Bounds for list-decoding and list-recovery of random linear codes

Venkatesan Guruswami, Ray Li, Jonathan Mosheiff, Nicolas Resch, Shashwat Silas, Mary Wootters

A family of error-correcting codes is list-decodable from error fraction $p$ if, for every code in the family, the number of codewords in any Hamming ball of fractional radius $p$ is less than some integer $L$ that is independent of the code length. It is said to be list-recoverable for input list size $\ell$ if for every sufficiently large subset of codewords (of size $L$ or more), there is a coordinate where the codewords take more than $\ell$ values. The parameter $L$ is said to be the "list size" in either case. The capacity, i.e., the largest possible rate for these notions as the list size $L \to \infty$, is known to be $1-h_q(p)$ for list-decoding, and $1-\log_q \ell$ for list-recovery, where $q$ is the alphabet size of the code family. In this work, we study the list size of \emph{random linear codes} for both list-decoding and list-recovery as the rate approaches capacity. We show the following claims hold with high probability over the choice of the code (below, $\epsilon > 0$ is the gap to capacity). (1) A random linear code of rate $1 - \log_q(\ell) - \epsilon$ requires list size $L \ge \ell^{\Omega(1/\epsilon)}$ for list-recovery from input list size $\ell$. This is surprisingly in contrast to completely random codes, where $L = O(\ell/\epsilon)$ suffices w.h.p. (2) A random linear code of rate $1 - h_q(p) - \epsilon$ requires list size $L \ge \lfloor h_q(p)/\epsilon+0.99 \rfloor$ for list-decoding from error fraction $p$, when $\epsilon$ is sufficiently small. (3) A random \emph{binary} linear code of rate $1 - h_2(p) - \epsilon$ is list-decodable from \emph{average} error fraction $p$ with list size with $L \leq \lfloor h_2(p)/\epsilon \rfloor + 2$. The second and third results together precisely pin down the list sizes for binary random linear codes for both list-decoding and average-radius list-decoding to three possible values.

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