Dual field theories of quantum computation

Vitaly Vanchurin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Abstract: Given two quantum states of N q-bits we are interested to find the shortest quantum circuit consisting of only one- and two- q-bit gates that would transfer one state into another. We call it the quantum maze problem for the reasons described in the paper. We argue that in a large N limit the quantum maze problem is equivalent to the problem of finding a semiclassical trajectory of some lattice field theory (the dual theory) on an N +1 dimensional space-time with geometrically flat, but topologically compact spatial slices. The spatial fundamental domain is an N dimensional hyper-rhombohedron, and the temporal direction describes transitions from an arbitrary initial state to an arbitrary target state and so the initial and final dual field theory conditions are described by these two quantum computational states. We first consider a complex Klein-Gordon field theory and argue that it can only be used to study the shortest quantum circuits which do not involve generators composed of tensor products of multiple Pauli Z matrices. Since such situation is not generic we call it the Z-problem. On the dual field theory side the Z-problem corresponds to massless excitations of the phase (Goldstone modes) that we attempt to fix using Higgs mechanism. The simplest dual theory which does not suffer from the massless excitation (or from the Z-problem) is the Abelian-Higgs model which we argue can be used for finding the shortest quantum circuits. Since every trajectory of the field theory is mapped directly to a quantum circuit, the shortest quantum circuits are identified with semiclassical trajectories. We also discuss the complexity of an actual algorithm that uses a dual theory prospective for solving the quantum maze problem and compare it with a geometric approach. We argue that it might be possible to solve the problem in sub-exponential time in 2N, but for that we must consider the Klein-Gordon theory on curved spatial geometry and/or more complicated (than N -torus) topology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1
JournalJournal of High Energy Physics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Field Theories in Higher Dimensions
  • Lattice Quantum Field Theory

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