Random walks are a powerful tool for the efficient implementation of algorithms in classical computation. Their quantum-mechanical analogues, called quantum walks, hold similar promise. Quantum walks provide a model of quantum computation that has recently been shown to be equivalent in power to the standard circuit model. As in the classical case, quantum walks take place on graphs and can undergo discrete or continuous evolution, though quantum evolution is unitary and therefore deterministic until a measurement is made. This thesis considers the usefulness of continuous-time quantum walks to quantum computation from the perspectives of both their fundamental power under various formulations, and their applicability in practical experiments.
In one extant scheme, logical gates are effected by scattering processes. The results of an exhaustive search for single-qubit operations in this model are presented. It is shown that the number of distinct operations increases exponentially with the number of vertices in the scattering graph. A catalogue of all graphs on up to nine vertices that implement single-qubit unitaries at a specific set of momenta is included in an appendix. I develop a novel scheme for universal quantum computation called the discontinuous quantum walk, in which a continuous-time quantum walker takes discrete steps of evolution via perfect quantum state transfer through small `widget' graphs. The discontinuous quantum-walk scheme requires an exponentially sized graph, as do prior discrete and continuous schemes.
To eliminate the inefficient vertex resource requirement, a computation scheme based on multiple discontinuous walkers is presented. In this model, n interacting walkers inhabiting a graph with 2n vertices can implement an arbitrary quantum computation on an input of length n, an exponential savings over previous universal quantum walk schemes. This is the first quantum walk scheme that allows for the application of quantum error correction.
The many-particle quantum walk can be viewed as a single quantum walk undergoing perfect state transfer on a larger weighted graph, obtained via equitable partitioning. I extend this formalism to non-simple graphs. Examples of the application of equitable partitioning to the analysis of quantum walks and many-particle quantum systems are discussed.