (Subclasses of) Halfspaces

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We address the problem of testing whether a Boolean-valued function f is a halfspace, i.e. a function of the form f(x) = sgn(w . x − θ). We consider halfspaces over the continuous domain R n (endowed with the standard multivariate Gaussian distribution) as well as halfspaces over the Boolean cube { − 1,1} n (endowed with the uniform distribution). In both cases we give an algorithm that distinguishes halfspaces from functions that are ε-far from any halfspace using only poly \((\frac{1}{\epsilon})\) queries, independent of the dimension n.

In contrast to the case of general halfspaces, we show that testing natural subclasses of halfspaces can be markedly harder; for the class of { − 1,1}-weight halfspaces, we show that a tester must make at least Ω(logn) queries. We complement this lower bound with an upper bound showing that \(O(\sqrt{n})\) queries suffice.