From communication complexity to an entanglement spread area law in the ground state of gapped local Hamiltonians

Anurag Anshu, Aram W. Harrow, Mehdi Soleimanifar

In this work, we make a connection between two seemingly different problems. The first problem involves characterizing the properties of entanglement in the ground state of gapped local Hamiltonians, which is a central topic in quantum many-body physics. The second problem is on the quantum communication complexity of testing bipartite states with EPR assistance, a well-known question in quantum information theory. We construct a communication protocol for testing (or measuring) the ground state and use its communication complexity to reveal a new structural property for the ground state entanglement. This property, known as the entanglement spread, roughly measures the ratio between the largest and the smallest Schmidt coefficients across a cut in the ground state. Our main result shows that gapped ground states possess limited entanglement spread across any cut, exhibiting an "area law" behavior. Our result quite generally applies to any interaction graph with an improved bound for the special case of lattices. This entanglement spread area law includes interaction graphs constructed in [Aharonov et al., FOCS'14] that violate a generalized area law for the entanglement entropy. Our construction also provides evidence for a conjecture in physics by Li and Haldane on the entanglement spectrum of lattice Hamiltonians [Li and Haldane, PRL'08]. On the technical side, we use recent advances in Hamiltonian simulation algorithms along with quantum phase estimation to give a new construction for an approximate ground space projector (AGSP) over arbitrary interaction graphs.

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