Application of Pontryagin's Minimum Principle to Grover's Quantum Search Problem

    •  Lin, C., Wang, Y., Kolesov, G., Kalabić, U., "Application of Pontryagin's Minimum Principle to Grover's Quantum Search Problem", Physical Review, DOI: 10.1103/​PhysRevA.100.022327, Vol. 100, No. 2, August 2019.
      BibTeX TR2019-087 PDF
      • @article{Lin2019aug,
      • author = {Lin, Chungwei and Wang, Yebin and Kolesov, Grigory and Kalabić, Uroš},
      • title = {Application of Pontryagin's Minimum Principle to Grover's Quantum Search Problem},
      • journal = {Physical Review},
      • year = 2019,
      • volume = 100,
      • number = 2,
      • month = aug,
      • doi = {10.1103/PhysRevA.100.022327},
      • url = {}
      • }
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  • Research Areas:

    Applied Physics, Control


Grover's algorithm is one of the most famous algorithms which explicitly demonstrates how the quantum nature can be utilized to accelerate the searching process. In this work, Grover's quantum search problem is mapped to a time-optimal control problem. Resorting to Pontryagin's Minimum Principle we find that the time-optimal solution has the bang-singular-bang structure. This structure can be derived naturally, without integrating the differential equations, using the geometric control technique where Hamiltonians in the Schrodinger's equation are represented as vector fields. In view of optimal control, Grover's algorithm uses the bang-bang protocol to approximate the optimal protocol with a minimized number of bang-to-bang switchings to reduce the query complexity. Our work provides a concrete example how Pontryagin's Minimum Principle is connected to quantum computation, and offers insight into how a quantum algorithm can be designed.