While breakthroughs in quantum computing technology seem to be in tech news every day, very little is said about the actual applications of the super fast computers of the future. Researchers in the field tout their ability to increase computational speed exponentially to solve problems, create unbreakable cryptology, and possibly fix molecular problems in chemistry, but the full potential of quantum computer applications is still greatly unknown.
Now a study out of Caltech, to be presented at the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, or IEEE, 2017 Symposium on the Foundations of Computer Science, posits that “semi definite programs” are ideal for use with quantum computers.
These types of programs are used to solve optimization issues. For example, a semidefinite program may be used by an airline to effectively assign flight crews throughout its fleets or by a finance company trying to reduce risk in certain investment portfolios.
The study suggests a brand new quantum algorithm, that is an algorithm with specific instructions for the quantum computers to understand how to solve a presented equation, that might increase the speed at which quantum computers solve semidefinite problems.
Specifically, the algorithm presented in the study will be a great aid in quickly finding the solutions for semidefinite programs meant to determine quantum states.
According to Fernando Brandao, the Brem Professor of Theoretical Physics at Caltech and co-author on the study, this is the type of problem that quantum researchers who study large systems like superconducting qubits.
Once the semidefinite program describes the behavior of the quantum matter, researchers can understand what exactly is happening at the subatomic level.
Although fully usable quantum computers may still be years away, discovering what they can be used for and how they can benefit researchers is a compelling endeavor.
“We are still far from knowing all the applications of quantum computing, and that’s part of the excitement — there are possibilities we haven’t even dreamed of yet,” said Brandao.
More info about this study; “Quantum Speed-ups for Semidefinite Programming,”
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