A roadmap for the future direction of quantum modeling has been laid out in a paper co-authored by the University of Strathclyde.
Quantum computers are very powerful devices with speed and computational capabilities far beyond classical or binary computing. Instead of a binary system of zeros and ones, it works through superpositions that can be zeros, ones, or both at the same time.
The ever-evolving development of quantum computing has achieved such an advantage over classical computers for an artificial task. In the future, it may have applications in a wide variety of fields. One promising class of tasks involves the modeling of quantum systems with potential applications such as the development of battery materials, industrial catalysis, and nitrogen fixation.
The document published in Nature, explores the short- and medium-term capabilities of quantum simulation on analog and digital platforms to help assess the potential of the field. It was co-authored by researchers from Strathclyde, the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics, the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, the Munich Center for Quantum Science and Technology, the University of Innsbruck, and the Institute for Quantum Optics and Quantum Information of the Austrian Academy. of Science and Microsoft Corporation.
Professor Andrew Daly, from Strathclyde’s Department of Physics, is the lead author of the paper. He said: “There has been a lot of exciting progress in analog and digital quantum simulations in recent years, and quantum simulation is one of the most promising areas of quantum information processing. It is already quite mature, both in terms of algorithm development, and there is much of advanced analog quantum simulation experiments at the international level.
“In the history of computing, classical analog and digital computing coexisted for more than half a century with a gradual transition to digital computing, and we expect the same to happen with the advent of quantum simulation.
“As a next step in the development of this technology, it is now important to discuss the ‘practical quantum edge,’ the point at which quantum devices will solve problems of practical interest that cannot be handled by traditional supercomputers.
“Many of the most promising short-term applications of quantum computers fall under the umbrella of quantum modeling: modeling the quantum properties of microscopic particles that are directly relevant to understanding modern materials science, high-energy physics, and quantum chemistry.
“Quantum modeling should be possible in the future on fault-tolerant digital quantum computers with greater flexibility and accuracy, but it can also be done today for specific models through dedicated analog quantum simulators. This is analogous to the study of aerodynamics, which can be done either in a wind tunnel or through digital computer simulations. If aerodynamics often uses a smaller-scale model to understand something big, analog quantum simulators often use a larger-scale model to understand something even smaller.
“Analog quantum simulators are now moving from qualitative demonstration of physical phenomena to quantitative solutions of their own problems. A particularly interesting path in the near future is the development of a number of programmable quantum simulators that combine digital and analog methods. This is very good. potential because it combines the best of both sides, using its own analog operations to create very confusing states.”
The University of Strathclyde and all partners on this promising paper have large, active programs that include the theory of architectures and algorithms, as well as the development of platforms for analog quantum simulation and digital quantum computing. The partners collaborate within the flagship Horizon 2020 EU project Quantum Technologies PASQuanS. At Strathclyde, research in this area is strongly embedded in the UK National Quantum Technology Program and has received significant funding from UK Research and Innovation.
The quantum technology cluster is embedded in the Glasgow Innovation District, an initiative run by Strathclyde together with Glasgow City Council, Scottish Enterprise, Enterprise Scotland and Glasgow Chamber of Commerce. It is envisioned as a global destination for quantum industrialization, attracting companies to co-locate, accelerate growth, improve productivity and access world-class research technology and talent in Strathclyde.
The University of Strathclyde is the only academic institution to have partnered in all four EPSRC-funded Quantum Technology Centers in both funding phases. Hubs include: sensing and timing; Quantum Enhanced Imaging; Quantum computing and simulation, and quantum communication technologies.