Self-correction from symmetry

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A self-correcting quantum memory can store and protect quantum information for a time that increases without bound in the system size, without the need for active error correction. Unfortunately, the landscape of Hamiltonians based on stabilizer (subspace) codes is heavily constrained by numerous no-go results and it is not known if they can exist in three dimensions or less. In this talk, we will discuss the role of symmetry in self-correcting memories. Firstly, we will demonstrate that codes given by 2D symmetry-enriched topological (SET) phases that appear naturally on the boundary of 3D symmetry-protected topological (SPT) phases can be self-correcting -- provided that they are protected by an appropriate subsystem symmetry. Secondly, we discuss the feasibility of self-correction in Hamiltonians based on subsystem codes, guided by the concept of emergent symmetries. We present ongoing work on a new exactly solvable candidate model in this direction based on the 3D gauge color code. The model is a non-commuting, frustrated lattice model which we prove to have an energy barrier to all bulk errors. Finding boundary conditions that encode logical qubits and retain the bulk energy barrier remains an open question.