A team of researchers led by an Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC)
faculty member performed the first-ever simulation of baryons—fundamental
quantum particles—on a quantum computer.

With their results, the team has taken a step towards more complex quantum
simulations that will allow scientists to study neutron stars, learn more
about the earliest moments of the universe, and realize the revolutionary
potential of quantum computers.

"This is an important step forward—it is the first simulation of baryons on
a quantum computer ever," Christine Muschik, an IQC faculty member, said.
"Instead of smashing particles in an accelerator, a quantum computer may one
day allow us to simulate these interactions that we use to study the origins
of the universe and so much more."

Muschik, also a physics and astronomy professor at the University of
Waterloo and associate faculty member at the Perimeter Institute, leads the
Quantum Interactions Group, which studies the quantum simulation of lattice
gauge theories. These theories are descriptions of the physics of reality,
including the Standard Model of particle physics. The more inclusive a gauge
theory is of fields, forces, particles, spatial dimensions and other
parameters, the more complex it is—and the more difficult it is for a
classical supercomputer to model.

Non-Abelian gauge theories are particularly interesting candidates for
simulations because they are responsible for the stability of matter as we
know it. Classical computers can simulate the non-Abelian matter described
in these theories, but there are important situations—such as matter with
high densities—that are inaccessible for regular computers. And while the
ability to describe and simulate non-Abelian matter is fundamental for being
able to describe our universe, none has ever been simulated on a quantum
computer.

Working with Randy Lewis from York University, Muschik's team at IQC
developed a resource-efficient quantum algorithm that allowed them to
simulate a system within a simple non-Abelian gauge theory on IBM's cloud
quantum computer paired with a classical computer.

With this landmark step, the researchers are blazing a trail towards the
quantum simulation of gauge theories far beyond the capabilities and
resources of even the most powerful supercomputers in the world.

"What's exciting about these results for us is that the theory can be made
so much more complicated," Jinglei Zhang, a postdoctoral fellow at IQC and
the University of Waterloo Department of Physics and Astronomy, said. "We
can consider simulating matter at higher densities, which is beyond the
capability of classical computers."

As scientists develop more powerful quantum computers and quantum
algorithms, they will be able to simulate the physics of these more complex
non-Abelian gauge theories and study fascinating phenomena beyond the reach
of our best supercomputers.

This breakthrough demonstration is an important step towards a new era of
understanding the universe based on quantum simulation.

The paper, "SU(2) hadrons on a quantum computer via a variational approach,"
was published in Nature Communications today.

## Reference:

SU(2) hadrons on a quantum computer, arXiv:2102.08920 [quant-ph]
arxiv.org/abs/2102.08920

Yasar Y. Atas et al, SU(2) hadrons on a quantum computer via a variational
approach, Nature Communications (2021).
DOI: 10.1038/s41467-021-26825-4

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Physics