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Matrix rigidity was introduced by Valiant in 1977:

The rigidity $Rig_M(r)$ of boolean matrix $M$ over GF(2) is the smallest number of entries of $M$ that must be changed in order to reduce its rank over GF(2) down to $r$.

$Rig_M(r)$ has a deep connection to boolean function complexity & circuit lower bounds by a result of Razborov 1989 see eg [1]. It also has a connection to finding locally correctable codes eg see [2]

It appears to me there is little to no published empirical analysis of $Rig_M(r)$ & that it could give some useful insight into its properties (thinking for example of the transition point research with SAT).

As a start I was interested in analyzing $Rig_M(r)$ using a simple greedy algorithm. The idea is as follows.

  • generate random matrixes $M$.

  • Compute Delta_row(i,j) where i,j are row (vectors) of $M$ and Delta_row(i,j) is the Hamming distance between the two rows

  • likewise calculate the Delta_col(i,j) where i,j are column vectors of $M$ (equivalent to calculating Delta_row(i,j) of the transpose of M).

  • next sort Delta_row(i,j) and Delta_col(i,j) and remove the column or row from $M$ with the "lowest value". (the lowest value is associated with a row or column pair, remove either row or column of the pair).

This greedy algorithm can be used to estimate $Rig_M(r)$ by giving a (fairly tight?) upper bound. One repeatedly reapplies the greedy algorithm until the matrix $M$ has been reduced to size $r$ and counts the sum of the Delta_row/col values of removed rows. and note that upon removing rows or columns, the new Delta_row and Delta_col arrays can be computed efficiently without recalculating the whole arrays.

  1. how far off can the greedy algorithm be from the optimal value $Rig_M(r)$?

  2. what kind of matrices maximize the difference between the greedy algorithm and the optimal rigidity measure?

  3. can a modified local greedy algorithm find the optimal value $Rig_M(r)$

[1] Boolean Function Complexity by Stasys Jukna, 2011, sec 12.8 "rigid matrices require large circuits"

[2] On matrix rigidity and locally self-correctable codes by Zeev Dvir

[3] ECCC reports tagged matrix rigidity

[4] Matrix rigidity talk/overview by Mahdi Cheraghchi

[5] The geometry of matrix rigidity by Landsberg et al

[6] Blog note on Midrijanis paper on Matrix rigidity by Lance Fortnow

[7] Empirical results in CS papers

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How do you sample your random matrices? –  MCH Mar 8 '12 at 19:35
    
entries 1 vs 0 with constant probability eg 50%. can estimate Rig_M using technique for matrices size in the 100s height/width with PC & ruby code. –  vzn Mar 8 '12 at 20:20
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But in that case the matrix is maximally rigid with probability close to 1, by a counting argument. So estimating rigidity up to a constant factor becomes trivial. –  MCH Mar 8 '12 at 22:12
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i don't understand the fourth bullet point of your algorithm. the definition of rigidity does not deal with removing rows or columns, but changing entries. i assume you mean changing Delta_row(i, j) entries of one of the two rows i, j that minimize the quantity, so that they become two identical copies of the same row, thereby reducing the rank (same with cols). however at a next step you may need to change both copies of this row to become equal to another row. so you would need to modify 2Delta_row(i, k) entries at that point, and so on. so what actually is your upper bound on rigidity? –  Sasho Nikolov Mar 9 '12 at 16:06
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what if two pairs of merged rows become the two closest rows? –  Sasho Nikolov Mar 9 '12 at 20:58
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1 Answer

The following additional references on Matrix Rigidity may be helpful:

  1. Complexity Lower Bounds using Linear Algebra, S. V. Lokam, in Foundations and Trends in Theoretical Computer Science, Volume 4, 1-2, 2009. http://dx.doi.org/10.1561/0400000011

  2. Using Elimination Theory to construct Rigid Matrices, A. Kumar, S.V. Lokam,. V. Patankar, J. Sarma, ECCC TR09-106, http://eccc.hpi-web.de/report/2009/106/

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