Blind Group Testing

Wasim Huleihel, Ohad Elishco, Muriel Médard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The main goal in group testing is to recover a small subset of defective items from a larger population while efficiently reducing the total number of (possibly noisy) required tests/measurements. Under the assumption that the input-output statistical relationship (i.e., channel law) is known to the recovery algorithm, the fundamental as well as the computational limits of the group testing problem are relatively better understood than when these statistical relationships are unknown. Practical considerations, however, render this assumption inapplicable, and 'blind' recovery/estimation procedures, independent of the input-output statistics, are desired. In this paper, we analyze the fundamental limits of a general noisy group testing problem, when this relationship is unknown. Specifically, in the first part of this paper, we propose an efficient scheme, based on the idea of separate-decoding of items (where each item is recovered separately), for which we derive sufficient conditions on the number of tests required for exact recovery. The difficulty in obtaining these conditions stems from the fact that we allow the number of defective items to grow with the population size, which in turn requires delicate concentration analysis of certain probabilities. Furthermore, we show that in several scenarios, our proposed scheme achieves the same performance as that of the corresponding non-blind recovery algorithm (where the input-output statistics are known), implying that the proposed blind scheme is robust/universal. Finally, in the second part of this paper, we propose also an inefficient combinatorial-based scheme (or, 'joint-decoding'), for which we derive similar sufficient conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8672184
Pages (from-to)5050-5063
Number of pages14
JournalIEEE Transactions on Information Theory
Issue number8
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Group testing
  • maximumlikelihood
  • separate decoding
  • universal decoders

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Information Systems
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Library and Information Sciences


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