[edit]

# Quantum Lower Bounds for Finding Stationary Points of Nonconvex Functions

*Proceedings of the 40th International Conference on Machine Learning*, PMLR 202:41268-41299, 2023.

#### Abstract

Quantum computing is an emerging technology that has been rapidly advancing in the past decades. In this paper, we conduct a systematic study of quantum lower bounds on finding $\epsilon$-approximate stationary points of nonconvex functions, and we consider the following two important settings: 1) having access to $p$-th order derivatives; or 2) having access to stochastic gradients. The classical query lower bounds are $\Omega\big(\epsilon^{-\frac{1+p}{p}}\big)$ regarding the first setting and $\Omega(\epsilon^{-4})$ regarding the second setting (or $\Omega(\epsilon^{-3})$ if the stochastic gradient function is mean-squared smooth). In this paper, we extend all these classical lower bounds to the quantum setting. They match the classical algorithmic results respectively, demonstrating that there is no quantum speedup for finding $\epsilon$-stationary points of nonconvex functions with $p$-th order derivative inputs or stochastic gradient inputs, whether with or without the mean-squared smoothness assumption. Technically, we prove our quantum lower bounds by showing that the sequential nature of classical hard instances in all these settings also applies to quantum queries, preventing any quantum speedup other than revealing information of the stationary points sequentially.