Neural tensor contractions and the expressive power of deep neural quantum states

Or Sharir, Amnon Shashua, Giuseppe Carleo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


We establish a direct connection between general tensor networks and deep feed-forward artificial neural networks. The core of our results is the construction of neural-network layers that efficiently perform tensor contractions and that use commonly adopted nonlinear activation functions. The resulting deep networks feature a number of edges that closely match the contraction complexity of the tensor networks to be approximated. In the context of many-body quantum states, this result establishes that neural-network states have strictly the same or higher expressive power than practically usable variational tensor networks. As an example, we show that all matrix product states can be efficiently written as neural-network states with a number of edges polynomial in the bond dimension and depth that is logarithmic in the system size. The opposite instead does not hold true, and our results imply that there exist quantum states that are not efficiently expressible in terms of matrix product states or projected entangled pair states but that are instead efficiently expressible with neural network states.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number205136
JournalPhysical Review B
Issue number20
StatePublished - 15 Nov 2022

Bibliographical note

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© 2022 authors. Published by the American Physical Society. Published by the American Physical Society under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license. Further distribution of this work must maintain attribution to the author(s) and the published article's title, journal citation, and DOI.


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