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Performance and limitations of the QAOA at constant levels on large sparse hypergraphs and spin glass models

by   Joao Basso, et al.

The Quantum Approximate Optimization Algorithm (QAOA) is a general purpose quantum algorithm designed for combinatorial optimization. We analyze its expected performance and prove concentration properties at any constant level (number of layers) on ensembles of random combinatorial optimization problems in the infinite size limit. These ensembles include mixed spin models and Max-q-XORSAT on sparse random hypergraphs. To enable our analysis, we prove a generalization of the multinomial theorem which is a technical result of independent interest. We then show that the performance of the QAOA at constant levels for the pure q-spin model matches asymptotically the ones for Max-q-XORSAT on random sparse Erdős-Rényi hypergraphs and every large-girth regular hypergraph. Through this correspondence, we establish that the average-case value produced by the QAOA at constant levels is bounded away from optimality for pure q-spin models when q≥ 4 is even. This limitation gives a hardness of approximation result for quantum algorithms in a new regime where the whole graph is seen.


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