Luby--Veli\v{c}kovi\'c--Wigderson revisited: Improved correlation bounds and pseudorandom generators for depth-two circuits

Rocco A. Servedio, Li-Yang Tan

We study correlation bounds and pseudorandom generators for depth-two circuits that consist of a $\mathsf{SYM}$-gate (computing an arbitrary symmetric function) or $\mathsf{THR}$-gate (computing an arbitrary linear threshold function) that is fed by $S$ $\mathsf{AND}$ gates. Such circuits were considered in early influential work on unconditional derandomization of Luby, Veli\v{c}kovi\'c, and Wigderson [LVW93], who gave the first non-trivial PRG with seed length $2^{O(\sqrt{\log(S/\varepsilon)})}$ that $\varepsilon$-fools these circuits. In this work we obtain the first strict improvement of [LVW93]'s seed length: we construct a PRG that $\varepsilon$-fools size-$S$ $\{\mathsf{SYM},\mathsf{THR}\} \circ\mathsf{AND}$ circuits over $\{0,1\}^n$ with seed length \[ 2^{O(\sqrt{\log S })} + \mathrm{polylog}(1/\varepsilon), \] an exponential (and near-optimal) improvement of the $\varepsilon$-dependence of [LVW93]. The above PRG is actually a special case of a more general PRG which we establish for constant-depth circuits containing multiple $\mathsf{SYM}$ or $\mathsf{THR}$ gates, including as a special case $\{\mathsf{SYM},\mathsf{THR}\} \circ \mathsf{AC^0}$ circuits. These more general results strengthen previous results of Viola [Vio06] and essentially strengthen more recent results of Lovett and Srinivasan [LS11]. Our improved PRGs follow from improved correlation bounds, which are transformed into PRGs via the Nisan--Wigderson "hardness versus randomness" paradigm [NW94]. The key to our improved correlation bounds is the use of a recent powerful \emph{multi-switching} lemma due to H{\aa}stad [H{\aa}s14].

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