Two Students Have Smashed a Quantum Computing World Record

Two Students Have Smashed a Quantum Computing World Record

Swedish Engineers have successfully simulated a 45-qubit quantum circuit, breaking the record for the greatest number of qubits to be simulated.

This milestone moves humanity one step closer to “quantum supremacy” – the tipping point at which quantum computers will outperform any traditional computer.

The two computer science students – Thomas Häner and Damien Steiger – are working towards their Ph.Ds. at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich).

Quantum supremacy

The pair were able to successfully simulated a 45-qubit quantum circuit. This is tantalisingly close to the estimated 49 qubits required for quantum supremacy.

The process builds on successfully simulated 30-, 36- and 42-qubit quantum circuits created by the pair at the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Centre (NERSC) at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

How they broke the Quantum Computing World Record

While large-scale quantum computers are not yet available, their performance can be inferred using quantum compilation frameworks and estimates of potential hardware specifications. However, without testing and debugging quantum programs on small scale problems, their correctness cannot be taken for granted. Simulators and emulators … are essential to address this need.Excerpt from the paper

Thomas Häner and Damien Steiger were able to use 8,192 of the 9,688 Intel Xeon Phi processors on Cori, NERSC’s newest supercomputer, for the massive simulation.

It was thought that running an even larger simulation (using all of the supercomputer’s nodes) might cause the system to collapse.

Published as “High performance emulation of quantum circuits

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