Canadian Summer School on Quantum Information (CSSQI) (10th : 2010)

Topological Quantum Computation Bonesteel, Nick


Certain exotic states of matter, so-called non-Abelian states, have the potential to provide a natural medium for the storage and manipulation of quantum information. In these states, localized particle-like excitations (quasiparticles) possess quantum numbers which are in many ways analogous to ordinary spin quantum numbers. However, unlike ordinary spins, the quantum information associated with these quantum numbers is stored globally, throughout the entire system, and so is intrinsically protected against decoherence. Quantum computation can then be carried out by dragging these quasiparticles around one another so that their trajectories sweep out world-lines in 2+1-dimensional space-time. The resulting computation depends only on the topology of the braids formed by these world-lines, and thus is robust against error. In these lectures I will review the theory of non-Abelian states, including the necessary mathematical background for describing the braiding of their quasiparticles. I will then introduce the basic ideas behind topological quantum computation and demonstrate explicitly that certain non-Abelian quasiparticles can indeed by used for universal quantum computation by showing how any quantum algorithm can be "compiled" into a braiding pattern for them. I will also discuss the most promising experimental systems for realizing non-Abelian quasiparticles, focusing primarily on fractional quantum Hall states.

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