(ScienceDaily) A new study led by a physicist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), details how a quantum computing technique called “quantum annealing” can be used to solve problems relevant to fundamental questions in nuclear physics about the subatomic building blocks of all matter. It could also help answer other vexing questions in science and industry, too.
“No quantum annealing algorithm exists for the problems that we are trying to solve,” said Chia Cheng “Jason” Chang, a RIKEN iTHEMS fellow in Berkeley Lab’s Nuclear Science Division and a research scientist at RIKEN, a scientific institute in Japan.
Chang’s team used the D-Wave 2000Q commercial quantum annealer located in Burnaby, Canada, that features superconducting electronic elements chilled to extreme temperatures to carry out its calculations.
Chang said he is hopeful the algorithm will ultimately prove useful to calculations that can test how subatomic quarks behave and interact with other subatomic particles in the nuclei of atoms. While it will be an exciting next step to work to apply the algorithm to solve nuclear physics problems, “This algorithm is much more general than just for nuclear science,” Chang noted. “It would be exciting to find new ways to use these new computers.”

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