Towards quantifying complexity with quantum mechanics

Ryan Tan, Daniel R. Terno, Jayne Thompson*, Vlatko Vedral, Mile Gu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


While we have intuitive notions of structure and complexity, the formalization of this intuition is non-trivial. The statistical complexity is a popular candidate. It is based on the idea that the complexity of a process can be quantified by the complexity of its simplest mathematical model —the model that requires the least past information for optimal future prediction. Here we review how such models, known as (formula presented)-machines can be further simplified through quantum logic, and explore the resulting consequences for understanding complexity. In particular, we propose a new measure of complexity based on quantum (formula presented)-machines. We apply this to a simple system undergoing constant thermalization. The resulting quantum measure of complexity aligns more closely with our intuition of how complexity should behave.

Original languageEnglish
Article number191
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalEuropean Physical Journal Plus
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 11 Sep 2014


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