# The Polynomial Method Strikes Back: Tight Quantum Query Bounds via Dual Polynomials.

The approximate degree of a Boolean function f is the least degree of a real polynomial that approximates f pointwise to error at most 1/3. Approximate degree is known to be a lower bound on quantum query complexity. We resolve or nearly resolve the approximate degree and quantum query complexities of the following basic functions:

$\bullet$ $k$-distinctness: For any constant $k$, the approximate degree and quantum query complexity of $k$-distinctness is $\Omega(n^{3/4-1/(2k)})$. This is nearly tight for large $k$ (Belovs, FOCS 2012).

$\bullet$ Image size testing: The approximate degree and quantum query complexity of testing the size of the image of a function $[n] \to [n]$ is $\tilde{\Omega}(n^{1/2})$. This proves a conjecture of Ambainis et al. (SODA 2016), and it implies the following lower bounds:

$-$ $k$-junta testing: A tight $\tilde{\Omega}(k^{1/2})$ lower bound, answering the main open question of Ambainis et al. (SODA 2016).

$-$ Statistical Distance from Uniform: A tight $\tilde{\Omega}(n^{1/2})$ lower bound, answering the main question left open by Bravyi et al. (STACS 2010 and IEEE Trans. Inf. Theory 2011).

$-$ Shannon entropy: A tight $\tilde{\Omega}(n^{1/2})$ lower bound, answering a question of Li and Wu (2017).

$\bullet$ Surjectivity: The approximate degree of the Surjectivity function is $\tilde{\Omega}(n^{3/4})$. The best prior lower bound was $\Omega(n^{2/3})$. Our result matches an upper bound of $\tilde{O}(n^{3/4})$ due to Sherstov, which we reprove using different techniques. The quantum query complexity of this function is known to be $\Theta(n)$ (Beame and Machmouchi, QIC 2012 and Sherstov, FOCS 2015).

Our upper bound for Surjectivity introduces new techniques for approximating Boolean functions by low-degree polynomials. Our lower bounds are proved by significantly refining techniques recently introduced by Bun and Thaler (FOCS 2017).

Publisher URL: http://arxiv.org/abs/1710.09079

DOI: arXiv:1710.09079v2

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