On the experimental verification of quantum complexity in linear optics

Jacques Carolan, Jasmin D. A. Meinecke, Peter J S Shadbolt, Nick J Russell, Nur Ismail, Kerstin Wörhoff, Terry Rudolph, Mark G. Thompson, Jeremy L. O'Brien, Jonathan C. F. Matthews, Anthony Laing

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

181 Citations (Scopus)


Quantum computers promise to solve certain problems that are forever intractable to classical computers. The first of these devices are likely to tackle bespoke problems suited to their own particular physical capabilities. Sampling the probability distribution from many bosons interfering quantum-mechanically is conjectured to be intractable to a classical computer but solvable with photons in linear optics. However, the complexity of this type of problem means its solution is mathematically unverifiable, so the task of establishing successful operation becomes one of gathering sufficiently convincing circumstantial or experimental evidence. Here, we develop scalable methods to experimentally establish correct operation for this class of computation, which we implement for three, four and five photons in integrated optical circuits, on Hilbert spaces of up to 50,000 dimensions. Our broad approach is practical for all quantum computational architectures where formal verification methods for quantum algorithms are either intractable or unknown.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)621-626
Number of pages6
JournalNature Photonics
Issue number8
Early online date20 Jul 2014
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2014

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