Document Type


Publication Date



Poulin discovered an important separation between the classical and quantum theories of convolutional coding, by proving that a quantum convolutional encoder cannot be both noncatastrophic and recursive. Noncatastrophicity is desirable so that an iterative decoding algorithm converges when decoding a quantum turbo code whose constituents are quantum convolutional codes, and recursiveness is as well so that a quantum turbo code has a minimum distance growing nearly linearly with the length of the code, respectively. Their proof of the aforementioned theorem was admittedly 'rather involved,' and as such, it has been desirable since their result to find a simpler proof. In this paper, we furnish a proof that is arguably simpler. Our approach is group-theoretic-we show that the subgroup of memory states that are part of a zero physical-weight cycle of a quantum convolutional encoder is equivalent to the centralizer of its 'finite-memory' subgroup (the subgroup of memory states which eventually reach the identity memory state by identity operator inputs for the information qubits and identity or Pauli-Z operator inputs for the ancilla qubits). After proving that this symmetry holds for any quantum convolutional encoder, it easily follows that an encoder is nonrecursive if it is noncatastrophic. Our proof also illuminates why this no-go theorem does not apply to entanglement-assisted quantum convolutional encoders-the introduction of shared entanglement as a resource allows the above symmetry to be broken. © 1963-2012 IEEE.

Publication Source (Journal or Book title)

IEEE Transactions on Information Theory

First Page


Last Page