Princeton University D3M T. J. Watson Research Center
Box; 218, Yorktown Heights, NY 10598,
NP = PCP(log n, 1) and related results crucially depend upon the close connection betsveen the probability with which a function passes a low degree test and the distance of this function to the nearest degree d polynomial. In this paper we study a test proposed by Rubinfeld and Sudan . The strongest previously known connection for this test states that a function passes the test with probability 6 for some d> 7/8 iff the function has agreement N 6 with a polynomial of degree d. We presenta new, and surprisingly strong,analysiswhich shows thatthepreceding statementis truefor 6<<0.5. The analysis uses a version of Hilbe?l irreducibility, a tool used in the factoring of multivariate polynomials. As a consequence we obtain an alternate construction for the following proof system: A constant prover l-round proof system for NP languages in which the verifier uses O(log n) random bits, receives answers of size O(log n) bits, and has an error probability of at most 2 – 10g*-‘’. Such a proof system, which implies the NP-hardness of approximating Set Cover to within fl(log n) factors, has already been obtained by Raz and Safra . Our result was completed after we heard of their claim. A second consequence of our analysis is a self testerlcorrector for any buggy program that (supposedly) computes a polynomial over a finite field. If the program is correct only on 6 fraction of inputs where 15<<0.5, then the tester/corrector determines J and generates 0(~) randomized programs, such that one of the programs is correct on every input, with high probability.