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Quantum walks exhibit many unique characteristics compared to classical random walks. In the classical setting, self-avoiding random walks have been studied as a variation on the usual classical random walk. Here the walker has memory of its previous locations and preferentially avoids stepping back to locations where it has previously resided. Classical self-avoiding random walks have found numerous algorithmic applications, most notably in the modelling of protein folding. We consider the analogous problem in the quantum setting - a quantum walk in one dimension with tunable levels of self-avoidance. We complement a quantum walk with a memory register that records where the walker has previously resided. The walker is then able to avoid returning back to previously visited sites or apply more general memory conditioned operations to control the walk. We characterise this walk by examining the variance of the walker's distribution against time, the standard metric for quantifying how quantum or classical a walk is. We parameterise the strength of the memory recording and the strength of the memory back-action on the walker, and investigate their effect on the dynamics of the walk. We find that by manipulating these parameters, which dictate the degree of self-avoidance, the walk can be made to reproduce ideal quantum or classical random walk statistics, or a plethora of more elaborate diffusive phenomena. In some parameter regimes we observe a close correspondence between classical self-avoiding random walks and the quantum self-avoiding walk.
Bibliographical noteCopyright the Author(s). First published in Scientific reports, volume 4, article 4791. The original publication is available at http://doi.org/10.1038/srep04791. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.
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