PerspectiveCHEMICAL PHYSICS

A quantum-computing advantage for chemistry

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Science  28 Aug 2020:
Vol. 369, Issue 6507, pp. 1054-1055
DOI: 10.1126/science.abd3880

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Summary

Quantum computers potentially have computational power greater than that of their classical counterparts. The recent demonstration of “quantum supremacy” on Google's 53-qubit Sycamore quantum processor (1) has reinforced this idea, but it remains unknown whether the next generation of quantum computers will be able to solve classically intractable problems of practical interest. On page 1084 of this issue, Rubin et al. (2) take steps toward answering this question with an experimental implementation of Hartree-Fock calculations of molecular electronic energies on a superconducting processor. Although the calculations performed are also efficient to run on classical computers, the experiment demonstrates many of the key building blocks for quantum chemistry simulation and paves the way toward achieving quantum advantage for problems of chemical interest.

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