The Promise of Quantum Computing in Particle Physics

The Promise of Quantum Computing in Particle Physics

A recent white paper, written by a group of experts from renowned organizations such as CERN, DESY, and IBM Quantum, sheds light on the potential benefits of quantum computing in the field of particle physics. The paper, available on arXiv, identifies specific areas within particle physics where quantum computing can address computing challenges. This groundbreaking research has the potential to revolutionize particle physics and lead to significant advancements in the field.

The white paper emerged from a working group formed during the “QT4HEP” conference held at CERN in November. This dedicated group, consisting of 46 members, thoroughly examined various areas where quantum computing technologies can offer significant advantages within both theoretical and experimental particle physics. By correlating these areas with quantum computing “problem formulations,” the paper ensures that the particle physics community is well-prepared to harness the immense potential of forthcoming quantum computers.

Alberto Di Meglio, head of the CERN Quantum Technology Initiative (CERN QTI), Karl Jansen from DESY, and Ivano Tavernelli from IBM Quantum spearhead the authorship of this white paper. Di Meglio emphasizes that while quantum computing holds great promise, it is not universally applicable to every problem in particle physics. Therefore, identifying areas where these technologies can be most advantageous for the scientific community is crucial.

In terms of theoretical particle physics, the authors recognize several promising areas, including the evolution of quantum states, lattice-gauge theory, neutrino oscillations, and quantum field theories in general. These ideas open up opportunities for applications such as quantum dynamics, hybrid quantum/classical algorithms for static problems in lattice gauge theory, optimization, and classification.

On the experimental side, the authors focus on areas such as jet and track reconstruction, extraction of rare signals, for-and-beyond Standard Model problems, parton showers, and experiment simulation. These areas can be mapped to classification, regression, optimization, and generation problems, offering novel avenues for exploration and discovery.

Moving forward, the members of the working group responsible for the white paper will select specific use cases from the identified activities. These use cases will be advanced through collaboration between CERN, DESY, and IBM Quantum. CERN QTI and the Center for Quantum Technologies and Applications (CQTA) at DESY have a longstanding partnership with IBM Quantum, which provides a strong foundation for fruitful collaborations.

One notable collaboration opportunity lies in the “100×100 Challenge” by IBM Quantum. This challenge aims to develop a tool capable of calculating unbiased observables of circuits with 100 qubits and depth-100 gate operations by 2024. The tool will serve as a significant testbed for exploring selected use cases from both particle physics and other research domains, bringing researchers closer to unlocking the full potential of quantum computing.

The white paper produced by experts from CERN, DESY, IBM Quantum, and several other organizations showcases the immense potential of quantum computing in the field of particle physics. By identifying specific areas where quantum computing technologies can be advantageous, the paper paves the way for future collaborations and advancements. With the support of the IBM Quantum Network and the “100×100 Challenge,” the particle physics community is poised to explore the transformative power of quantum computing, opening up new avenues of discovery and pushing the boundaries of our understanding of the universe.


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