Pattern recognition is a central topic in learning theory, with numerous applications such as voice and text recognition, image analysis and computer diagnosis. The statistical setup in classification is the following: we are given an i.i.d. training set (X1, Y1),...,(Xn, Yn), where X i represents a feature and Y in {0, 1} is a label attached to that feature. The underlying joint distribution of (X, Y) is unknown, but we can learn about it from the training set, and we aim at devising low error classifiers f: X→Y used to predict the label of new incoming features. In this paper, we solve a quantum analogue of this problem, namely the classification of two arbitrary unknown mixed qubit states. Given a number of 'training' copies from each of the states, we would like to 'learn' about them by performing a measurement on the training set. The outcome is then used to design measurements for the classification of future systems with unknown labels. We found the asymptotically optimal classification strategy and show that typically it performs strictly better than a plug-in strategy, which consists of estimating the states separately and then discriminating between them using the Helstrom measurement. The figure of merit is given by the excess risk equal to the difference between the probability of error and the probability of error of the optimal measurement for known states. We show that the excess risk scales as n^{–1} and compute the exact constant of the rate.
Life Sciences (theme 5), Logistics (theme 3)
New Journal of Physics
Algorithms and Complexity

Guta, M, & Kotlowski, W.T. (2010). Quantum learning: asymptotically optimal classification of qubit states. New Journal of Physics, 12.