Efficient computation of the waiting time and fidelity in quantum repeater chains

Sebastiaan Brand, Tim Coopmans, David Elkouss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)
91 Downloads (Pure)


Quantum communication enables a host of applications that cannot be achieved by classical communication means, with provably secure communication as one of the prime examples. The distance that quantum communication schemes can cover via direct communication is fundamentally limited by losses on the communication channel. By means of quantum repeaters, the reach of these schemes can be extended and chains of quantum repeaters could in principle cover arbitrarily long distances. In this work, we provide two efficient algorithms for determining the generation time and fidelity of the first generated entangled pair between the end nodes of a quantum repeater chain. The runtime of the algorithms increases polynomially with the number of segments of the chain, which improves upon the exponential runtime of existing algorithms. Our first algorithm is probabilistic and can analyze refined versions of repeater chain protocols which include intermediate entanglement distillation. Our second algorithm computes the waiting time distribution up to a pre-specified truncation time, has faster runtime than the first one and is moreover exact up to machine precision. Using our proof-of-principle implementation, we are able to analyze repeater chains of thousands of segments for some parameter regimes. The algorithms thus serve as useful tools for the analysis of large quantum repeater chain protocols and topologies of the future quantum internet.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8972391
Pages (from-to)619-639
Number of pages21
JournalIEEE Journal on Selected Areas in Communications
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Quantum communication
  • quantum repeater chains


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