Quantum information can be negative

M Horodecki, J Oppenheim, AJ Winter

Research output: Non-textual formWeb publication/site


Given an unknown quantum state distributed over two systems, we determine how much quantum communication is needed to transfer the full state to one system. This communication measures the "partial information" one system needs conditioned on it's prior information. It turns out to be given by an extremely simple formula, the conditional entropy. In the classical case, partial information must always be positive, but we find that in the quantum world this physical quantity can be negative. If the partial information is positive, its sender needs to communicate this number of quantum bits to the receiver; if it is negative, the sender and receiver instead gain the corresponding potential for future quantum communication. We introduce a primitive "quantum state merging" which optimally transfers partial information. We show how it enables a systematic understanding of quantum network theory, and discuss several important applications including distributed compression, multiple access channels and multipartite assisted entanglement distillation (localizable entanglement). Negative channel capacities also receive a natural interpretation.
Translated title of the contributionQuantum information can be negative
Original languageEnglish
PublisherCornell University Press
Publication statusPublished - 9 May 2005

Bibliographical note

Other: Published in Nature 436:673-676 (2005) as "Partial quantum information"

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