Circuit complexity of knot states in Chern-Simons theory

Giancarlo Camilo*, Dmitry Melnikov, Fábio Novaes, Andrea Prudenziati

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


We compute an upper bound on the circuit complexity of quantum states in 3d Chern-Simons theory corresponding to certain classes of knots. Specifically, we deal with states in the torus Hilbert space of Chern-Simons that are the knot complements on the 3-sphere of arbitrary torus knots. These can be constructed from the unknot state by using the Hilbert space representation of the S and T modular transformations of the torus as fundamental gates. The upper bound is saturated in the semiclassical limit of Chern-Simons theory. The results are then generalized for a family of multi-component links that are obtained by “Hopf-linking” different torus knots. We also use the braid word presentation of knots to discuss states on the punctured sphere Hilbert space associated with 2-bridge knots and links. The calculations present interesting number theoretic features related with continued fraction representations of rational numbers. In particular, we show that the minimization procedure defining the complexity naturally leads to regular continued fractions, allowing a geometric interpretation of the results in the Farey tesselation of the upper-half plane. Finally, we relate our discussion to the framework of path integral optimization by generalizing the original argument to non-trivial topologies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number163
JournalJournal of High Energy Physics
Issue number7
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Chern-Simons Theories
  • Gauge-gravity correspondence
  • Wilson
  • ’t Hooft and Polyakov loops


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