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Published on Jan 13, 2015
Matthias Troyer visited Google LA to speak about "High Performance Quantum Computing." This talk took place on December 2, 2014.
As the outlines of a roadmap to building powerful quantum devices becomes more concrete an important emerging question is that of important real-world applications of quantum computers. While there exist many quantum algorithms which asymptotically outperform classical algorithms, asymptotic superiority can be misleading. In order for a quantum computer to be competitive, it needs to not only be asymptotically competitive but be able to solve problems within a limited time (for example one year) that no post-exa-scale classical supercomputer can solve within the same time. This search for a quantum killer-app turns out to be a formidable challenge. Using quantum chemistry simulations as a typical example, it turns out that significant advances in quantum algorithms are needed to achieve this goal. I will review how substantial improvements and optimized massively parallel implementation strategies of quantum algorithms have brought the problem of quantum chemistry from the realm of science fiction closer to being realistic. Similar algorithmic improvements will be needed in other areas in order to identify more “killer apps” for quantum computing. I will end with a short detour to quantum annealers and present a summary of our recent results on simulated classical and quantum annealing.
Matthias Troyer is professor of computational physics at ETH Zurich where he teaches advanced C++ programming, high performance computing, and simulations methods for quantum systems. He is a pioneer of cluster computing in Europe, having been responsible for the installation of the first Beowulf cluster in Europe with more than 500 CPUs in 1999, and the most energy efficient general purpose computer on the top-500 list in 2008. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and his activities range from quantum simulations and quantum computing to the development of novel simulation algorithms, high performance computing, and computational provenance. He is, the author of the Boost MPI C++ library for message passing on parallel computers, and the leader of the open-source ALPS library for the simulation of quantum many body systems.