(master’s thesis) Validation of quantum simulations - Assessing efficiency and reliability in experimental implementations

Published in University of Minho, 2018

Recommended citation: Rodrigues, Afonso. (2018). "Validation of quantum simulations." University of Minho. http://hdl.handle.net/1822/59739

Abstract: Quantum simulation is one of the most relevant applications of quantum computation for the near future, due to its scientific impact and also because quantum simulation algorithms are typically less demanding than generalized quantum computations. Ultimately, the success of a quantum simulation depends on the amount and reliability of information one is able to extract from the results. In such a context, this work reviews the theory behind quantum simulation, with a focus on digital quantum simulation. The concepts of efficiency and reliability in quantum simulations are discussed, particularly for implementations of digital simulation algorithms in state-of-the-art quantum computers. A review of approaches for quantum characterization, verification and validation techniques (QCVV) is also presented. A digital quantum simulation of the Schrödinger equation for a single particle in 1 spatial dimension was experimentally implemented and analyzed, along with a quantum state tomography procedure for characterization of the final quantum state and evaluation of simulation reliability. From the literature, it is shown that digital quantum simulation is theoretically sound and experimentally feasible, with several applications in a wide range of physics-related fields. Nonetheless, a number of conditions arise that must be observed for a truly efficient implementation of a digital quantum simulation, from theoretical conception to experimental circuit design. The review of QCVV techniques highlights the need for characterization and validation techniques that could be efficiently implemented for current models of quantum computation, particularly in instances where classical verification is not tractable. However, there are proposals for efficient verification procedures when a set of parameters defining the final result of the simulation is known. The experimental simulation demonstrated partial success in comparison with an ideal quantum simulation. From the results it is apparent that better coherence times, better reliability and finer control are as decisive for the advancement of quantum computing power as the more-publicized number of qubits of a given device.

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