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Supercomputer Simulation Offers Peek at the Future of Quantum Computers

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An example of the kind of task that can be simulated on a 45-qubit computer.

To find out whether quantum computers will work properly, scientists must simulate them on a classical computer.

Credit: MIT Technology Review

Researchers from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH Zurich) in Switzerland have used the fifth-most powerful supercomputer in the world to simulate the behavior of a 45-qubit quantum computer.

"To our knowledge, this constitutes a new record in the maximal number of simulated qubits," says ETH Zurich's Thomas Haner and Damian Steiger.

In addition, the researchers show how more powerful simulations should be possible.

Haner and Steiger say the ETH Zurich breakthrough reduces the overhead so the simulation can run more than an order of magnitude faster than before.

The researchers applied these improvements to a set of simulations on the Cori II supercomputer at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Cori II consists of 9,304 nodes, each containing a 68-core processor running at 1.4 gigahertz, which leads to a peak performance of 29.1 petaflops with one petabyte of memory.

From Technology Review
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