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  1. Etessami, Kousha ; Feige, Uriel ; Puppis, Gabriele (Ed.)
    A recent breakthrough work of Limaye, Srinivasan and Tavenas [Nutan Limaye et al., 2021] proved superpolynomial lower bounds for low-depth arithmetic circuits via a "hardness escalation" approach: they proved lower bounds for low-depth set-multilinear circuits and then lifted the bounds to low-depth general circuits. In this work, we prove superpolynomial lower bounds for low-depth circuits by bypassing the hardness escalation, i.e., the set-multilinearization, step. As set-multilinearization comes with an exponential blow-up in circuit size, our direct proof opens up the possibility of proving an exponential lower bound for low-depth homogeneous circuits by evading a crucial bottleneck. Our bounds hold for the iterated matrix multiplication and the Nisan-Wigderson design polynomials. We also define a subclass of unrestricted depth homogeneous formulas which we call unique parse tree (UPT) formulas, and prove superpolynomial lower bounds for these. This significantly generalizes the superpolynomial lower bounds for regular formulas [Neeraj Kayal et al., 2014; HervĂ© Fournier et al., 2015]. 
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  2. We introduce a new technique for reducing the dimension of the ambient space of low-degree polynomials in the Gaussian space while preserving their relative correlation structure. As an application, we obtain an explicit upper bound on the dimension of an epsilon-optimal noise-stable Gaussian partition. In fact, we address the more general problem of upper bounding the number of samples needed to epsilon-approximate any joint distribution that can be non-interactively simulated from a correlated Gaussian source. Our results significantly improve (from Ackermann-like to "merely" exponential) the upper bounds recently proved on the above problems by De, Mossel & Neeman [CCC 2017, SODA 2018 resp.] and imply decidability of the larger alphabet case of the gap non-interactive simulation problem posed by Ghazi, Kamath & Sudan [FOCS 2016]. Our technique of dimension reduction for low-degree polynomials is simple and can be seen as a generalization of the Johnson-Lindenstrauss lemma and could be of independent interest. 
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