Adiabatic quantum state generation and statistical zero knowledge

Dorit Aharonov*, Amnon Ta-Shma

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

226 Scopus citations


The design of new quantum algorithms has proven to be an extremely difficult task. This paper considers a different approach to the problem, by studying the problem of 'Quantum state generation'. We first show that any problem in Statistical Zero Knowledge (including eg. discrete log, quadratic residuosity and gap closest vector in a lattice) can be reduced to an instance of the quantum state generation problem. Having shown the generality of the state generation problem, we set the foundations for a new paradigm for quantum state generation. We define 'Adiabatic State Generation' (ASG), which is based on Hamiltonians instead of unitary gates. We develop tools for ASG including a very general method for implementing Hamiltonians (The sparse Hamiltonian lemma), and ways to guarantee non negligible spectral gaps (The jagged adiabatic path lemma). We also prove that ASG is equivalent in power to state generation in the standard quantum model. After setting the foundations for ASG, we show how to apply our techniques to generate interesting superpositions related to Markov chains. The ASG approach to quantum algorithms provides intriguing links between quantum computation and many different areas: the analysis of spectral gaps and groundstates of Hamiltonians in physics, rapidly mixing Markov chains, statistical zero knowledge, and quantum random walks. We hope that these links will bring new insights and methods into quantum algorithms.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)20-29
Number of pages10
JournalConference Proceedings of the Annual ACM Symposium on Theory of Computing
StatePublished - 2003
Event35th Annual ACM Symposium on Theory of Computing - San Diego, CA, United States
Duration: 9 Jun 200311 Jun 2003


  • Hamiltonian
  • Markov chains
  • Quantum adiabatic computation
  • Quantum sampling
  • Spectral gap
  • State generation
  • Statistical zero knowledge


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