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Dissertation Defense

Classical Computation in the Quantum World

Cupjin Huang

Quantum computation is by far the most powerful computational model allowed by the law of physics. By carefully manipulating microscopic systems governed by quantum mechanics, one can efficiently solve problems that may be classically intractable; on the contrary, such speed-ups are rarely possible without the help of classical computation, since most quantum algorithms rely heavily on subroutines that are purely classical. A better understanding of the relationship between classical and quantum computation is indispensable, in particular in an era where the first quantum device exceeding classical computational power is within reach.

In the first part of the thesis, we study some differences between classical and quantum computation. We first show that quantum cryptographic hashing is maximally resilient against classical leakage, a property beyond reach for any classical hash function. Next, we consider the limitation of strong (amplitude-wise) simulation of quantum computation. We prove an unconditional and explicit complexity lower bound for a category of simulations called monotone strong simulation, and further prove conditional complexity lower bounds for general strong simulation techniques. Both results indicate that strong simulation is fundamentally unscalable.

In the second part of the thesis, we propose classical algorithms that facilitate quantum computing. We propose a new classical algorithm for the synthesis of a quantum algorithm paradigm called quantum signal processing. Empirically, our algorithm demonstrates numerical stability and acceleration of more than one magnitude compared to state-of-the-art algorithms. Finally, we propose a randomized algorithm for transversally switching between arbitrary stabilizer quantum error-correcting codes. It has the property of preserving the code distance and thus might prove useful for designing fault-tolerant code-switching schemes.

Sponsored by

Yaoyun Shi