IBM develops new approach to simulate molecules on quantum computer

IBM Quantum Computing innovation
Business technology major IBM said its scientists developed a new approach to simulate molecules on a quantum computer that may revolutionize chemistry and materials science.

The scientists used a seven-qubit quantum processor to address the molecular structure problem for beryllium hydride (BeH2) – the largest molecule simulated on a quantum computer to date. The results demonstrate a path for near-term quantum systems to enhance understanding of complex chemical reactions that could lead to practical applications.

The IBM team implemented a new algorithm that is efficient with respect to the number of quantum operations required for the simulation. They measured BeH2’s lowest energy state using six qubits of a seven-qubit processor.

IBM’s approach has the potential to scale towards investigating larger molecules, while this model of BeH2 can be simulated on a classical computer.

Developers and users of IBM Q experience are able to access quantum chemistry Jupyter Notebook. The open source quantum chemistry Jupyter Notebook allows users to explore a method of ground state energy simulation for small molecules such as hydrogen and lithium hydride.

Over a year ago, IBM launched IBM Q experience by placing a robust five-qubit quantum computer on the cloud to freely access, and most recently upgraded to a 16-qubit processor available for beta access.

“Over the next few years, IBM Q systems’ capabilities will surpass conventional computers can do, and start becoming a tool for experts in areas such as chemistry, biology, healthcare and materials science,” said Dario Gil, vice president of AI research and IBM Q, IBM Research.