Nav: Home

Virginia Tech researchers lead breakthrough in quantum computing

July 25, 2019

The large, error-correcting quantum computers envisioned today could be decades away, yet experts are vigorously trying to come up with ways to use existing and near-term quantum processors to solve useful problems despite limitations due to errors or "noise."

A key envisioned use is simulating molecular properties. In the long run, this can lead to advances in materials improvement and drug discovery. But not with noisy calculations confusing the results.

Now, a team of Virginia Tech chemistry and physics researchers have advanced quantum simulation by devising an algorithm that can more efficiently calculate the properties of molecules on a noisy quantum computer. Virginia Tech College of Science faculty members Ed Barnes, Sophia Economou, and Nick Mayhall recently published a paper in Nature Communications detailing the advancement.

Quantum computers are expected to be able to carry out certain kinds of calculations far more efficiently than the "classical" computers in use today. They are similar to classical computers, however, in that they run algorithms by applying sequences of logic gates -- in this case, "quantum gates," which together form quantum circuits -- to bits of information. For today's noisy quantum computers, the problem has been that so much noise would accumulate within a circuit that the computation would degrade and render any subsequent calculations inaccurate. Scientists have had difficulty designing circuits that are both shorter and more accurate.

The Virginia Tech team addressed this issue by developing a method that grows the circuit in an iterative way. "We start with a minimal circuit, then grow it as we add on logic gate after logic gate in short circuits until the computer finds the solution," said Mayhall, an assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry.

A second major benefit of the algorithm is that Barnes, Economou, and Mayhall designed it to adapt itself based upon the molecular system being simulated. Different molecules will dictate their own circuits, uniquely tailored to them.

The interdisciplinary collaboration between Virginia Tech's departments of Chemistry and Physics -- Barnes, Economou, and Mayhall and a team of graduate students and postdocs from both departments -- have received grants from the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Energy totaling more than $2.8 million.

Virginia Tech and IBM recently established a partnership that gives the researchers access to IBM's quantum computing hardware. "Our team at Virginia Tech is really excited for the next steps in our work," said Economou, an associate professor in the Department of Physics, "which include implementing our algorithm on IBM's processors."
-end-


Virginia Tech

Related Quantum Computers Articles:

FEFU scientists developed method to build up functional elements of quantum computers
Scientists from Far Eastern Federal University (FEFU, Vladivostok, Russia), together with colleagues from FEB RAS, China, Hong Kong, and Australia, manufactured ultra-compact bright sources based on IR-emitting mercury telluride (HgTe) quantum dots (QDs), the future functional elements of quantum computers and advanced sensors.
ORNL researchers advance performance benchmark for quantum computers
Researchers at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) have developed a quantum chemistry simulation benchmark to evaluate the performance of quantum devices and guide the development of applications for future quantum computers.
Quantum computers learn to mark their own work
A new test to check if a quantum computer is giving correct answers to questions beyond the scope of traditional computing could help the first quantum computer that can outperform a classical computer to be realised.
A new quantum data classification protocol brings us nearer to a future 'quantum internet'
A new protocol created by researchers at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona sorts and classifies quantum data by the state in which they were prepared, with more efficiency than the equivalent classical algorithm.
Blanket of light may give better quantum computers
Researchers from DTU Physics describe in an article in Science, how--by simple means -- they have created a 'carpet' of thousands of quantum-mechanically entangled light pulses.
One step closer future to quantum computers
Physicists at Uppsala University in Sweden have identified how to distinguish between true and 'fake' Majorana states in one of the most commonly used experimental setups, by means of supercurrent measurements.
Dartmouth research advances noise cancelling for quantum computers
The characterization of complex noise in quantum computers is a critical step toward making the systems more precise.
Spreading light over quantum computers
Scientists at Linköping University have shown how a quantum computer really works and have managed to simulate quantum computer properties in a classical computer.
Newfound superconductor material could be the 'silicon of quantum computers'
Newly discovered properties in the compound uranium ditelluride show that it could prove highly resistant to one of the nemeses of quantum computer development -- the difficulty with making such a computer's memory storage switches, called qubits, function long enough to finish a computation before losing the delicate physical relationship that allows them to operate as a group.
Quantum computers to clarify the connection between the quantum and classical worlds
Los Alamos National Laboratory scientists have developed a new quantum computing algorithm that offers a clearer understanding of the quantum-to-classical transition, which could help model systems on the cusp of quantum and classical worlds, such as biological proteins, and also resolve questions about how quantum mechanics applies to large-scale objects.
More Quantum Computers News and Quantum Computers Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Uncharted
There's so much we've yet to explore–from outer space to the deep ocean to our own brains. This hour, Manoush goes on a journey through those uncharted places, led by TED Science Curator David Biello.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#556 The Power of Friendship
It's 2020 and times are tough. Maybe some of us are learning about social distancing the hard way. Maybe we just are all a little anxious. No matter what, we could probably use a friend. But what is a friend, exactly? And why do we need them so much? This week host Bethany Brookshire speaks with Lydia Denworth, author of the new book "Friendship: The Evolution, Biology, and Extraordinary Power of Life's Fundamental Bond". This episode is hosted by Bethany Brookshire, science writer from Science News.
Now Playing: Radiolab

Dispatch 2: Every Day is Ignaz Semmelweis Day
It began with a tweet: "EVERY DAY IS IGNAZ SEMMELWEIS DAY." Carl Zimmer – tweet author, acclaimed science writer and friend of the show – tells the story of a mysterious, deadly illness that struck 19th century Vienna, and the ill-fated hero who uncovered its cure ... and gave us our best weapon (so far) against the current global pandemic. This episode was reported and produced with help from Bethel Habte and Latif Nasser. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.