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Sitan Chen, Brice Huang, Jerry Li, Allen Liu, Mark Sellke

We consider the classic question of state tomography: given copies of an unknown quantum state $\rho\in\mathbb{C}^{d\times d}$, output $\widehat{\rho}$ for which $\|\rho - \widehat{\rho}\|_{\mathsf{tr}} \le \varepsilon$. When one is allowed to make coherent measurements entangled across all copies, $\Theta(d^2/\varepsilon^2)$ copies are necessary and sufficient [Haah et al. '17, O'Donnell-Wright '16]. Unfortunately, the protocols achieving this rate incur large quantum memory overheads that preclude implementation on current or near-term devices. On the other hand, the best known protocol using incoherent (single-copy) measurements uses $O(d^3/\varepsilon^2)$ copies [Kueng-Rauhut-Terstiege '17], and multiple papers have posed it as an open question to understand whether or not this rate is tight. In this work, we fully resolve this question, by showing that any protocol using incoherent measurements, even if they are chosen adaptively, requires $\Omega(d^3/\varepsilon^2)$ copies, matching the upper bound of [Kueng-Rauhut-Terstiege '17]. We do so by a new proof technique which directly bounds the "tilt" of the posterior distribution after measurements, which yields a surprisingly short proof of our lower bound, and which we believe may be of independent interest.

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Sitan Chen, Brice Huang, Jerry Li, Allen Liu

We consider the problem of quantum state certification, where we are given the description of a mixed state $\sigma \in \mathbb{C}^{d \times d}$, $n$ copies of a mixed state $\rho \in \mathbb{C}^{d \times d}$, and $\varepsilon > 0$, and we are asked to determine whether $\rho = \sigma$ or whether $\| \rho - \sigma \|_1 > \varepsilon$. When $\sigma$ is the maximally mixed state $\frac{1}{d} I_d$, this is known as mixedness testing. We focus on algorithms which use incoherent measurements, i.e. which only measure one copy of $\rho$ at a time. Unlike those that use entangled, multi-copy measurements, these can be implemented without persistent quantum memory and thus represent a large class of protocols that can be run on current or near-term devices. For mixedness testing, there is a folklore algorithm which uses incoherent measurements and only needs $O(d^{3/2} / \varepsilon^2)$ copies. The algorithm is non-adaptive, that is, its measurements are fixed ahead of time, and is known to be optimal for non-adaptive algorithms. However, when the algorithm can make arbitrary incoherent measurements, the best known lower bound is only $\Omega (d^{4/3} / \varepsilon^2)$ [Bubeck-Chen-Li '20], and it has been an outstanding open problem to close this polynomial gap. In this work, 1) we settle the copy complexity of mixedness testing with incoherent measurements and show that $\Omega (d^{3/2} / \varepsilon^2)$ copies are necessary, and 2) we show the instance-optimal bounds for state certification to general $\sigma$ first derived by [Chen-Li-O'Donnell '21] for non-adaptive measurements also hold for arbitrary incoherent measurements. Qualitatively, our results say that adaptivity does not help at all for these problems. Our results are based on new techniques that allow us to reduce the problem to understanding certain matrix martingales, which we believe may be of independent interest.

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Guy Bresler, Brice Huang

Let $\Phi$ be a uniformly random $k$-SAT formula with $n$ variables and $m$ clauses. We study the algorithmic task of finding a satisfying assignment of $\Phi$. It is known that a satisfying assignment exists with high probability at clause density $m/n < 2^k \log 2 - \frac{1}{2} (\log 2 + 1) + o_k(1)$, while the best polynomial-time algorithm known, the Fix algorithm of Coja-Oghlan, finds a satisfying assignment at the much lower clause density $(1 - o_k(1)) 2^k \log k / k$. This prompts the question: is it possible to efficiently find a satisfying assignment at higher clause densities? To understand the algorithmic threshold of random $k$-SAT, we study low degree polynomial algorithms, which are a powerful class of algorithms including Fix, Survey Propagation guided decimation (with bounded or mildly growing number of message passing rounds), and paradigms such as message passing and local graph algorithms. We show that low degree polynomial algorithms can find a satisfying assignment at clause density $(1 - o_k(1)) 2^k \log k / k$, matching Fix, and not at clause density $(1 + o_k(1)) \kappa^* 2^k \log k / k$, where $\kappa^* \approx 4.911$. This shows the first sharp (up to constant factor) computational phase transition of random $k$-SAT for a class of algorithms. Our proof establishes and leverages a new many-way overlap gap property tailored to random $k$-SAT.

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