Communications in Mathematical Physics

, Volume 346, Issue 2, pp 397–434 | Cite as

Local Random Quantum Circuits are Approximate Polynomial-Designs

  • Fernando G. S. L. BrandãoEmail author
  • Aram W. Harrow
  • Michał Horodecki


We prove that local random quantum circuits acting on n qubits composed of O(t 10 n 2) many nearest neighbor two-qubit gates form an approximate unitary t-design. Previously it was unknown whether random quantum circuits were a t-design for any t >  3. The proof is based on an interplay of techniques from quantum many-body theory, representation theory, and the theory of Markov chains. In particular we employ a result of Nachtergaele for lower bounding the spectral gap of frustration-free quantum local Hamiltonians; a quasi-orthogonality property of permutation matrices; a result of Oliveira which extends to the unitary group the path-coupling method for bounding the mixing time of random walks; and a result of Bourgain and Gamburd showing that dense subgroups of the special unitary group, composed of elements with algebraic entries, are ∞-copy tensor-product expanders. We also consider pseudo-randomness properties of local random quantum circuits of small depth and prove that circuits of depth O(t 10 n) constitute a quantum t-copy tensor-product expander. The proof also rests on techniques from quantum many-body theory, in particular on the detectability lemma of Aharonov, Arad, Landau, and Vazirani. We give applications of the results to cryptography, equilibration of closed quantum dynamics, and the generation of topological order. In particular we show the following pseudo-randomness property of generic quantum circuits: Almost every circuit U of size O(n k ) on n qubits cannot be distinguished from a Haar uniform unitary by circuits of size O(n (k-9)/11) that are given oracle access to U.


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fernando G. S. L. Brandão
    • 1
    Email author
  • Aram W. Harrow
    • 2
  • Michał Horodecki
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Computer ScienceUniversity College LondonLondonUK
  2. 2.Center for Theoretical PhysicsMassachusetts Institute of TechnologyCambridgeUSA
  3. 3.Institute of Theoretical Physics and Astrophysics, National Quantum Information Centre, Faculty of Mathematics, Physics and InformaticsUniversity of GdańskGdańskPoland

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