We construct a simple translationally invariant, nearest-neighbor Hamiltonian on a chain of 10-dimensional qudits that makes it possible to realize universal quantum computing without any external control during the computational process, requiring only initial product state preparation. Both the quantum circuit and its input are encoded in an initial canonical basis state of the qudit chain. The computational process is then carried out by the autonomous Hamiltonian time evolution. After a time greater than a polynomial in the size of the quantum circuit has passed, the result of the computation can be obtained with high probability by measuring a few qudits in the computational basis.
This result also implies that there cannot exist efficient classical simulation methods for generic translationally invariant nearest-neighbor Hamiltonians on qudit chains, unless quantum computers can be efficiently simulated by classical computers (or, put in complexity theoretic terms, unless BPP=BQP). This is joint work with Daniel Nagaj.