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Quantum-computing related developments

On this page we post about interesting quantum-computing related research and news which we are following.

Quantum computing’s potential impact on the chemical sector

Quantum computing’s potential impact on the chemical sector

In this article by McKinsey & Co, a strategy consulting firm, Florian Budde and Daniel Volz state that the chemical companies must act now to capture the benefits of quantum computing. Of course we at Qu & Co are a bit biased on this topic, but we do agree with the authors that the chemical sector is likely to be an early beneficiary of the vastly expanded modeling and computational capabilities, which is promised to be unlocked by quantum computing.

Where will quantum computers create value... and when?

Where will quantum computers create value... and when?

In this market outlook, The Boston Consulting group assesses how and where quantum computing will create business value, the likely progression, and what steps executives should take now to put their firms in the best position to capture that value. The report is based on interviews and workshops involving more than 100 experts, a review of some 150 peer-reviewed publications, and analysis of more than 35 potential use cases. 

Decoding quantum errors with subspace expansions

Decoding quantum errors with subspace expansions

Currently, the latest state-of-the-art quantum computers are so-called NISQ (noisy intermediate-scale quantum) devices, meaning they have a number of qubits which approaches competition with classical simulation of the output of such systems, yet the systems are noisy and no fault-tolerance can be achieved yet. The question is: are there methods which can sufficiently compensate for their noisy nature, enabling the emergence of quantum advantage on these devices? In recent years, many error correction and mitigation schemes have been developed: from Richardson extrapolation techniques to extend results down to `zero noise’, to parity check measurements and more. But typically, those techniques require additional complicated circuitry, ancillary qubits, pulse modifications, or calibration/tuning steps. In this paper, an alternative strategy based on the general principle of a class of methods called Quantum Subspace Expansion (QSE) is proposed. In this strategy, one performs clever post-processing of classical data with or without additional measurements with (at most) simple additional operations in the circuit and no (scaling) ancillary qubits. This paper generalizes the application of QSE error mitigation to any quantum computation, not restricting itself necessarily to problem-specifics like chemistry. Another interesting idea presented here is to use NISQ devices to experimentally study small quantum codes for later use in larger-scale quantum computers implementing error correcting code, such as in future FTQC (fault-tolerant quantum computing).

Quantum Chemistry on Quantum Annealers

Quantum Chemistry on Quantum Annealers

Thus far, quantum chemistry quantum algorithms have been experimentally demonstrated only on gate-based quantum computers. Efforts have been made to also map the chemistry problem Fermionic Hamiltonian to an Ising Hamiltonian in order to solve it on a quantum annealer.  However, the number of qubits required still scales exponentially with the problem size (the number of orbitals considered in the electronic structure problem). As an alternative, this paper presents a different approach exploiting the efficiency at which quantum annealers can solve discrete optimization problems, and mapping a qubit coupled cluster method to this form. They simulate their method on an ideal Ising machine and on a D-Wave 2000Q system, and find promising success rates for smaller molecules. However, further investigation would be necessary to investigate the usability for larger or more complex systems, as the scaling of their folding technique with the number of local minima is unknown. In addition, it is unclear from the experimental data whether the limitations of the D-Wave system  as compared to a perfect Ising machine could hinder expected performance gains for more complex systems.

Quantum Outlook 2019 by Fact Based Insight

Quantum Outlook 2019 by Fact Based Insight

In this online market and technology outlook, Fact Based Insight, a quantum-technology consultancy, provides their predictions for the developments in the quantum-sector in 2019 and beyond. The report covers developments in qubit technologies and quantum-processors, quantum-software, quantum safe cryptography and quantum-imaging, -sensing and -timing technologies.

Quantum Computing: Progress and Prospects (2018)

Quantum Computing: Progress and Prospects (2018)

With this report, the National Academy of Sciences, a US based non-profit, and more specifically its Committee on technical assessment of the feasibility and implications of quantum computing chaired by Mark Horowitz, aims to help bring clarity about the current state of the art, likely progress toward, and ramifications of, a general-purpose quantum computer and to clarify the theoretical characteristics and limitations of quantum computing and to correct some common public misperceptions about the field. Specifically, the committee focused on understanding the current state of quantum computing hardware, software, and algorithms, and what advances would be needed to create a scalable, gate-based quantum computer capable of deploying Shor’s algorithm. Early in this process, it became clear that the current engineering approaches could not directly scale to the size needed to create this scalable, fully error corrected quantum computer. As a result, the group focused on finding intermediate milestones and metrics to track the progress toward this goal.

What does the future hold for technology, media, and telecommunications?

What does the future hold for technology, media, and telecommunications?

In the last chapter (from page 96) of the 2019 version of its annual report Technology, Media, and Telecommunications Predictions, Deloitte, a business consultancy, provides their five key predictions for the development of quantum-computing in 2019 and beyond. These are: 1) Quantum computers will not replace clas- sical computers for decades, if ever. 2) The quantum computer market of the future will be about the size of today’s supercomputer market—around US$50 billion. 3) The first commercial general-purpose quantum computers will appear in the 2030s at earliest. 4) The Noisy Intermediate Scale Quantum (NISQ) computing market—using what could be considered early-stage QCs—will be worth hundreds of millions of dollars per year in the 2020s. 5) The quantum-safe security industry is also likely to be worth hundreds of mil- lions of dollars per year in the 2020s.

The next decade in quantum-computing, and how to play

The next decade in quantum-computing, and how to play

This report by The Boston Consulting Group, a strategy consulting firm, targets business executives and other people looking for a broader market overview on quantum computing. The authors (Philipp Gerbert et al.) provide some insight in where the technology currently stands, who is who in the emerging ecosystem, and the potentially interesting applications. The report also analyzes some of the leading indicators of investments, patents, and publications, which countries and entities are most active and the status and prospects for the main categories of quantum hardware technologies. Additionally, the report aims to provide a simple framework for understanding quantum algorithms and assessing their applicability and potential. Finally, the authors provide their view of what can be expected in the next five to ten years, and what corporates should be doing, or getting ready for, in response. 

Variational Quantum Factoring

Variational Quantum Factoring

Ever since the publication of Shor’s algorithm in 1994, efficient integer factorization has been a key application area envisioned for quantum-computers, with important implications for the security of some of the most used cryptosystems. Because Shor’s algorithm requires a large-scale fault-tolerant quantum-processor, RSA-3072 encryption was so-far believed to remain safe until 2030. However, in recent years hybrid (classical-quantum) alternatives have been developed for many important quantum-algorithms. Such hybrid algorithms can be run on current-day noisy and small-scale quantum-processors. In this paper Eric Anschuetz et al. describe such a hybrid alternative for Shor’s algorithm, which they call variational quantum factoring (VQF). If some pre-processing is applied VQF scales with O(n), n being the number of bits of the integer being factored. If VQF can be optimized to scale well up to 3000+ qubits, which is very challenging, but not completely unthinkable, and if we assume the number of physical qubits in quantum-processors doubles every year, quantum-processors could have sufficiently high qubit count to break RSA-3072 as early as 2025. However, as VQF relies on a quantum-optimization algorithm (QAOA) it seems unlikely that the speed-up of VQF could be more than quadratic, which means that the runtime for breaking RSA-3072 could very well be prohibitively long and that doubling the RSA-6144 (double the key-length) would again be just  as safe as RSA-3072 is currently.

Quantum computing for finance: overview and prospects

Quantum computing for finance: overview and prospects

Many financial services players are experimenting with quantum-computing so that they can be the first to start exploiting its benefits in speed-up and tractability. Algorithms have been developed for a wide range of finance related topics e.g. Monte Carlo simulation, portfolio optimization, anomaly (fraud) detection, market forecasting and reduction of slippage. In this paper Orus et al. provide a nice overview of most of these applications. Although the paper puts much emphasis on what has been done with quantum-annealers, applying the Quantum Approximate Optimization Algorithm (QAOA) lets us map all of them to universal-gate devices, which ensures that these applications stay relevant even when annealers become obsolete.

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