Benchmarking Quantum Advantage

Lead Research Organisation: University of Edinburgh
Department Name: Sch of Informatics


Quantum computing promises to revolutionise our capability to solve hard problems which could incur great economic and societal impact. Expected applications of quantum algorithms range from deciphering cryptographic protocols, to solving complex optimization problems in logistics and finance, and the simulation of quantum systems with direct applications to materials science and drug discovery, among many others.

To fulfil this potential, we need to understand for which problems quantum computation provides a significant advantage over currently existing computing technologies and what are the requirement to achieve the potential of quantum computing, a question of paramount importance for the future of quantum computation. It is therefore not surprising that one of the core missions of the recently created National Quantum Computing Center (NQCC) is to understand the technology readiness and systems performance on the pathway to delivering fully fault tolerant error corrected quantum computing.

The mission of our "Benchmarking quantum advantage" project is to provide our stakeholders with easy to deploy quantum advantage benchmarking techniques that will allow them to rigorously assess the performance and readiness of the technology. To achieve our goal, we will build upon recent results and ongoing research by the principal investigator, developing a unified theoretical framework that allows the design of rigorous quantum advantage benchmarking tools for large families of problems in classical optimization, with applications in logistic and finance, together with quantum optimization problems, with applications in chemistry and material science. Our framework will not only allow for benchmarking existing devices and algorithms but will also allow for reliable predictions of the performance of future quantum computing architectures, applicable from todays' noisy intermediate-scale quantum NISQ hardware all the way to fault-tolerance quantum computers.

Our quantum advantage benchmarking approach has two key advantages. Firstly, as opposed to currently existing approaches, it does not need the direct simulation of the quantum circuits but relies on fundamental trade-offs between the quality of the solution and the errors accumulated along the computation. Secondly, the effects of error are crucially considered and are central to the framework. By the end of the project, we aim to have built a unified framework that would allow for the design of problem-tailored benchmarking tests that are easy to implement, scalable, and require little quantum computing expertise for their use, making them ideal for its adoption among end-user with little quantum-awareness.

We believe that our "Benchmarking quantum advantage" project will allow the NQCC to succeed on its mission towards providing guidance on technological readiness and system performance on solving real-world problems. Our project, combined with the partnership between NQCC and the "Quantum Software Lab" at the School of Informatics in the University of Edinburgh and the alignment of our project objectives with the NQCC's readiness program, SparQ, is the ideal setting to deliver reliable and rigorous quantum advantage benchmarking tools to all our stakeholders within the quantum computing ecosystem.


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