Entropy of a quantum channel

by   Gilad Gour, et al.

The von Neumann entropy of a quantum state is a central concept in physics and information theory, having a number of compelling physical interpretations. There is a certain perspective that the most fundamental notion in quantum mechanics is that of a quantum channel, as quantum states, unitary evolutions, measurements, and discarding of quantum systems can each be regarded as certain kinds of quantum channels. Thus, an important goal is to define a consistent and meaningful notion of the entropy of a quantum channel. Motivated by the fact that the entropy of a state ρ can be formulated as the difference of the number of physical qubits and the "relative entropy distance" between ρ and the maximally mixed state, here we define the entropy of a channel N as the difference of the number of physical qubits of the channel output with the "relative entropy distance" between N and the completely depolarizing channel. We prove that this definition satisfies all of the axioms, recently put forward in [Gour, arXiv:1808.02607], required for a channel entropy function. The task of quantum channel merging, in which the goal is for the receiver to merge his share of the channel with the environment's share, gives a compelling operational interpretation of the entropy of a channel. We define Rényi and min-entropies of a channel and prove that they satisfy the axioms required for a channel entropy function. Among other results, we also prove that a smoothed version of the min-entropy of a channel satisfies the asymptotic equipartition property.


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