Highlighting the Mechanism of the Quantum Speedup by Time-Symmetric and Relational Quantum Mechanics

Foundations of Physics 46 (3):360-381 (2016)

Bob hides a ball in one of four drawers. Alice is to locate it. Classically she has to open up to three drawers, quantally just one. The fundamental reason for this quantum speedup is not known. The usual representation of the quantum algorithm is limited to the process of solving the problem. We extend it to the process of setting the problem. The number of the drawer with the ball becomes a unitary transformation of the random outcome of the preparation measurement. This extended, time-symmetric, representation brings in relational quantum mechanics. It is with respect to Bob and any external observer and cannot be with respect to Alice. It would tell her the number of the drawer with the ball before she opens any drawer. To Alice, the projection of the quantum state due to the preparation measurement should be retarded at the end of her search; in the input state of the search, the drawer number is determined to Bob and undetermined to Alice. We show that, mathematically, one can ascribe any part of the selection of the random outcome of the preparation measurement to the final Alice’s measurement. Ascribing half of it explains the speedup of the present algorithm. This leaves the input state to Bob unaltered and projects that to Alice on a state of lower entropy where she knows half of the number of the drawer with the ball in advance. The quantum algorithm turns out to be a sum over histories in each of which Alice knows in advance that the ball is in a pair of drawers and locates it by opening one of the two. In the sample of quantum algorithms examined, the part of the random outcome of the initial measurement selected by the final measurement is one half or slightly above it. Conversely, given an oracle problem, the assumption it is one half always corresponds to an existing quantum algorithm and gives the order of magnitude of the number of oracle queries required by the optimal one
Keywords Quantum information  Quantum computation  Quantum speedup  Time-symmetric quantum mechanics  Relational quantum mechanics  Quantum correlation and Quantum retrocausality
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DOI 10.1007/s10701-015-9968-4
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