The study of distributed interactive proofs was initiated by Kol, Oshman, and Saxena [PODC 2018] as a generalization of distributed decision mechanisms (proof-labeling schemes, etc.), and has received a lot of attention in recent years. In distributed interactive proofs, the nodes of an n-node network G can exchange short messages (called certificates) with a powerful prover. The goal is to decide if the input (including G itself) belongs to some language, with as few turns of interaction and as few bits exchanged between nodes and the prover as possible. There are several results showing that the size of certificates can be reduced drastically with a constant number of interactions compared to non-interactive distributed proofs.

In this paper, we introduce the quantum counterpart of distributed interactive proofs: certificates can now be quantum bits, and the nodes of the network can perform quantum computation. The first result of this paper shows that by using distributed quantum interactive proofs, the number of interactions can be significantly reduced. More precisely, our result shows that for any constant k, the class of languages that can be decided by a k-turn classical (i.e., non-quantum) distributed interactive protocol with f(n)-bit certificate size is contained in the class of languages that can be decided by a 5-turn distributed quantum interactive protocol with O(f(n))-bit certificate size. We also show that if we allow to use shared randomness, the number of turns can be reduced to three. Since no similar turn-reduction classical technique is currently known, our result gives evidence of the power of quantum computation in the setting of distributed interactive proofs as well.

As a corollary of our results, we show that there exist 5-turn/3-turn distributed quantum interactive protocols with small certificate size for problems that have been considered in prior works on distributed interactive proofs such as [Kol, Oshman, and Saxena PODC 2018, Naor, Parter, and Yogev SODA 2020].

We then utilize the framework of the distributed quantum interactive proofs to test closeness of two quantum states each of which is distributed over the entire network.