PerspectiveComputer Science

Randomness in Quantum Computation

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Science  19 Dec 2003:
Vol. 302, Issue 5653, pp. 2076-2077
DOI: 10.1126/science.1092977

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Introducing randomness by computationally flipping a coin can increase the efficiency of classical computer algorithms. Quantum computing may also benefit from the introduction of randomness, but doing so is less straightforward because at any step, a quantum computer can follow a continuous set of possible paths. In his Perspective, Paz explains that a good approximation of randomness can be introduced more easily than was anticipated. He highlights the report by Emerson et al., who have devised a two-step procedure that allows the efficient implementation of quantum coin-tosses in an approximate but useful way.

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