The Swap gate is a ubiquitous tool for moving information on quantum hardware, yet it can be considered a classical operation because it does not entangle product states. Genuinely quantum operations could outperform Swap for the task of permuting qubits within an architecture, which we call routing. We consider quantum routing in two models: (1) allowing arbitrary two-qubit unitaries, or (2) allowing Hamiltonians with norm-bounded interactions. We lower bound the circuit depth or time of quantum routing in terms of spectral properties of graphs representing the architecture interaction constraints, and give a generalized upper bound for all simple connected $n$-vertex graphs. In particular, we give conditions for a superpolynomial classical-quantum routing separation, which exclude graphs with a small spectral gap and graphs of bounded degree. Finally, we provide examples of a quadratic separation between gate-based and Hamiltonian routing models with a constant number of local ancillas per qubit and of an $\Omega(n)$ speedup if we also allow fast local interactions.
Quantum routing with fast reversals
We present methods for implementing arbitrary permutations of qubits under interaction constraints. Our protocols make use of previous methods for rapidly reversing the order of qubits along a path. Given nearest-neighbor interactions on a path of length n , we show that there exists a constant ϵ ≈ 0.034 such that the quantum routing time is at most ( 1 − ϵ ) n , whereas any swap-based protocol needs at least time n − 1 . This represents the first known quantum advantage over swap-based routing methods and also gives improved quantum routing times for realistic architectures such as grids. Furthermore, we show that our algorithm approaches a quantum routing time of 2 n / 3 in expectation for uniformly random permutations, whereas swap-based protocols require time n asymptotically. Additionally, we consider sparse permutations that route k ≤ n qubits and give algorithms with quantum routing time at most n / 3 + O ( k 2 ) on paths and at most 2 r / 3 + O ( k 2 ) on general graphs with radius r .
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