In "standard" error reduction with an expander, if a randomize algorithm uses $n^d$ random bits, we need $n^d+O(n)$ random bits to achieve $2^{-O(n)}$ error probability. Now, if the algorithm has a good error probability to begin with, say 1/n, without expanders we need to run it only O(n/log n) times to achieve the same error and use $n^d\times O(n/\log n)$ random bits. If I'm correct with expanders it doesn't help (beside a little in the first step), meaning we still need $n^d+O(n)$ random bits. There exist some method, such that a good algorithm does have an affect on it (uses say $n^d+O(n/\log n)$ random bits)? There exist some barrier for achieving such a result?

*The question refers to the randomized algorithm in a black-box manner.

  • $\begingroup$ What is d in the above ? $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 24, 2011 at 2:34
  • $\begingroup$ I see. I don't quite understand the use of 'n^d' to encode the number of bits used by the algorithm, but it sounds like you're asking if the expander trick can capitalize on an already good error probability ? $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 24, 2011 at 4:42
  • $\begingroup$ Exactly. $n^d$ means that the algorithm needs that many random bits for an n-length input where d is some constant. In my question the error-probability is non-constant to begin with, however, surprisingly, it seems like it has not affect on the error-reduction with expanders, unlike the case with simple amplification. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 24, 2011 at 10:29
  • $\begingroup$ @Noam, maybe that should be an answer ? $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 24, 2011 at 16:27
  • $\begingroup$ ok. moved it to be an answer. $\endgroup$
    – Noam
    Commented Apr 24, 2011 at 16:38

1 Answer 1


You can't expect this to be true since you can reduce the error of a constant-error algorithm to $1/n$ using an additional $O(\log n)$ bits using expanders (and by the way you don't really need even these extra bits to do that). So if an error of $1/n$ can go down to $\exp(-n)$ error using only $O(n/\log n)$ additional bits, then you could always go from constant error to $\exp(-n)$ error using $O(\log n)+O(n/\log n)=O(n/\log n)$.

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks. This means that even if we have a very good algorithm, say with sub exponential error probability, you still need O(n) additional random bits. Hence, for error-reduction it is pretty much useless right? (besides the fact that it can reduce the number of times that the original algorithm is being used) $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 24, 2011 at 16:49

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