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A Quantum Treatment of Public Goods Economics

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Kay-Yut Chen, Tad Hogg and Raymond Beausoleil
HP Labs

Quantum generalizations of conventional games broaden the range of available strategies, which can help improve outcomes for the participants. With many players, such quantum games can involve entanglement among many states which is difficult to implement, especially if the states must be communicated over some distance. This paper describes a quantum approach to the economically significant n-player public goods game that requires only two-particle entanglement and is thus much easier to implement than more general quantum mechanisms. In spite of the large temptation to free ride on the efforts of others in the original game, two-particle entanglement is sufficient to give near optimal expected payoff when players use a simple mixed strategy for which no player can benefit by making different choices. This mechanism can also address some heterogeneous preferences among the players.

Full paper as pdf or at Los Alamos preprint quant-ph/0301013, published in Quantum Information Processing, 1:449-469 (2002)

Also available: additional papers and a demo comparing various quantum search algorithms.

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