Generalization in Quantum Machine Learning: a Quantum Information Standpoint

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Quantum classication and hypothesis testing (state and channel discrimination) are two tightly related subjects, the main difference being that the former is data driven: how to assign to quantum states $\rho(x)$ the corresponding class c (or hypothesis) is learnt from examples during training, where x can be either tunable experimental parameters or classical data embedded into quantum states. Does the model generalize? This is the main question in any data-driven strategy, namely the ability to predict the correct class even of previously unseen states. Here we establish a link between quantum classication and quantum information theory, by showing that the accuracy and generalization capability of quantum classiers depend on the (Renyi) mutual informations $I(C:Q)$ and $I_2(X:Q)$ between the quantum state space Q and the classical parameter space X or class space C. Based on the above characterization, we then show how different properties of Q affect classication accuracy and generalization, such as the dimension of the Hilbert space, the amount of noise, and the amount of neglected information from X via, e.g., pooling layers. Moreover, we introduce a quantum version of the Information Bottleneck principle that allows us to explore the various tradeoffs between accuracy and generalization. Finally, in order to check our theoretical predictions, we study the classication of the quantum phases of an Ising spin chain, and we propose the Variational Quantum Information Bottleneck (VQIB) method to optimize quantum embeddings of classical data to favor generalization.
Original languageEnglish
Article number040321
JournalPRX Quantum
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2021

Bibliographical note

© 2021, The Author(s). 19 pages, 7 figures. Updated version with better connection to quantum hypothesis testing, new numerical applications for quantum phase recognition and for training quantum embeddings


  • quant-ph
  • cs.LG
  • stat.ML

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