Contextuality supplies the 'magic' for quantum computation

Mark Howard, Joel Wallman, Victor Veitch, Joseph Emerson
2014 Nature  
Quantum computers promise dramatic advantages over their classical counterparts, but the answer to the most basic question "What is the source of the power in quantum computing?" has remained elusive. Here we prove a remarkable equivalence between the onset of contextuality and the possibility of universal quantum computation via magic state distillation. This is a conceptually satisfying link because contextuality provides one of the fundamental characterizations of uniquely quantum phenomena
more » ... nd, moreover, magic state distillation is the leading model for experimentally realizing fault-tolerant quantum computation. Furthermore, this connection suggests a unifying paradigm for the resources of quantum information: the nonlocality of quantum theory is a particular kind of contextuality and nonlocality is already known to be a critical resource for achieving advantages with quantum communication. In addition to clarifying these fundamental issues, this work advances the resource framework for quantum computation, which has a number of practical applications, such as characterizing the efficiency and trade-offs between distinct theoretical and experimental schemes for achieving robust quantum computation and bounding the overhead cost for the classical simulation of quantum algorithms.
doi:10.1038/nature13460 pmid:24919152 fatcat:nyooeh5mibcb3dhmctqhhcgrom