Quantum information and quantum field theory: Study found a new connection between them

A mathematical ‘playground’ to study quantum information.


Quantum information plays a vital role in connecting several branches of physics. Specifically, the theory of quantum error correction, which explains how to protect and recover quantum information in quantum computers and other complex interacting systems, now becomes fundamental to the modern understanding of quantum gravity.

Anatoly Dymarsky, Associate Professor at the Skoltech Center for Energy Science and Technology (CEST), said, “Normally, information stored in physical systems is localized. Say, a computer file occupies a particular small area of the hard drive. By “error” we mean any unforeseen or undesired interaction which scrambles information over an extended area.”

“In our example, pieces of the computer file would be scattered over different hard drive areas. Error-correcting codes are mathematical protocols that allow collecting these pieces together to recover the original information. They are in heavy use in data storage and communication systems. Quantum error-correcting codes play a similar role in cases when the quantum nature of the physical system is important.”

“In a rather unexpected twist, scientists realized not too long ago that quantum gravity—the theory describing quantum dynamics of space and time—operates similar mathematical protocols to exchange information between different parts of space. The locality of information within quantum gravity remains one of the few open fundamental problems in theoretical physics. That is why the appearance of well-studied mathematical structures such as quantum error-correcting codes is intriguing.”

“Yet the role of codes was only understood schematically, and the explicit mechanism behind the locality of information remains elusive.”

In a new study, scientists have discovered a new connection between quantum information and quantum field theory. The study offers clear evidence of the growing role of quantum information theory across various areas of physics.

In the study from Skoltech and the University of Kentucky, scientists established a novel connection between quantum error-correcting codes and two-dimensional conformal field theories. By describing interactions of quantum particles, they have offered standard theoretical tools to describe many different phenomena, from fundamental elementary particles to quasi-particles emerging in quantum materials.

Dymarsky concludes“Now we have a new playground to study the role of quantum error-correcting codes in the context of quantum field theory. We hope this is a first step in understanding how locality of information works and what hides behind all this beautiful mathematics.”

Journal Reference:
  1. Anatoly Dymarsky et al., Solutions of Modular Bootstrap Constraints from Quantum Codes, Physical Review Letters (2021). DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.126.161602
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