An Instance-Based Approach to the Trace Reconstruction Problem

Kayvon Mazooji, Ilan Shomorony
Computer Science, Information Theory, Information Theory (cs.IT), Data Structures and Algorithms (cs.DS), Probability (math.PR), Statistics Theory (math.ST)
2024-01-25 00:00:00
In the trace reconstruction problem, one observes the output of passing a binary string $s \in \{0,1\}^n$ through a deletion channel $T$ times and wishes to recover $s$ from the resulting $T$ "traces." Most of the literature has focused on characterizing the hardness of this problem in terms of the number of traces $T$ needed for perfect reconstruction either in the worst case or in the average case (over input sequences $s$). In this paper, we propose an alternative, instance-based approach to the problem. We define the "Levenshtein difficulty" of a problem instance $(s,T)$ as the probability that the resulting traces do not provide enough information for correct recovery with full certainty. One can then try to characterize, for a specific $s$, how $T$ needs to scale in order for the Levenshtein difficulty to go to zero, and seek reconstruction algorithms that match this scaling for each $s$. For a class of binary strings with alternating long runs, we precisely characterize the scaling of $T$ for which the Levenshtein difficulty goes to zero. For this class, we also prove that a simple "Las Vegas algorithm" has an error probability that decays to zero with the same rate as that with which the Levenshtein difficulty tends to zero.
PDF: An Instance-Based Approach to the Trace Reconstruction Problem.pdf
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