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Partition Function Zeros Are 'Shortcut' to Thermodynamic Calculations on Quantum Computers

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A study led by researchers at North Carolina State University developed a new method that enables quantum computers to measure the thermodynamic properties of systems by calculating the zeros of the partition function.

Credit: North Carolina State University

A study by researchers at North Carolina State University (NC State), Georgetown University, and quantum-computing hardware and software company IonQ yielded a technique for calculating the thermodynamic properties of systems using a quantum computer.

NC State's Lex Kemper and colleagues employed a quantum computer to quantify partition function zeros, rather than the entropy, of a spin model as it was tuned across a phase transition.

Kemper said, "By calculating partition function zeros, we are on the way to solving the problem of scaling to larger numbers of [quantum bits] when trying to calculate free energies and entropies in a given system."

The team calculated this function on both a standard and a trapped ion quantum computer at Norbert Linke's laboratory at the University of Maryland.

Said Kemper, "This is a way to use a quantum computer to get at all the thermodynamic properties of a system without necessitating huge numbers of quantum computations."

From NC State University News
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Abstracts Copyright © 2021 SmithBucklin, Washington, DC, USA


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