Google's quantum computer just accurately simulated a molecule for the first time

Discussion in 'General Science & Technology' started by Plazma Inferno!, Jul 26, 2016.

  1. Plazma Inferno! Ding Ding Ding Ding Administrator

    Google's engineers just achieved a milestone in quantum computing: they were able to accurately simulate the energy of hydrogen H2 molecules, and if we can repeat the trick for other molecules, we could see the benefits in everything from solar cells to medicines.
    These types of predictions are often impossible for 'classical' computers or take an extremely long time – working out the energy of something like a propane (C3H8) molecule would take a supercomputer in the region of 10 days.
    To achieve the feat, Google's engineers teamed up with researchers from Harvard University, Lawrence Berkeley National Labs, UC Santa Barbara, Tufts University, and University College London in the UK.
    To run the simulation, the engineers used a supercooled quantum computing circuit called a variational quantum eigensolver (VQE) – essentially a highly advanced modelling system that attempts to mimic our brain's own neural networks on a quantum level.
    One potential use is modelling the way bacteria produce fertiliser. The way humans produce fertiliser is extremely inefficient in terms of the environment, and costs 1-2 percent of the world's energy per year – so any improvements in understanding the chemical reactions involved could produce massive gains.


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