In collaboration with the Google Inc. research group and the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB), the Quantum Technologies for Information Science (QUTIS) research group of the UPV/EHU-University of the Basque Country has published a paper in the journal Nature Communications and entitled "Digital quantum simulation of fermionic models with a superconducting circuit." The paper reports on the performing of the most advanced quantum algorithm known and which achieves the implementation of a quantum simulation of electronic models of materials in superconducting circuits. This algorithm has been developed at the superconducting circuit laboratories of Google/UCSB on the basis of original ideas proposed by the UPV/EHU QUTIS group.
The team of researchers in the UPV/EHU QUTIS Group who have participated in this project has been led by the Ikerbasque professor Enrique Solano and has had the participation of Dr Lucas Lamata and the PhD student Laura García-Álvarez.
The collaboration between the UPV/EHU and Google/UCSB has managed in a pioneering way to produce a digital fermionic simulator in excess of 300 quantum logic gates on 4 superconducting quantum bits. Fermions are quantum particles such as electrons which are the fundamental basis of superconductors, chemical reactions or high-energy processes. Accordingly, their study is tremendously important as it is the first one in which these particles are simulated in a universal way with such an advanced architecture and in a scalable way as is the case of superconducting circuits at cryogenic temperatures.
As Enrique Solano stressed, "this experiment represents the first digital simulator on a solid-state quantum platform, superior to the most advanced quantum algorithm made on a quantum computer which promises to revolutionise 21st-century information technologies."
As detailed in the paper published in Nature Communications, one of the main applications of quantum information is the simulation of nature. Fermions are everywhere in nature as they appear in condensed-matter systems, chemistry and high-energy physics. Nevertheless, there is no doubt that universally simulating their interactions constitutes one of the greatest challenges facing physical chemistry and materials science.
The international echo of this achievement has been so significant that even the Google Research Blog, the medium of communication that covers the American multinational's research activity, has published an article (http://googleresearch.blogspot.nl/2015/07/simulating-fermionic-particles-with.html) on the collaboration between Google Inc. and the UPV/EHU QUTIS Group highlighting the work of the team led by Enrique Solano. "Coming up with an efficient sequence of logic gates that can accurately model the interactions for systems of fermions wasn't easy. So we teamed up with the QUTIS group at the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU), who are experts in constructing algorithms and translating them into streams of logic gates we can implement with our hardware," highlighted the Google Research Blog through Prof John Martinis, leader of the experimental group, Dr Rami Barends, and the PhD student Julian Kelly.
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