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Probabilistic protocols in quantum information

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Probabilistic protocols in quantum information are an attempt to improve performance by occasionally reporting a better result than could be expected from a deterministic protocol. Here we show that probabilistic protocols can never improve performance beyond the quantum limits on the corresponding deterministic protocol. To illustrate this result we examine three common probabilistic protocols: probabilistic amplification, weak value amplification, and probabilistic metrology. In each of these protocols we show explicitly that the optimal deterministic protocol is better than the corresponding probabilistic protocol when the probabilistic nature of the protocol is correctly accounted for.