TH BSM Forum

Quantum Annealers as a Laboratory for Quantum Physics

by Steven Adam Abel (University of Durham (GB))

4/2-037 - TH meeting room (CERN)

4/2-037 - TH meeting room


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I discuss recent work done with Michael Spannowsky at Durham in which we propose quantum annealers as a 
laboratory for studying non-perturbative aspects of quantum mechanics and quantum field theories.  Our approach encodes the field theory as an Ising model, which is then solved by the annealer. As a proof-of-concept, we encode a scalar field theory and measure the probability for it to tunnel from the false to the true vacuum for various tunnelling times, vacuum displacements and potential profiles. This is the first time it has been possible to experimentally measure instanton processes in a freely chosen quantum field theory. This novel and flexible probe of quantum systems can in principle be applied to study any field theory of interest using genuine quantum experimentation. Measurements of the dynamical behaviour of field theories are independent of theoretical calculations and could be used to infer their properties without being limited by the availability of suitable perturbative or nonperturbative computational methods.