Mind the \(\tilde{O}\): asymptotically better, but still impractical, quantum distributed algorithms


The CONGEST and CONGEST-CLIQUE models have been carefully studied to represent situations where the communication bandwidth between processors in a network is severely limited. Messages of only \( O(log(n)) \) bits of information each may be sent between processors in each round. The quantum versions of these models allow the processors instead to communicate and compute with quantum bits under the same bandwidth limitations. This leads to the following natural research question: What problems can be solved more efficiently in these quantum models than in the classical ones? Building on existing work, we contribute to this question in two ways. Firstly, we present two algorithms in the Quantum CONGEST-CLIQUE model of distributed computation that succeed with high probability; one for producing an approximately optimal Steiner Tree, and one for producing an exact directed minimum spanning tree, each of which uses \( \tilde{O}(n^{1/4}) \) rounds of communication and \( \tilde{O}(n^{9/4}) \) messages, where $n$ is the number of nodes in the network. The algorithms thus achieve a lower asymptotic round and message complexity than any known algorithms in the classical CONGEST-CLIQUE model. At a high level, we achieve these results by combining classical algorithmic frameworks with quantum subroutines. An existing framework for using a distributed version of Grover's search algorithm to accelerate triangle finding lies at the core of the asymptotic speedup. Secondly, we carefully characterize the constants and logarithmic factors involved in our algorithms as well as related algorithms, otherwise commonly obscured by $\tilde{O}$ notation. The analysis shows that some improvements are needed to render both our and existing related quantum and classical algorithms practical, as their asymptotic speedups only help for very large values of $n$.



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