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Improved Fault-Tolerant Quantum Simulation of Condensed-Phase Correlated Electrons via Trotterization

Ian Kivlichan
Dominic Berry
Wei Sun
Zhang Jiang
Austin Fowler
Alán Aspuru-Guzik
Quantum, vol. 4 (2020), pp. 296


Recent work has deployed linear combinations of unitaries techniques to significantly reduce the cost of performing fault-tolerant quantum simulations of correlated electron models. Here, we show that one can sometimes improve over those results with optimized implementations of Trotter-Suzuki-based product formulas. We show that low-order Trotter methods perform surprisingly well when used with phase estimation to compute relative precision quantities (e.g. energy per unit cell), as is often the goal for condensed-phase (e.g. solid-state) systems. In this context, simulations of the Hubbard model and plane wave electronic structure models with $N < 10^5$ fermionic modes can be performed with roughly O(1) and O(N^2) T complexities. We also perform numerics that reveal tradeoffs between the error of a Trotter step and Trotter step gate complexity across various implementations; e.g., we show that split-operator techniques have less Trotter error than popular alternatives. By compiling to surface code fault-tolerant gates using lattice surgery and assuming error rates of one part in a thousand, we show that one can error-correct quantum simulations of interesting, classically intractable instances with only a few hundred thousand physical qubits.

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