Theory of Computing
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Title : Testing Properties of Collections of Distributions
Authors : Reut Levi, Dana Ron, and Ronitt Rubinfeld
Volume : 9
Number : 8
Pages : 295-347
URL : http://www.theoryofcomputing.org/articles/v009a008
Abstract
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We propose a framework for studying property testing of collections of
distributions, where the number of distributions in the collection is
a parameter of the problem. Previous work on property testing of
distributions considered single distributions or pairs of
distributions. We suggest two models that differ in the way the
algorithm is given access to samples from the distributions. In one
model the algorithm may ask for a sample from any distribution of its
choice, and in the other the choice of the distribution is random.
Our main focus is on the basic problem of distinguishing between the
case that all the distributions in the collection are the same (or
very similar), and the case that it is necessary to modify the
distributions in the collection in a non-negligible manner so as to
obtain this property. We give almost tight upper and lower bounds for
this testing problem, as well as study an extension to a
clusterability property. One of our lower bounds directly implies a
lower bound on testing independence of a joint distribution, a result
which was left open by previous work.