Entanglement, geometry and quantum computation

Dowling, Mark (2007). Entanglement, geometry and quantum computation PhD Thesis, School of Physical Sciences, The University of Queensland.

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Author Dowling, Mark
Thesis Title Entanglement, geometry and quantum computation
School, Centre or Institute School of Physical Sciences
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2007
Thesis type PhD Thesis
Supervisor Doherty, Andrew C.
Bartlett, S. J.
Total pages 228
Collection year 2008
Language eng
Subjects 240301 Atomic and Molecular Physics
780102 Physical sciences
Abstract/Summary This thesis addresses a number of problems within the emerging field of quantum information science. Quantum information science can be said to encompass the more-established disciplines of quantum computation and quantum information, as well as rather more recent attempts to apply concepts, tools and techniques from these disciplines to gain greater understanding of quantum systems in general. The role of entanglement — non-classical correlation — has been of particular interest to date. Part I contributes to this later goal. In particular, we establish a connection between the energy of a many-body quantum system and the idea of an entanglement witness from the theory of mixed-state entanglement. This connection allows mathematical results about entanglement witnesses to be translated into physical results about many-body quantum systems, specifically energy and temperature thresholds for entanglement. For the case of two qubits we are able to establish fairly detailed results about the behaviour of entanglement with temperature. We also study entanglement in systems of indistinguishable particles, where even the question of which quantum states should be regarded as entangled has been the subject of much controversy. We aim to clarify this issue by applying Wiseman and Vaccaro’s notion of entanglement of particles to a number of wellunderstood model systems. We discuss the advantages of the entanglement of particles approach compared with other methods in common use. Finally, we study the operational meaning of superselection rules in quantum physics, in particular the connection to the existence or not of an appropriate reference frame. We propose an experiment that aims to exhibit a coherent superposition of an atom and a molecule, apparently in violation of the commonly-accepted particle-number superselection rule. This result sheds light on the entanglement of particles approach to entanglement of indistinguishable particles. Part II returns to a fundamental question at the heart of quantum computation and quantum information, namely: how many quantum gates are required to perform a particular quantum computation? In other words, how efficiently can a quantum computer solve a particular computational problem? We establish a connection between this question and the field of Riemannian geometry. Intuitively, optimal quantum circuits correspond to “free-falling” along the shortest path between two points in a curved space. This opens up the possibility of using Riemannian geometry to study quantum computation, a possibility that was previously unknown. We provide explicit calculations of all the basic geometric quantities associated with the space, and give some preliminary results of applying geometric ideas to quantum computing. Finally, we explore more generally the connection between optimal control and quantum circuit complexity, of which the Riemannian metric described above can be viewed as a special case.

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Created: Fri, 21 Nov 2008, 15:37:25 EST