Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 35 (NeurIPS 2022) Main Conference Track

*Arnab Bhattacharyya, Clément L Canonne, Qiping Yang*

We study the following independence testing problem: given access to samples from a distribution $P$ over $\{0,1\}^n$, decide whether $P$ is a product distribution or whether it is $\varepsilon$-far in total variation distance from any product distribution. For arbitrary distributions, this problem requires $\exp(n)$ samples. We show in this work that if $P$ has a sparse structure, then in fact only linearly many samples are required.Specifically, if $P$ is Markov with respect to a Bayesian network whose underlying DAG has in-degree bounded by $d$, then $\tilde{\Theta}(2^{d/2}\cdot n/\varepsilon^2)$ samples are necessary and sufficient for independence testing.

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