Abstract

Quantum mechanics can help to solve complex problems in physics1 and chemistry2, provided they can be programmed in a physical device. In adiabatic quantum computing3,4,5, a system is slowly evolved from the ground state of a simple initial Hamiltonian to a final Hamiltonian that encodes a computational problem. The appeal of this approach lies in the combination of simplicity and generality; in principle, any problem can be encoded. In practice, applications are restricted by limited connectivity, available interactions and noise. A complementary approach is digital quantum computing6, which enables the construction of arbitrary interactions and is compatible with error correction7,8, but uses quantum circuit algorithms that are problem-specific. Here we combine the advantages of both approaches by implementing digitized adiabatic quantum computing in a superconducting system. We tomographically probe the system during the digitized evolution and explore the scaling of errors with system size. We then let the full system find the solution to random instances of the one-dimensional Ising problem as well as problem Hamiltonians that involve more complex interactions. This digital quantum simulation9,10,11,12 of the adiabatic algorithm consists of up to nine qubits and up to 1,000 quantum logic gates. The demonstration of digitized adiabatic quantum computing in the solid state opens a path to synthesizing long-range correlations and solving complex computational problems. When combined with fault-tolerance, our approach becomes a general-purpose algorithm that is scalable.

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Acknowledgements

We acknowledge support from Spanish MINECO FIS2012-36673-C03-02; Ramón y Cajal grant RYC-2012-11391; UPV/EHU UFI 11/55 and EHUA14/04; Basque Government IT472-10; a UPV/EHU PhD grant; and PROMISCE and SCALEQIT EU projects. Devices were made at the UC Santa Barbara Nanofabrication Facility, a part of the NSF-funded National Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network, and at the NanoStructures Cleanroom Facility.

Author information

Author notes

    • A. Mezzacapo

    Present address: IBM T. J. Watson Research Center, Yorktown Heights, New York 10598, USA.

Affiliations

  1. Google Inc., Santa Barbara, California 93117, USA

    • R. Barends
    • , J. Kelly
    • , A. G. Fowler
    • , Yu Chen
    • , E. Jeffrey
    • , E. Lucero
    • , J. Y. Mutus
    • , M. Neeley
    • , P. Roushan
    • , D. Sank
    •  & John M. Martinis
  2. Google Inc., Venice, California 90291, USA

    • A. Shabani
    • , R. Babbush
    •  & H. Neven
  3. Department of Physical Chemistry, University of the Basque Country UPV/EHU, Apartado 644, E-48080 Bilbao, Spain

    • L. Lamata
    • , A. Mezzacapo
    • , U. Las Heras
    •  & E. Solano
  4. Department of Physics, University of California, Santa Barbara, California 93106, USA

    • B. Campbell
    • , Z. Chen
    • , B. Chiaro
    • , A. Dunsworth
    • , A. Megrant
    • , C. Neill
    • , P. J. J. O’Malley
    • , C. Quintana
    • , A. Vainsencher
    • , J. Wenner
    • , T. C. White
    •  & John M. Martinis
  5. IKERBASQUE, Basque Foundation for Science, Maria Diaz de Haro 3, 48013 Bilbao, Spain

    • E. Solano

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Contributions

R. Barends, A.S. and L.L. designed the experiment, with E.S., H.N. and J.M.M. providing supervision and A. Mezzacapo, U.L.H. and R. Babbush providing additional theoretical support. R. Barends, A.S., L.L. and R. Babbush co-wrote the manuscript with E.S., H.N. and J.M.M. R. Barends, A.S. and L.L. performed the experiment and analysed the data. The device was designed by R. Barends and J.K. All authors contributed to the fabrication process, experimental set-up and manuscript preparation.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to R. Barends or A. Shabani.

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    Supplementary Information

    This fie contains Supplementary Text and Data, Supplementary Figures 1-10, Supplementary Tables 1-10 and additional references.

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/nature17658

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