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Abstract:A promising strategy to protect quantum information from noise-induced errors is to encode it into the low-energy states of a topological quantum memory device. However, readout errors from such memory under realistic settings is less understood. We study the problem of decoding quantum information encoded in the groundspaces of topological stabilizer Hamiltonians in the presence of generic perturbations, such as quenched disorder. We first prove that the standard stabilizer-based error correction and decoding schemes work adequately well in such perturbed quantum codes by showing that the decoding error diminishes exponentially in the distance of the underlying unperturbed code. We then prove that Quantum Neural Network (QNN) decoders provide an almost quadratic improvement on the readout error. Thus, we demonstrate provable advantage of using QNNs for decoding realistic quantum error-correcting codes, and our result enables the exploration of a wider range of non-stabilizer codes in the near-term laboratory settings.

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Authors:Weishun Zhong

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Abstract:Disordered many-body systems exhibit a wide range of emergent phenomena across different scales. These complex behaviors can be utilized for various information processing tasks such as error correction, learning, and optimization. Despite the empirical success of utilizing these systems for intelligent tasks, the underlying principles that govern their emergent intelligent behaviors remain largely unknown. In this thesis, we aim to characterize such emergent intelligence in disordered systems through statistical physics. We chart a roadmap for our efforts in this thesis based on two axes: learning mechanisms (long-term memory vs. working memory) and learning dynamics (artificial vs. natural). Throughout our journey, we uncover relationships between learning mechanisms and physical dynamics that could serve as guiding principles for designing intelligent systems. We hope that our investigation into the emergent intelligence of seemingly disparate learning systems can expand our current understanding of intelligence beyond neural systems and uncover a wider range of computational substrates suitable for AI applications.

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Abstract:Born Machines are quantum-inspired generative models that leverage the probabilistic nature of quantum states. Here, we present a new architecture called many-body localized (MBL) hidden Born machine that uses both MBL dynamics and hidden units as learning resources. We theoretically prove that MBL Born machines possess more expressive power than classical models, and the introduction of hidden units boosts its learning power. We numerically demonstrate that the MBL hidden Born machine is capable of learning a toy dataset consisting of patterns of MNIST handwritten digits, quantum data obtained from quantum many-body states, and non-local parity data. In order to understand the mechanism behind learning, we track physical quantities such as von Neumann entanglement entropy and Hamming distance during learning, and compare the learning outcomes in the MBL, thermal, and Anderson localized phases. We show that the superior learning power of the MBL phase relies importantly on both localization and interaction. Our architecture and algorithm provide novel strategies of utilizing quantum many-body systems as learning resources, and reveal a powerful connection between disorder, interaction, and learning in quantum systems.

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Abstract:A central question in computational neuroscience is how structure determines function in neural networks. The emerging high-quality large-scale connectomic datasets raise the question of what general functional principles can be gleaned from structural information such as the distribution of excitatory/inhibitory synapse types and the distribution of synaptic weights. Motivated by this question, we developed a statistical mechanical theory of learning in neural networks that incorporates structural information as constraints. We derived an analytical solution for the memory capacity of the perceptron, a basic feedforward model of supervised learning, with constraint on the distribution of its weights. Our theory predicts that the reduction in capacity due to the constrained weight-distribution is related to the Wasserstein distance between the imposed distribution and that of the standard normal distribution. To test the theoretical predictions, we use optimal transport theory and information geometry to develop an SGD-based algorithm to find weights that simultaneously learn the input-output task and satisfy the distribution constraint. We show that training in our algorithm can be interpreted as geodesic flows in the Wasserstein space of probability distributions. We further developed a statistical mechanical theory for teacher-student perceptron rule learning and ask for the best way for the student to incorporate prior knowledge of the rule. Our theory shows that it is beneficial for the learner to adopt different prior weight distributions during learning, and shows that distribution-constrained learning outperforms unconstrained and sign-constrained learning. Our theory and algorithm provide novel strategies for incorporating prior knowledge about weights into learning, and reveal a powerful connection between structure and function in neural networks.

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Abstract:In many data analysis tasks, it is beneficial to learn representations where each dimension is statistically independent and thus disentangled from the others. If data generating factors are also statistically independent, disentangled representations can be formed by Bayesian inference of latent variables. We examine a generalization of the Variational Autoencoder (VAE), $\beta$-VAE, for learning such representations using variational inference. $\beta$-VAE enforces conditional independence of its bottleneck neurons controlled by its hyperparameter $\beta$. This condition is in general not compatible with the statistical independence of latents. By providing analytical and numerical arguments, we show that this incompatibility leads to a non-monotonic inference performance in $\beta$-VAE with a finite optimal $\beta$.

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