Quantum Computing and Hidden Variables II: The Complexity of Sampling Histories

Source: arXiv


This paper shows that, if we could examine the entire history of a hidden variable, then we could efficiently solve problems that are believed to be intractable even for quantum computers. In particular, under any hidden-variable theory satisfying a reasonable axiom called "indifference to the identity," we could solve the Graph Isomorphism and Approximate Shortest Vector problems in polynomial time, as well as an oracle problem that is known to require quantum exponential time. We could also search an N-item database using O(N^{1/3}) queries, as opposed to O(N^{1/2}) queries with Grover's search algorithm. On the other hand, the N^{1/3} bound is optimal, meaning that we could probably not solve NP-complete problems in polynomial time. We thus obtain the first good example of a model of computation that appears slightly more powerful than the quantum computing model.

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    ABSTRACT: This paper initiates the study of hidden variables from the discrete, abstract perspective of quantum computing. For us, a hidden-variable theory is simply a way to convert a unitary matrix that maps one quantum state to another, into a stochastic matrix that maps the initial probability distribution to the final one in some fixed basis. We list seven axioms that we might want such a theory to satisfy, and then investigate which of the axioms can be satisfied simultaneously. Toward this end, we construct a new hidden-variable theory that is both robust to small perturbations and indi#erent to the identity operation, by exploiting an unexpected connection between unitary matrices and network flows. We also analyze previous hiddenvariable theories of Dieks and Schrodinger in terms of our axioms. In a companion paper, we will show that actually sampling the history of a hidden variable under reasonable axioms is at least as hard as solving the Graph Isomorphism problem; and indeed is probably intractable even for quantum computers.
    Preview · Article · Sep 2004
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    ABSTRACT: From the existence of an efficient quantum algorithm for factoring, it is likely that quantum computation is intrinsically more powerful than classical computation. At present, the best upper bound known for the power of quantum computation is that BQP is in AWPP. This work investigates limits on computational power that are imposed by physical principles. To this end, we define a circuit-based model of computation in a class of operationally-defined theories more general than quantum theory, and ask: what is the minimal set of physical assumptions under which the above inclusion still holds? We show that given only an assumption of tomographic locality (roughly, that multipartite states can be characterised by local measurements), efficient computations are contained in AWPP. This inclusion still holds even without assuming a basic notion of causality (where the notion is, roughly, that probabilities for outcomes cannot depend on future measurement choices). Following Aaronson, we extend the computational model by allowing post-selection on measurement outcomes. Aaronson showed that the corresponding quantum complexity class is equal to PP. Given only the assumption of tomographic locality, the inclusion in PP still holds for post-selected computation in general theories. Thus in a world with post-selection, quantum theory is optimal for computation in the space of all general theories. We then consider if relativised complexity results can be obtained for general theories. It is not clear how to define a sensible notion of an oracle in the general framework that reduces to the standard notion in the quantum case. Nevertheless, it is possible to define computation relative to a `classical oracle'. Then, we show there exists a classical oracle relative to which efficient computation in any theory satisfying the causality assumption and tomographic locality does not include NP.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2014 · New Journal of Physics