Rational approximations of operator monotone and operator convex functions

Oisín Faust, Hamza Fawzi

Operator convex functions defined on the positive half-line play a prominent role in the theory of quantum information, where they are used to define quantum $f$-divergences. Such functions admit integral representations in terms of rational functions. Obtaining high-quality rational approximants of operator convex functions is particularly useful for solving optimization problems involving quantum $f$-divergences using semidefinite programming. In this paper we study the quality of rational approximations of operator convex (and operator monotone) functions. Our main theoretical results are precise global bounds on the error of local Pad\'e-like approximants, as well as minimax approximants, with respect to different weight functions. While the error of Pad\'e-like approximants depends inverse polynomially on the degree of the approximant, the error of minimax approximants has root exponential dependence and we give detailed estimates of the exponents in both cases. We also explain how minimax approximants can be obtained in practice using the differential correction algorithm.

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