Quantum codes give counterexamples to the unique preimage conjecture of the N-representability problem

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Journal Article
Physical Review Letters, 2011, 106 (11)
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It is well known that the ground state energy of many-particle Hamiltonians involving only 2-body interactions can be obtained using constrained optimizations over density matrices which arise from reducing an N-particle state. While determining which 2-particle density matrices are "N-representable" is a computationally hard problem, all known extreme N-representable 2-particle reduced density matrices arise from a unique N-particle preimage, satisfying a conjecture established in 1972. We present explicit counterexamples to this conjecture through giving Hamiltonians with 2-body interactions which have degenerate ground states that cannot be distinguished by any 2-body operator. We relate the existence of such counterexamples to quantum error correction codes and topologically ordered spin systems. © 2011 American Physical Society.
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