Cloud based quantum computing used to calculate nuclear binding energy

February 2, 2018 by Bob Yirka, report
Experimentally determined energies for H2 (top) and expectation values of the Pauli terms that enter the two-qubit Hamiltonian H2 as determined on the QX5 (center) and 19Q (bottom) chips. Experimental (theoretical) results are denoted by symbols (lines). Credit: arXiv:1801.03897 [quant-ph]

A team of researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory has demonstrated that it is possible to use cloud-based quantum computers to conduct quantum simulations and calculations. The team has written a paper describing their efforts and results and uploaded it to the arXiv preprint server.

As work progresses toward the development of quantum computers able to tackle some of the most difficult problems in computer science, attention has shifted to the means by which such machines would be used. For example, if researchers build a big, expensive quantum computer able to model how atoms and particles behave under unusual conditions, how would research physicists access and use it? That has led to the idea of cloud so that anyone could access and use it from practically anywhere. That idea has been put into practice by two companies investing seriously in a quantum computer-based future. IBM has developed what it calls Q Experience, and Rigetti has developed 19Q. The former has a with 16 qubits while the later has 19. In addition to building their computers, both companies have also developed software that makes the systems available on the internet.

To test the possibilities of such a platform, the team at Oak Ridge set themselves the task of using a quantum computer to calculate the nuclear binding energy of the deuterium nucleus (how much energy it would take to separate the neutron and proton). The team used both cloud quantum computing systems, which required tweaking software to deal with the differing number of qubits the machines were able to use. The team reports that the cloud responded with a binding energy that was within 2 percent of the actual measure.

The researchers report that their efforts prove that cloud-based quantum computing works, and that it will be ready for prime-time when truly powerful machines are developed capable of such tasks as simulating quantum physical systems or revealing reaction mechanisms in complex chemical systems.

Explore further: IBM says it's reached milestone in quantum computing

More information: Cloud Quantum Computing of an Atomic Nucleus, arXiv:1801.03897 [quant-ph]

We report a quantum simulation of the deuteron binding energy on quantum processors accessed via cloud servers. We use a Hamiltonian from pionless effective field theory at leading order. We design a low-depth version of the unitary coupled-cluster ansatz, use the variational quantum eigensolver algorithm, and compute the binding energy to within a few percent. Our work is the first step towards scalable nuclear structure computations on a quantum processor via the cloud, and it sheds light on how to map scientific computing applications onto nascent quantum devices.

Related Stories

IBM announces cloud-based quantum computing platform

May 4, 2016

(Tech Xplore)—IBM has announced the development of a quantum computing platform that will allow users to access and program its 5 qubit quantum computer over the Internet. Called the IBM Quantum Experience, it is, the company ...

Blind quantum computing for everyone

August 11, 2017

(—For the first time, physicists have demonstrated that clients who possess only classical computers—and no quantum devices—can outsource computing tasks to quantum servers that perform blind quantum computing. ...

Microsoft launches preview of its Quantum Development Kit

December 13, 2017

(Tech Xplore)—Microsoft has officially released a free preview of its Quantum Development Kit (QDK)—a collection of tools that will allow users to create, compile and run programs written in the Q# (pronounced Q sharp, ...

Recommended for you

Bringing a hidden superconducting state to light

February 16, 2018

A team of scientists has detected a hidden state of electronic order in a layered material containing lanthanum, barium, copper, and oxygen (LBCO). When cooled to a certain temperature and with certain concentrations of barium, ...


Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Spaced out Engineer
5 / 5 (1) Feb 02, 2018
Distributed computing before commercial availability, looks like superiority just got crowd sourced.
not rated yet Feb 05, 2018
That QX5 and 19Q graphs at the top look to be just -sine, +/-cosine waves, sure they were doing complex calculations to get to that point - but maybe we also need to try and find ways to simplify how we calculate things - as any graphic calculator can graph sine and cosine waves, and doesn't need complex qubits to do it.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.