Separations in Query Complexity Using Cheat Sheets


We show a power 2.5 separation between bounded-error randomized and quantum query complexity for a total Boolean function, refuting the widely believed conjecture that the best such separation could only be quadratic (from Grover’s algorithm). We also present a total function with a power 4 separation between quantum query complexity and approximate polynomial degree, showing severe limitations on the power of the polynomial method. Finally, we exhibit a total function with a quadratic gap between quantum query complexity and certificate complexity, which is optimal (up to log factors). These separations are shown using a new, general technique that we call the cheat sheet technique, which builds upon the techniques of Ambainis et al. [STOC 2016]. The technique is based on a generic transformation that converts any (possibly partial) function into a new total function with desirable properties for showing separations. The framework also allows many known separations, including some recent breakthrough results of Ambainis et al. [STOC 2016], to be shown in a unified manner.

Proceedings of the 48th Annual ACM Symposium on Theory of Computing (STOC)