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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 Approximate Optimization for Hard Problems in Linear Algebra

Quantum Approximate Optimization for Hard Problems in Linear Algebra

Quantum algorithms

One hallmark problem in computational linear algebra is the binary linear least squares (BLLS), which is formally in the NP-Hard complexity class. Efficient classical methods for solving this problem exists with limited approximations to the solution. Quantum computing may solve these problems with a better approximation ratio and/or in a faster runtime scaling. So-far, this problem has only been considered on a quantum annealing by mapping it to a QUBO. In this paper, the problem is solved using a QAOA approach on the gate-based model of quantum computing. The performance is assessed both on a wavefunction simulator, shotnoise simulator and on the 5-qubit IBM cloud computing quantum device ibmq_london. As an outlook: BLLS may serve as a building block for other problems such as Non-negative Binary Matrix Factorization, or clubbed together for a fixed-point approximation of real variables. This paper was partially supervised by Vincent Elfving from Qu & Co.

QAOA

The Quantum Approximate Optimization Algorithm Needs to See the Whole Graph

Quantum algorithms

Quantum Approximate Optimization Algorithm (QAOA) is a variational quantum algorithm that has been heavily investigated due to its potential during the NISQ era. It is designed to find approximate solutions to combinatorial search problems and was first applied to the Max-Cut problem for d-regular graphs. The system is initially prepared in a product state and then p layers of unitaries U(C,γ) and U(B, β) are alternately applied; this can be seen as a Trotterized version of (non-adiabatic) quantum annealing with parametrized annealing pathway.

In these 2 papers by Farhi, Gamarnik & Gutmann posted on April 20 and May 18, the focus problem is to find a large independent set in a random graph of fixed average degree d for the problem of Maximum Independent Set (MIS) on random graphs. Generally, the performance of the QAOA can only improve with depth p, but it is shown that for MIS the algorithm will fail to pass a certain performance barrier if 2p is less than w*log(n)/log(d/ln(2)) for any w <1 with d big enough. The quantum algorithm consists of p unitaries that each respect the locality of the underlying graph. With a fixed average degree of d this means that each qubit typically has an influence sphere of roughly dp other qubits. For qubits further than 2p apart on the graph these influence spheres do not intersect and we can show that measurements of these qubits are uncorrelated, however if p is large enough that dp exceeds n our arguments do not apply and we have no indication that the QAOA will fail.

Overlap Gap Property states that for a given random graph the intersection of any two large independent sets is either big or small, there is no middle ground. Using OGP and the locality of the QAOA, it is shown that if p is less than a d-dependent constant times log n, the QAOA cannot do better than finding an independent set of size .854 times the optimal for d large. Because the logarithm is slowly growing, even at one million qubits we can only show that the algorithm is blocked if p is in single digits. At higher p the algorithm “sees” the whole graph and we have no indication that performance is limited.

The worst case performance circumstances can be easily created to exploit QAOA’s weaknesses. Through construction of operators C and B, QAOA is inherently a local quantum algorithm since when conjugating a single qubit operator produces an operator only involving that qubit and those connected to it on the graph, creating a shallow circuit. This can be exploited to construct examples where the QAOA’s performance is provably below optimal. For example, for Max-Cut when p is a small enough constant times log(n) we show that the approximation ratio is no better than ½ for large d, and for MIS the approximation ratio goes to 0 at large d.

This is an important result for the problem of MIS on random graphs that, although not directly generalizable to other problems, is still valuable for creating bounds for QAOA-applied problems. Knowing that on the average case for MIS, QAOA requires to see the whole graph, therefore require a large p, will change the way QAOA and its potential is viewed for certain problems, and these papers illustrate methods to quantify that.

Quantum Algorithm Implementations for Beginners

Quantum Algorithm Implementations for Beginners

Quantum algorithms

In this paper, Patrick J. Coles et al., aim to explain the principles of quantum programming straight-forward algebra that makes understanding the underlying quantum mechanics optional (but still fascinating). The authors give an introduction to quantum computing algorithms and their implementation on real quantum hardware and survey 20 different quantum algorithms, attempting to describe each in a succinct and self-contained fashion. They show how these algorithms can be implemented on an actual quantum-processor (in this case an IBM QPU) and in each case discuss the results of the implementation with respect to differences of the results on a simulator (QVM) or the actual processor (QPU).

Experimental proof-of-principle for TDA quantum algorithm

Experimental proof-of-principle for TDA quantum algorithm

Quantum algorithms

Topological data analysis (TDA) offers a robust way to extract useful information from noisy, unstructured data by identifying its underlying structure. In this paper, Huang et al. show an experimental proof-of-principle of a recently developed TDA quantum algorithm for calculating Betti numbers of data points (which count the number of topological holes of various dimensions in a scatterplot), using a six-photon quantum processor on a network of three data-points.

Quantum algorithm for tree size estimation

Quantum algorithm for tree size estimation

Quantum algorithms

In this paper, Ambainis et al. study quantum algorithms on search trees of unknown structure, in a model where the tree can be discovered by local exploration. They construct a quantum algorithm which, given a search tree of depth at most n, estimates the size of the tree T with an upper-bound of sqrt(nT) steps. They apply their results to improve the time-complexity of a classical backtracking algorithm and to develop a quantum algorithm for evaluating AND-OR formulas in 2-player game type models.