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Lossless quantum prefix compression for communication channels that are always open

American Physical Society
Publication Date
  • Communication
  • Physics


We describe a method for lossless quantum compression if the output of the information source is not known. We compute the best possible compression rate, minimizing the expected base length of the output quantum bit string (the base length of a quantum string is the maximal length in the superposition). This complements work by Schumacher and Westmoreland who calculated the corresponding rate for minimizing the output’s average length. Our compressed code words are prefix-free indeterminate-length quantum bit strings which can be concatenated in the case of multiple sources. Therefore, we generalize the known theory of prefix-free quantum codes to the case where strings have indeterminate length. Moreover, we describe a communication model which allows the lossless transmission of the compressed code words. The benefit of compression is then the reduction of transmission errors in the presence of noise.

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