Efficient and Accurate Electronic Structure Simulation Demonstrated on a Trapped-Ion Quantum Computer

By Yukio Kawashima, Marc P. Coons, Yunseong Nam, Erika Lloyd, Shunji Matsuura, Alejandro J. Garza, Sonika Johri, Lee Huntington, Valentin Senicourt, Andrii O. Maksymov, Jason H. V. Nguyen, Jungsang Kim, Nima Alidoust, Arman Zaribafiyan, & Takeshi Yamazaki
Quantum computers have the potential to perform accurate and efficient electronic structure calculations, enabling the simulation of properties of materials. However, today’s noisy, intermediate-scale quantum (NISQ) devices have a limited number of qubits and gate operations due to the presence of errors. Here, we propose a systematically improvable end-to-end pipeline to alleviate these limitations. Our proposed resource-efficient pipeline combines problem decomposition techniques for compact molecular representations, circuit optimization methods for compilation, solving the eigenvalue problem on advanced quantum hardware, and error-mitigation techniques in post-processing the results. Using the density matrix embedding theory for compact representation, and an ion-trap quantum computer, we simulate a ring of 10 hydrogen atoms taking into account all electrons equally and explicitly in the electronic structure calculation. In our experiment, we simulated the largest molecular system on a quantum computer within chemical accuracy with respect to total molecular energy calculated by the full CI method. Our methods reduce the number of qubits required for high-accuracy quantum simulations by an order of magnitude in the present work, enabling the simulation of larger, more industrially relevant molecules using NISQ devices. They are further systematically improvable as devices’ computational capacity continues to grow.
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