Is your Supercomputer Stumped? There May Be a Quantum Solution


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Real-World Applications for a Quantum Algorithm

As quantum computers are equipped with more qubits that allow them to solve more complex problems more quickly, they can also potentially lead to energy savings by reducing the use of far larger supercomputers that could take far longer to solve the same problems.

The quantum approach brings within reach direct and verifiable solutions to problems involving “nonlinear” systems – in which the outcome of an equation does not match up proportionately to the input values. Nonlinear equations are problematic because they may appear more unpredictable or chaotic than other “linear” problems that are far more straightforward and solvable.

Chang sought the help of quantum-computing experts in quantum computing both in the U.S. and in Japan to develop the successfully tested algorithm. He said he is hopeful the algorithm will ultimately prove useful to calculations that can test how subatomic quarks behave and interact with other subatomic particles in the nuclei of atoms.

While it will be an exciting next step to work to apply the algorithm to solve nuclear physics problems, “This algorithm is much more general than just for nuclear science,” Chang noted. “It would be exciting to find new ways to use these new computers.”

The Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility is a DOE Office of Science User Facility.

Researchers from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and the RIKEN Computational Materials Science Research Team also participated in the study. The study was supported by the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science; and by Oak Ridge National Laboratory and its Laboratory Directed Research and Development funds. The Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility is supported by the DOE Office of Science’s Advanced Scientific Computing Research program.

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