Google Research

Unbiasing Fermionic Quantum Monte Carlo with a Quantum Computer

arXiv:2106.16235 (2021)


Many-electron problems pose some of the greatest challenges in computational science, with important applications across many fields of modern science. Fermionic quantum Monte Carlo (QMC) methods are among the most powerful approaches to these problems. However, they can be severely biased when controlling the fermionic sign problem using constraints, as is necessary for scalability. Here we propose an approach that combines constrained QMC with quantum computing tools to reduce such biases. We experimentally implement our scheme using up to 16 qubits in order to unbias constrained QMC calculations performed on chemical systems with as many as 120 orbitals. These experiments represent the largest chemistry simulations performed on quantum computers (more than doubling the size of prior electron correlation calculations), while obtaining accuracy competitive with state-of-the-art classical methods. Our results demonstrate a new paradigm of hybrid quantum-classical algorithm, surpassing the popular variational quantum eigensolver in terms of potential towards the first practical quantum advantage in ground state many-electron calculations.

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