Improved Lower Bounds for Locally Decodable Codes and Private Information Retrieval

Stephanie Wehner
CWI, Amsterdam & Math Inst, Leiden University

We prove new lower bounds for locally decodable codes and private information retrieval. We show that a 2-query LDC encoding n-bit strings over an l-bit alphabet, where the decoder only uses b bits of each queried position of the codeword, needs code length m = exp(Omega(n/(2^b Sum_{i=0}^b {l choose i})))

Similarly, a 2-server PIR scheme with an n-bit database and t-bit queries, where the user only needs b bits from each of the two l-bit answers, unknown to the servers, satisfies t = Omega(n/(2^b Sum_{i=0}^b {l choose i})).

This implies that several known PIR schemes are close to optimal. Our results generalize those of Goldreich et al. who proved roughly the same bounds for linear LDCs and PIRs. Like earlier work by Kerenidis and de Wolf, our classical lower bounds are proved using quantum computational techniques. In particular, we give a tight analysis of how well a 2-input function can be computed from a quantum superposition of both inputs.

This is joint work with Ronald de Wolf from ICALP 2004.

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