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  Quantum computing and quantum control

+ 13 like - 0 dislike

In 2009, Bernard Chazelle published a famous algorithms paper, "Natural Algorithms," in which he applied computational complexity techniques to a control theory model of bird flocking. Control theory methods (like Lyapunov functions) had been able to show that the models eventually converged to equilibrium, but could say nothing about the rate of convergence. Chazelle obtained tight bounds on the rate of convergence.

Inspired by this, I had the idea of seeing how to apply quantum computing to quantum control, or vice versa. However, I got nowhere with this, because the situations did not seem to be analogous. Further, QComp seemed to have expressive power in finite dimensional Hilbert spaces, while QControl seemed fundamentally infinite-dimensional to me. So I could not see how to make progress.

So my question: does this seem like a reasonable research direction, and I just didn't understand the technicalities well enough? Or are control theory and quantum control fundamentally different fields, which just happen to have similar names in English? Or some third possibility?

EDIT: I have not thought about this for a few years, and I just started Googling. I found this quantum control survey paper, which, at a glance, seems to answer one of my questions: that quantum control and traditional control theory are indeed allied fields and use some similar techniques. Whether there is a research question like Chazelle's analysis of the BOIDS model that would be amenable to quantum computing techniques, I have no idea.

This post has been migrated from (A51.SE)
asked Sep 15, 2011 in Theoretical Physics by Aaron Sterling (130 points) [ no revision ]
retagged Mar 7, 2014 by dimension10
of course, note that the "tight bounds" involve towers of 2s :)

This post has been migrated from (A51.SE)

3 Answers

+ 14 like - 0 dislike

Well, obviously I don't know exactly what you were trying, but it's not an unreasonable direction. There is certainly a bit of interplay between the two areas. Many of the open loop techniques which have become standard practice in spin resonance (for example decoupling pulses such as WAHUHA [Waugh, J.S., Huber, L.M., Haeberlen, U. (1968) Phys. Rev. Lett., 20, 180.] etc.) are based on exactly the same Suzuki-Trotter tricks that are now used in quantum simulation algorithms.

Additionally, there have been some nice results from Steffen Glaser and others on optimal control for the basic building blocks of quantum computation, including some pretty high level operations like generating cluster states (see arXiv:0903.4066) and state transfer (see arXiv:0705.0378).

There is also a huge literature on trying to make stuff into quantum computers even when you don't have all the control knobs you might wish for (see for example Seth Lloyd's papers on Universal quantum interfaces, all of the stuff on global control, and recent papers by Daniel Burgarth and Alistair Kay on Lie algebraic control techniques).

Lastly, the two areas are very closely linked via the adiabatic model, where the efficiency is directly linked to how quickly you can adiabticly transition between two Hamiltonians.

This post has been migrated from (A51.SE)
answered Sep 15, 2011 by Joe Fitzsimons (3,575 points) [ no revision ]
Most voted comments show all comments
@Joe : I think there is some deeper connections (as Aaron seemed to imply initially) between quantum computation and quantum control based on complexity ideas. I actually down-voted the question itself (Sorry @Aaron) after your answer and Aaron's update (but not your answer though): a question that can be answered (satisfied in this case) by a Google search might not belongs here.

This post has been migrated from (A51.SE)
@Kaveh_kh: CW = community wiki here on StackExchange. Thanks for explaining the reason for the downvote. I doubt my whole question could be answered by a Google search, but, even if it could, I don't have the keyword-knowledge to perform it. This may be the topic of a meta discussion: to what extent does the site want to entertain questions from people like me, who are researchers, asking because of research interest, but we have very limited physics background?

This post has been migrated from (A51.SE)
@Aaron: I actually found your question interesting (I work on boundaries of quantum control and quantum computation myself) but was a little disappointed when you added the review on Quantum Control and were sort of satisfied with a google search. On the other hand, this would still be the place for asking questions exactly like yours and I think the collective votes and the emerging admin actions in such cases is a better than policing questions.

This post has been migrated from (A51.SE)
@Kaveh_kh: Perhaps you should post an answer then. For me, I see the obvious connection between circuit complexity and optimal control, but thought this was essentially to obvious to mention explicitly, and I saw the adiabatic algorithm as the deepest connection, but perhaps there is a better answer. I make no claim that this is definitive.

This post has been migrated from (A51.SE)
:) I asked for some advice before posting an answer but was warned against the complications. The problem is quantum control is not well defined.

This post has been migrated from (A51.SE)
Most recent comments show all comments
To whoever downvoted, would you mind leaving a comment as to why? It helps people improve their answers, realise a mistake, etc. and is generally the constructive thing to do.

This post has been migrated from (A51.SE)
@Kaveh_kh: I didn't think this was the type of thing. I meant to give him an idea of some of the areas where the two intersect, not provide an exhaustive list. CW was massively overused in the early days of CSTheory and it led to problems later on, so I'm reluctant to use it too often.

This post has been migrated from (A51.SE)
+ 7 like - 0 dislike

I don't think it's an unreasonable direction at all - and something that is, I believe, being done by a few people. I actually came across this subject on John Baez's blog http://johncarlosbaez.wordpress.com/2010/08/16/quantum-control-theory/ . If you're looking for lit recommendations, I expect you could do worse than look at the post the comments. Also try http://cam.qubit.org/node/224 which a masters level course in quantum control course from Cambridge.

This post has been migrated from (A51.SE)
answered Sep 17, 2011 by user54 (70 points) [ no revision ]
+ 3 like - 0 dislike

This paper by G. Chiribella goes into a unique situation with quantum computing and quantum control. It defines a swap gate that has an entangled state where elements of a quantum computer are in a superposition of different connected states.

This post has been migrated from (A51.SE)
answered Sep 16, 2011 by Joshua Herman (100 points) [ no revision ]

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