Interactive shallow Clifford circuits: quantum advantage against NC^1 and beyond

11/06/2019 ∙ by Daniel Grier, et al. ∙ 0

Recent work of Bravyi et al. and follow-up work by Bene Watts et al. demonstrates a quantum advantage for shallow circuits: constant-depth quantum circuits can perform a task which constant-depth classical (i.e., AC^0) circuits cannot. Their results have the advantage that the quantum circuit is fairly practical, and their proofs are free of hardness assumptions (e.g., factoring is classically hard, etc.). Unfortunately, constant-depth classical circuits are too weak to yield a convincing real-world demonstration of quantum advantage. We attempt to hold on to the advantages of the above results, while increasing the power of the classical model. Our main result is a two-round interactive task which is solved by a constant-depth quantum circuit (using only Clifford gates, between neighboring qubits of a 2D grid, with Pauli measurements), but such that any classical solution would necessarily solve ⊕L-hard problems. This implies a more powerful class of constant-depth classical circuits (e.g., AC^0[p] for any prime p) unconditionally cannot perform the task. Furthermore, under standard complexity-theoretic conjectures, log-depth circuits and log-space Turing machines cannot perform the task either. Using the same techniques, we prove hardness results for weaker complexity classes under more restrictive circuit topologies. Specifically, we give QNC^0 interactive tasks on 2 × n and 1 × n grids which require classical simulations of power NC^1 and AC^0[6], respectively. Moreover, these hardness results are robust to a small constant fraction of error in the classical simulation. We use ideas and techniques from the theory of branching programs, quantum contextuality, measurement-based quantum computation, and Kilian randomization.

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