A paradox in bosonic energy computations via semidefinite programming relaxations

M. Navascues, A. Garcia-Saez, A. Acin, S. Pironio, M. B. Plenio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


We show that the recent hierarchy of semidefinite programming relaxations based on non-commutative polynomial optimization and reduced density matrix variational methods exhibits an interesting paradox when applied to the bosonic case: even though it can be rigorously proven that the hierarchy collapses after the first step, numerical implementations of higher order steps generate a sequence of improving lower bounds that converges to the optimal solution. We analyze this effect and compare it with similar behavior observed in implementations of semidefinite programming relaxations for commutative polynomial minimization. We conclude that the method converges due to the rounding errors occurring during the execution of the numerical program, and show that convergence is lost as soon as computer precision is incremented. We support this conclusion by proving that for any element p of a Weyl algebra which is non-negative in the Schrodinger representation there exists another element p' arbitrarily close to p that admits a sum of squares decomposition.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
JournalNew Journal of Physics
Publication statusPublished - 16 Mar 2012

Bibliographical note

22 pages, 4 figures


  • quant-ph

Cite this