A Generalization of a Theorem of Rothschild and van Lint

Ning Xie, Shuai Xu, Yekun Xu

A classical result of Rothschild and van Lint asserts that if every non-zero Fourier coefficient of a Boolean function $f$ over $\mathbb{F}_2^{n}$ has the same absolute value, namely $|\hat{f}(\alpha)|=1/2^k$ for every $\alpha$ in the Fourier support of $f$, then $f$ must be the indicator function of some affine subspace of dimension $n-k$. In this paper we slightly generalize their result. Our main result shows that, roughly speaking, Boolean functions whose Fourier coefficients take values in the set $\{-2/2^k, -1/2^k, 0, 1/2^k, 2/2^k\}$ are indicator functions of two disjoint affine subspaces of dimension $n-k$ or four disjoint affine subspace of dimension $n-k-1$. Our main technical tools are results from additive combinatorics which offer tight bounds on the affine span size of a subset of $\mathbb{F}_2^{n}$ when the doubling constant of the subset is small.

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