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# Statistical Query Lower Bounds for Learning Truncated Gaussians

*Proceedings of Thirty Seventh Conference on Learning Theory*, PMLR 247:1336-1363, 2024.

#### Abstract

We study the problem of estimating the mean of an identity covariance Gaussian in the truncated setting, in the regime when the truncation set comes from a low-complexity family $\mathcal{C}$ of sets. Specifically, for a fixed but unknown truncation set $S \subseteq \mathbb{R}^d$, we are given access to samples from the distribution $\mathcal{N}(\bm{\mu}, \vec{I})$ truncated to the set $S$. The goal is to estimate $\bm{\mu}$ within accuracy $\epsilon>0$ in $\ell_2$-norm. Our main result is a Statistical Query (SQ) lower bound suggesting a super-polynomial information-computation gap for this task. In more detail, we show that the complexity of any SQ algorithm for this problem is $d^{\mathrm{poly}(1/\epsilon)}$, even when the class $\mathcal{C}$ is simple so that $\mathrm{poly}(d/\epsilon)$ samples information-theoretically suffice. Concretely, our SQ lower bound applies when $\mathcal{C}$ is a union of a bounded number of rectangles whose VC dimension and Gaussian surface are small. As a corollary of our construction, it also follows that the complexity of the previously known algorithm for this task is qualitatively best possible.