Research ArticleQuantum Mechanics

Experimentally modeling stochastic processes with less memory by the use of a quantum processor

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Science Advances  03 Feb 2017:
Vol. 3, no. 2, e1601302
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1601302

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Computer simulation of observable phenomena is an indispensable tool for engineering new technology, understanding the natural world, and studying human society. However, the most interesting systems are often so complex that simulating their future behavior demands storing immense amounts of information regarding how they have behaved in the past. For increasingly complex systems, simulation becomes increasingly difficult and is ultimately constrained by resources such as computer memory. Recent theoretical work shows that quantum theory can reduce this memory requirement beyond ultimate classical limits, as measured by a process’ statistical complexity, C. We experimentally demonstrate this quantum advantage in simulating stochastic processes. Our quantum implementation observes a memory requirement of Cq = 0.05 ± 0.01, far below the ultimate classical limit of C = 1. Scaling up this technique would substantially reduce the memory required in simulations of more complex systems.

  • quantum information
  • complexity
  • Quantum Optics
  • stochastic simulation
  • quantum measurement

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, so long as the resultant use is not for commercial advantage and provided the original work is properly cited.

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