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A LinearOptical Proof that the Permanent is #PHard Scott Aaronson #

Summary: A Linear­Optical Proof that the Permanent is #P­Hard
Scott Aaronson #
For Les Valiant, on the occasion of his Turing Award
One of the crown jewels of complexity theory is Valiant's 1979 theorem that computing the
permanent of an n × n matrix is #P­hard. Here we show that, by using the model of linear­
optical quantum computing---and in particular, a universality theorem due to Knill, Laflamme,
and Milburn---one can give a di#erent and arguably more intuitive proof of this theorem.
1 Introduction
Given an n × n matrix A = (a i,j ), the permanent of A is defined as
Per (A) = #
# i=1
a i,#(i) .
A seminal result of Valiant [15] says that computing Per (A) is #P­hard, if A is a matrix over (say)
the integers, the nonnegative integers, or the set {0, 1}. 1 Here #P means (informally) the class of
counting problems---problems that involve summing exponentially­many nonnegative integers---and
#P­hard means ``at least as hard as any #P problem.'' 2,3
More concretely, Valiant gave a polynomial­time algorithm that takes as input an instance


Source: Aaronson, Scott - Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)


Collections: Physics; Computer Technologies and Information Sciences