We consider symmetric hypothesis testing in quantum statistics, where the hypotheses are density operators on a finite-dimensional complex Hilbert space, representing states of a finite quantum system. We prove a lower bound on the asymptotic rate exponents of Bayesian error probabilities. The bound represents a quantum extension of the Chernoff bound, which gives the best asymptotically achievable error exponent in classical discrimination between two probability measures on a finite set. In our framework, the classical result is reproduced if the two hypothetic density operators commute.
Recently, it has been shown elsewhere [Phys. Rev. Lett. 98 (2007) 160504] that the lower bound is achievable also in the generic quantum (noncommutative) case. This implies that our result is one part of the definitive quantum Chernoff bound.
"The Chernoff lower bound for symmetric quantum hypothesis testing." Ann. Statist. 37 (2) 1040 - 1057, April 2009. https://doi.org/10.1214/08-AOS593