Searching for quantum speedup in quantum annealers
As computer chips approach the nanometer-scale size, it is becoming increasingly clear that the next revolution in computing technologies will be enabled by quantum computing. A pioneer in quantum technologies aimed at quantum computing, the Canadian company D-wave Systems has developed quantum annealing processors consisting of superconducting circuit that can be used as efficient devices for solving high-dimensional optimization or sampling problems. The same problems can be solved using conventional computers and it is not yet clear if quantum annealers offer quantum speedup. The main goal of this project will be to explore if and how the quantum nature of the D-wave devices can be exploited for solving computationally demanding problems with quantum speed-up. As one particular application, we will explore the possibility of using quantum annealers to provide efficient samples from a quantum Boltzmann distribution, which can be used for training a quantum Boltzmann machine. A quantum Boltzmann machine could form the basis for a new machine-learning approach analogous to those based on artificial neural networks, but with the possibility of quantum advantages.