10:36 AM

Advances in Quantum Computing Pave the Way to Next Generation Quantum Optimization Algorithms

Washington, D.C.—November 14, 2023. Research from a team of scientists from Universities Space Research Association (USRA), Rigetti Computing, and NASA Ames Research Center has led to the development of a significant step toward the challenging goal of combinatorial optimization for harnessing the power of quantum computing. This research is part of the DARPA Optimization with Noisy Intermediate Scale Quantum (ONISQ) program  -- awarded to USRA in 2019 to direct a tight scientific collaboration between USRA, NASA and Rigetti Computing.  The work is focused on developing fundamental advances of quantum optimization methods that will be impacting the U.S. military capabilities in the future.  

Graphic of quantum circuit corresponding to the algorithm executed on the quantum processor

Quantum circuit corresponding to the algorithm executed on the quantum processor.

Noise in quantum hardware has been a persistent problem and to mitigate this issue the researchers introduced an innovative quantum algorithm, inspired by and building on recent advances in the field of quantum hybrid optimization. This algorithm, in the presence of strong hardware noise, outperforms its classical “greedy” counterpart.

Using a cutting-edge programmable superconducting quantum computer (the Rigetti Aspen™-M-3 system) featuring up to 72 qubits, this research is a significant milestone in our understanding of the requirements of quantum advantage. The results were recently published in the paper “Quantum-Enhanced Greedy Combinatorial Optimization Solver” in Science Advances.

According to Dr. Davide Venturelli, Associate Director of USRA’s Research Institute for Advanced Computer Science and Principal Investigator of ONISQ “Scheduling Applications with Advanced Mixers” (SAAM) project, a large fraction of the applied quantum computing community is still focusing on toy problems that can be simulated and fully understood. “The challenge is not to be afraid of developing sophisticated algorithms that use the full resources of current quantum hardware, no matter how daunting it might seem to beat the noise that affects quantum systems”.

Dr. Maxime Dupont, lead author of the paper said, “Our work demonstrates that noisy superconducting quantum computers can solve combinatorial optimization at scale with good performances, closing the gap toward a quantum advantage as more qubits and better fidelities become available."

The work and its demonstration on 72 qubits provide a new perspective for the development of quantum algorithms and is further improvable with error-mitigation techniques, which will be investigated in future projects.

Additional Resources: https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/sciadv.adi0487.





About USRA

Founded in 1969, under the auspices of the National Academy of Sciences at the request of the U.S. Government, the Universities Space Research Association (USRA) is a nonprofit corporation chartered to advance space-related science, technology and engineering. USRA operates scientific institutes and facilities, and conducts other major research and educational programs. It engages the university community of 117 universities, employs in-house scientific leadership, and offers innovative research and development, and project management expertise. More information about USRA is available at www.usra.edu.


About Rigetti Computing

Rigetti is a pioneer in full-stack quantum computing. The Company has operated quantum computers over the cloud since 2017 and serves global enterprise, government, and research clients through its Rigetti Quantum Cloud Services platform. The Company’s proprietary quantum-classical infrastructure provides high performance integration with public and private clouds for practical quantum computing. Rigetti has developed the industry’s first multi-chip quantum processor for scalable quantum computing systems. The Company designs and manufactures its chips in-house at Fab-1, the industry’s first dedicated and integrated quantum device manufacturing facility. Learn more at www.rigetti.com.