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Noisy Non-Adaptive Group Testing: A (Near-)Definite Defectives Approach

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
JournalIEEE Transactions on Information Theory
DateAccepted/In press - 17 Jan 2020


The group testing problem consists of determining a small set of defective items from a larger set of items based on a number of possibly-noisy tests, and is relevant in applications such as medical testing, communication protocols, pattern matching, and more. We study the noisy version of this problem, where the outcome of each standard noiseless group test is subject to independent noise, corresponding to passing the noiseless result through a binary channel. We introduce a class of algorithms that we refer to as Near-Definite Defectives (NDD), and study bounds on the required number of tests for asymptotically vanishing error probability under Bernoulli random test designs. In addition, we study algorithm-independent converse results, giving lower bounds on the required number of tests under Bernoulli test designs. Under reverse Z-channel noise, the achievable rates and converse results match in a broad range of sparsity regimes, and under Z-channel noise, the two match in a narrower range of dense/low-noise regimes. We observe that although these two channels have the same Shannon capacity when viewed as a communication channel, they can behave quite differently when it comes to group testing. Finally, we extend our analysis of these noise models to a general binary noise model (including symmetric noise), and show improvements over known existing bounds in broad scaling regimes.

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