On the complexity of two dimensional commuting local hamiltonians

Dorit Aharonov, Oded Kenneth, Itamar Vigdorovich

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


The complexity of the commuting local Hamiltonians (CLH) problem still remains a mystery after two decades of research of quantum Hamiltonian complexity; it is only known to be contained in NP for few low parameters. Of particular interest is the tightly related question of understanding whether groundstates of CLHs can be generated by efficient quantum circuits. The two problems touch upon conceptual, physical and computational questions, including the centrality of non-commutation in quantum mechanics, quantum PCP and the area law. It is natural to try to address first the more physical case of CLHs embedded on a 2D lattice, but this problem too remained open apart from some very specific cases [4, 17, 24]. Here we consider a wide class of two dimensional CLH instances; these are k-local CLHs, for any constant k; they are defined on qubits set on the edges of any surface complex, where we require that this surface complex is not too far from being “Euclidean”. Each vertex and each face can be associated with an arbitrary term (as long as the terms commute). We show that this class is in NP, and moreover that the groundstates have an efficient quantum circuit that prepares them. This result subsumes that of Schuch [24] which regarded the special case of 4-local Hamiltonians on a grid with qubits, and by that it removes the mysterious feature of Schuch’s proof which showed containment in NP without providing a quantum circuit for the groundstate and considerably generalizes it. We believe this work and the tools we develop make a significant step towards showing that 2D CLHs are in NP.

Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publication13th Conference on the Theory of Quantum Computation, Communication and Cryptography, TQC 2018
EditorsStacey Jeffery
PublisherSchloss Dagstuhl- Leibniz-Zentrum fur Informatik GmbH, Dagstuhl Publishing
ISBN (Electronic)9783959770804
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2018
Event13th Conference on the Theory of Quantum Computation, Communication and Cryptography, TQC 2018 - Sydney, Australia
Duration: 16 Jul 201818 Jul 2018

Publication series

NameLeibniz International Proceedings in Informatics, LIPIcs
ISSN (Print)1868-8969


Conference13th Conference on the Theory of Quantum Computation, Communication and Cryptography, TQC 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Dorit Aharonov, Oded Kenneth, and Itamar Vigdorovich.


  • And phrases local Hamiltonian complexity
  • Commuting Hamiltonians
  • Ground states
  • Local Hamiltonian problem
  • Logical operators
  • Multiparticle entanglement
  • QMA
  • Quantum NP
  • Ribbon
  • Topological order
  • Toric code
  • Trivial states


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