There is a question raised by Scott Aaronson in one of his papers [1]: "Could we show that if NP ⊆ BQP, then the polynomial hierarchy collapses?". Assuming the answer is yes, and it is also know that if P=NP then PH collapses to the 0th level.

Based on the above two statements, I would like to ask if BQP contains NP, does this imply that P=NP?

[1] http://www.scottaaronson.com/papers/bqpph.pdf

  • $\begingroup$ Can you give a specific source for the statement on the collapse of $\mathbb{PH}$. Is it in this 2009 paper by Aaronson? I could only find the result that $\mathbb{PH}$ collapses to the second level provided that $\mathbb{NP} \subseteq \mathbb{BQP} \subseteq \mathbb{AM}$. Trivially $\mathbb{P} = \mathbb{NP} \implies \mathbb{NP} \subseteq \mathbb{BQP}$. This is the opposite direction of what you're asking, which from a quick search seems to me as an open problem. $\endgroup$
    – chazisop
    Jul 14, 2015 at 9:25
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    $\begingroup$ No. Even the stronger assumption $\mathrm{NP}\subseteq\mathrm{BPP}$ is not known to imply lower collapse than $\mathrm{NP}=\mathrm{RP}$ (and $\mathrm{PH}=\mathrm{BPP}$). In particular, it is not known to imply $\mathrm{NP}=\mathrm{coNP}$. $\endgroup$ Jul 14, 2015 at 10:36
  • $\begingroup$ @EmilJeřábek, maybe post your answer as an answer? $\endgroup$
    – usul
    Jul 14, 2015 at 15:44
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    $\begingroup$ Unfortunately, no such result is known, and I never said it was! Maybe I said it would be great to have such a result, or something like that. $\endgroup$ Jul 20, 2015 at 2:12
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ This question is a bit worrying given the sequence of recent Younes "NP in BQP" preprints: arxiv.org/abs/1507.05061. $\endgroup$ Jul 20, 2015 at 23:55

1 Answer 1


No, $\mathrm{NP}\subseteq\mathrm{BQP}$ is not known to imply $\mathrm P=\mathrm{NP}$. Even the stronger assumption $\mathrm{NP}\subseteq\mathrm{BPP}$ is not known to yield a deeper collapse than $\mathrm{NP}=\mathrm{RP}$ and $\mathrm{PH}=\mathrm{ZPP^{RP}}=\mathrm{BPP}$; in particular, it is not even known to imply $\mathrm{NP}=\mathrm{coNP}$. (However, all these implications are likely true by virtue of their premises being false.)


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