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New performance test: measuring the power of a quantum computer is faster and more accurate

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New performance test: measuring the power of a quantum computer is faster and more accurate
New performance test: measuring the power of a quantum computer is faster and more accurate

Scientists at Sandia National Labs invent a new criterion for evaluating performance.

What do a quantum computer have in common with the leading draft of the sport? Both have attracted a lot of attention from talent seekers. Quantum computers, experimental machines that can perform some tasks faster than supercomputers, are constantly being assessed, like young athletes, for their potential to someday be game-changing technology.

Intelligence scientists now have their first tool to assess the ability of a promising technology to perform realistic tasks, unlocking its true potential and limitations.

A new kind of performance test developed at Sandia National Laboratories predicts how likely it is that a quantum processor will run a particular program without error.

The so-called mirror circuit method, published today (December 20, 2021) in Nature Physics, is faster and more accurate than conventional tests, helping scientists develop technologies that are likely to lead to the world’s first practical quantum computer that can significantly accelerate research in medicine, chemistry, physics, agriculture and national security.

Until now, scientists have measured performance on random operation obstacle courses.

Sandia National Labs scientists invent new criteria for evaluating performance.

What does a quantum computer have in common with the sport’s top draft? Both have attracted a lot of attention from talent scouts. Quantum computers, experimental machines that can perform some tasks faster than supercomputers, are constantly being evaluated, like young athletes, for their potential to one day be a revolutionary technology.

Intelligence scientists now have their first tool to assess the ability of a promising technology to perform realistic tasks, unlocking its true potential and limitations.

A new type of performance test developed at Sandia National Laboratories predicts the probability that a quantum processor will run a particular program without errors.

The so-called mirror circuit method, published today (December 20, 2021) in Nature Physics, is faster and more accurate than conventional tests, helping scientists develop technologies that will likely lead to the world’s first practical quantum computer. which can significantly speed up the investigation. in medicine, chemistry, physics, agriculture and national security.

Until now, scientists have measured the obstacle course performance of random operations.

But conventional performance tests underestimate many of the errors in quantum computing, according to new research. This can lead to unrealistic expectations about how powerful or useful a quantum machine is. According to the article, mirrored circuits offer a more accurate test method.

A mirror circuit is a computer procedure that performs a set of calculations and then inverts them.

It is standard practice in the quantum computing community to use only random and messy programs to measure performance, and our results show that this is not the best option, ”said Timothy Proctor, a member of the Sandia Quantum Productivity Laboratory who participated in the study. in the study.

The new test method also saves time and helps researchers evaluate increasingly complex machines. Most performance tests check for errors by executing the same set of instructions on a quantum machine and on a normal computer. If there are no errors, the results should be the same.

However, because quantum computers perform certain calculations much faster than conventional computers, researchers can wait a long time for conventional computers to shut down.

However, with a mirrored circuit, the output must always be the same as the input or have some intentional modification. Therefore, instead of waiting, scientists can immediately verify the result of a quantum computer.

The study was funded by the Department of Energy’s Office of Science and a research and development program led by the Sandia Laboratory. Sandia is a prominent member of the Quantum Systems Accelerator, the DOE’s national center for quantum research.

New method reveals flaws in conventional performance ratings

Proctor and his colleagues found that randomized tests neither explained nor underestimated the cumulative effect of errors. As the bug gets worse, it gets worse as the show progresses, like a wide receiver going the wrong route, drifting further and further away from where he should be as the game progresses.

By mimicking functional programs, Sandia found that final results often varied more than random tests showed.

“Our comparative experiments have shown that the performance of modern quantum computers is much more variable for structured programs,” than previously known, Proctor said.

The mirror circuit method also enables scientists to better understand how to improve existing quantum computers.

“By applying our method to modern quantum computers, we have been able to learn a lot about the errors faced by these specific devices because different types of errors affect different programs to varying degrees,” Proctor said. “These effects are seen for the first time on multi-qubit processors. Our method is the first tool to investigate these error effects on a large scale. “

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