(Phys.org) A study led by researchers at North Carolina State University developed a new method that enables quantum computers to measure the thermodynamic properties of systems by calculating the zeros of the partition function.
“We’ve illustrated a new way to get at thermodynamic properties of a system, such as free energy, entropy, and other properties that are too complex to currently be measured via traditional or quantum computing,” says Lex
Quantum computers are often used to study complicated systems due to their ability to handle large computations beyond the reach of conventional computers. However, some problems, such as measuring the thermodynamics or free energy in a system (which involves calculating its entropy), are still too big for even these computers to handle efficiently.
Kemper and his colleagues used a quantum computer to measure the partition function zeros, rather than the entropy, of a spin model as it is tuned across a phase transition.
This is a way to use a quantum computer to get at all the thermodynamic properties of a system without necessitating huge numbers of quantum computations,” Kemper says.