List-decoding homomorphism codes with arbitrary codomains

by   László Babai, et al.
The University of Chicago

The codewords of the homomorphism code aHom(G,H) are the affine homomorphisms between two finite groups, G and H, generalizing Hadamard codes. Following the work of Goldreich--Levin (1989), Grigorescu et al. (2006), Dinur et al. (2008), and Guo and Sudan (2014), we further expand the range of groups for which local list-decoding is possible up to mindist, the minimum distance of the code. In particular, for the first time, we do not require either G or H to be solvable. Specifically, we demonstrate a poly(1/ε) bound on the list size, i.e., on the number of codewords within distance (mindist-ε) from any received word, when G is either abelian or an alternating group, and H is an arbitrary (finite or infinite) group. We conjecture that a similar bound holds for all finite simple groups as domains; the alternating groups serve as the first test case. The abelian vs. arbitrary result then permits us to adapt previous techniques to obtain efficient local list-decoding for this case. We also obtain efficient local list-decoding for the permutation representations of alternating groups (i.e., when the codomain is a symmetric group S_m) under the restriction that the domain G=A_n is paired with codomain H=S_m satisfying m < 2^n-1/√(n). The limitations on the codomain in the latter case arise from severe technical difficulties stemming from the need to solve the homomorphism extension (HomExt) problem in certain cases; these are addressed in a separate paper (Wuu 2018). However, we also introduce an intermediate "semi-algorithmic" model we call Certificate List-Decoding that bypasses the HomExt bottleneck and works in the alternating vs. arbitrary setting. A certificate list-decoder produces partial homomorphisms that uniquely extend to the homomorphisms in the list.


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