Quantum Simulators

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Science  02 Oct 2009:
Vol. 326, Issue 5949, pp. 108-111
DOI: 10.1126/science.1177838

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Ultimate Simulator

Many body problems are difficult to model analytically and are often so complex that they cannot be simulated accurately on a classical computer. Because quantum systems can be inherently correlated, it has been proposed that such systems could be used to simulate other complex problems. Buluta and Nori (p. 108) review the progress being made toward realizing quantum simulators, describing some of the implementations and potential applications of using such controlled quantum systems as simulator tools.


Quantum simulators are controllable quantum systems that can be used to simulate other quantum systems. Being able to tackle problems that are intractable on classical computers, quantum simulators would provide a means of exploring new physical phenomena. We present an overview of how quantum simulators may become a reality in the near future as the required technologies are now within reach. Quantum simulators, relying on the coherent control of neutral atoms, ions, photons, or electrons, would allow studying problems in various fields including condensed-matter physics, high-energy physics, cosmology, atomic physics, and quantum chemistry.

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