Complexity-constrained quantum thermodynamics

TitleComplexity-constrained quantum thermodynamics
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2024
AuthorsMunson, A, Kothakonda, NBhavya Tej, Haferkamp, J, Halpern, NYunger, Eisert, J, Faist, P
Date Published3/7/2024

Quantum complexity measures the difficulty of realizing a quantum process, such as preparing a state or implementing a unitary. We present an approach to quantifying the thermodynamic resources required to implement a process if the process's complexity is restricted. We focus on the prototypical task of information erasure, or Landauer erasure, wherein an n-qubit memory is reset to the all-zero state. We show that the minimum thermodynamic work required to reset an arbitrary state, via a complexity-constrained process, is quantified by the state's complexity entropy. The complexity entropy therefore quantifies a trade-off between the work cost and complexity cost of resetting a state. If the qubits have a nontrivial (but product) Hamiltonian, the optimal work cost is determined by the complexity relative entropy. The complexity entropy quantifies the amount of randomness a system appears to have to a computationally limited observer. Similarly, the complexity relative entropy quantifies such an observer's ability to distinguish two states. We prove elementary properties of the complexity (relative) entropy and determine the complexity entropy's behavior under random circuits. Also, we identify information-theoretic applications of the complexity entropy. The complexity entropy quantifies the resources required for data compression if the compression algorithm must use a restricted number of gates. We further introduce a complexity conditional entropy, which arises naturally in a complexity-constrained variant of information-theoretic decoupling. Assuming that this entropy obeys a conjectured chain rule, we show that the entropy bounds the number of qubits that one can decouple from a reference system, as judged by a computationally bounded referee. Overall, our framework extends the resource-theoretic approach to thermodynamics to integrate a notion of time, as quantified by complexity.