Communications in Mathematical Physics

, Volume 356, Issue 2, pp 451–500 | Cite as

Complexity of Quantum Impurity Problems

  • Sergey Bravyi
  • David GossetEmail author


We give a quasi-polynomial time classical algorithm for estimating the ground state energy and for computing low energy states of quantum impurity models. Such models describe a bath of free fermions coupled to a small interacting subsystem called an impurity. The full system consists of n fermionic modes and has a Hamiltonian \({H=H_0+H_{imp}}\), where H 0 is quadratic in creation–annihilation operators and H imp is an arbitrary Hamiltonian acting on a subset of O(1) modes. We show that the ground energy of H can be approximated with an additive error \({2^{-b}}\) in time \({n^3 \exp{[O(b^3)]}}\). Our algorithm also finds a low energy state that achieves this approximation. The low energy state is represented as a superposition of \({\exp{[O(b^3)]}}\) fermionic Gaussian states. To arrive at this result we prove several theorems concerning exact ground states of impurity models. In particular, we show that eigenvalues of the ground state covariance matrix decay exponentially with the exponent depending very mildly on the spectral gap of H 0. A key ingredient of our proof is Zolotarev’s rational approximation to the \({\sqrt{x}}\) function. We anticipate that our algorithms may be used in hybrid quantum-classical simulations of strongly correlated materials based on dynamical mean field theory. We implemented a simplified practical version of our algorithm and benchmarked it using the single impurity Anderson model.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.IBM T.J. Watson Research CenterYorktown HeightsUSA

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