Quantum Space, Ground Space Traversal, and How to Embed Multi-Prover Interactive Proofs into Unentanglement

Authors Sevag Gharibian , Dorian Rudolph

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Sevag Gharibian
  • Universität Paderborn, Germany
Dorian Rudolph
  • Universität Paderborn, Germany


We thank Rolando Somma for pointing us to [Clinton et al., 2021] and for interesting discussions, and Chinmay Nirke for feedback on this manuscript.

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Sevag Gharibian and Dorian Rudolph. Quantum Space, Ground Space Traversal, and How to Embed Multi-Prover Interactive Proofs into Unentanglement. In 14th Innovations in Theoretical Computer Science Conference (ITCS 2023). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 251, pp. 53:1-53:23, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2023)


A celebrated result in classical complexity theory is Savitch’s theorem, which states that non-deterministic polynomial-space computations (NPSPACE) can be simulated by deterministic poly-space computations (PSPACE). In this work, we initiate the study of a quantum analogue of NPSPACE, denoted Streaming-QCMASPACE (SQCMASPACE), in which an exponentially long classical proof is streamed to a poly-space quantum verifier. We first show that a quantum analogue of Savitch’s theorem is unlikely to hold, in that SQCMASPACE = NEXP. For completeness, we also introduce the companion class Streaming-QMASPACE (SQMASPACE) with an exponentially long streamed quantum proof, and show SQMASPACE = QMAEXP (the quantum analogue of NEXP). Our primary focus, however, is on the study of exponentially long streaming classical proofs, where we next show the following two main results. The first result shows that, in strong contrast to the classical setting, the solution space of a quantum constraint satisfaction problem (i.e. a local Hamiltonian) is always connected when exponentially long proofs are permitted. For this, we show how to simulate any Lipschitz continuous path on the unit hypersphere via a sequence of local unitary gates, at the expense of blowing up the circuit size. This shows that quantum error-correcting codes can be unable to detect one codeword erroneously evolving to another if the evolution happens sufficiently slowly, and answers an open question of [Gharibian, Sikora, ICALP 2015] regarding the Ground State Connectivity problem. Our second main result is that any SQCMASPACE computation can be embedded into "unentanglement", i.e. into a quantum constraint satisfaction problem with unentangled provers. Formally, we show how to embed SQCMASPACE into the Sparse Separable Hamiltonian problem of [Chailloux, Sattath, CCC 2012] (QMA(2)-complete for 1/poly promise gap), at the expense of scaling the promise gap with the streamed proof size. As a corollary, we obtain the first systematic construction for obtaining QMA(2)-type upper bounds on arbitrary multi-prover interactive proof systems, where the QMA(2) promise gap scales exponentially with the number of bits of communication in the interactive proof. Our construction uses a new technique for exploiting unentanglement to simulate quadratic Boolean functions, which in some sense allows history states to encode the future.

Subject Classification

ACM Subject Classification
  • Theory of computation → Complexity classes
  • Theory of computation → Quantum complexity theory
  • quantum complexity theory
  • Quantum Merlin Arthur (QMA)
  • QMA(2)
  • ground state connectivity (GSCON)
  • quantum error correction


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