Verification of quantum programs

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Journal Article
Science of Computer Programming, 2013, 78 (9), pp. 1679 - 1700
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This paper develops verification methodology for quantum programs, and the contribution of the paper is two-fold. Sharir, Pnueli and Hart [M. Sharir, A. Pnueli, S. Hart, Verification of probabilistic programs, SIAM Journal of Computing 13 (1984) 292-314] presented a general method for proving properties of probabilistic programs, in which a probabilistic program is modeled by a Markov chain and an assertion on the output distribution is extended to an invariant assertion on all intermediate distributions. Their method is essentially a probabilistic generalization of the classical Floyd inductive assertion method. In this paper, we consider quantum programs modeled by quantum Markov chains which are defined by super-operators. It is shown that the Sharir-Pnueli-Hart method can be elegantly generalized to quantum programs by exploiting the Schrödinger-Heisenberg duality between quantum states and observables. In particular, a completeness theorem for the Sharir-Pnueli-Hart verification method of quantum programs is established.As indicated by the completeness theorem, the Sharir-Pnueli-Hart method is in principle effective for verifying all properties of quantum programs that can be expressed in terms of Hermitian operators (observables). But it is not feasible for many practical applications because of the complicated calculation involved in the verification. For the case of finite-dimensional state spaces, we find a method for verification of quantum programs much simpler than the Sharir-Pnueli-Hart method by employing the matrix representation of super-operators and Jordan decomposition of matrices. In particular, this method enables us to compute easily the average running time and to analyze some interesting long-run behaviors of quantum programs in a finite-dimensional state space. © 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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