• Google runs first Quantum simulation of a chemical reaction

    Date:28 August 2020 Author: Leila Stein

    The team at Google AI Quantum used their 54 qubit quantum processor, Sycamore, for the first time ever to simulate changes in the configuration of a molecule called diazene.

    Sycamore accurately described the changes in the positions of the hydrogen to form the isomers, making the experiment a success. It also accurately described the binding energy of hydrogen in bigger and bigger chains.The results of this research were published in Science.

    Development of quantum computing is considered the next frontier for computer engineering. These small steps are in fact major leaps, despite the simplicity of the chemical reaction.

    The ability of the processor to accurately work out what will happen is not as easy as it seems. Rather, it requires it to think beyond the straight-forward and consider all the possibilities before deciding what will be the outcome.

    Quantum computing considers logical units called qubits which exist in a state of ‘either/or’. These are used to carry out computations faster than the binary of a normal computer.

    In the experiment done by Google, the diazene simulation used 12 of the 54 qubits in the Sycamore processor to perform its calculations. This also included an algorithm which used classic and quantum processes.

    While these are still early days, the amount achieved by Google is impressive.

    Image: Rocco Ceselin

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