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Publication# A quantum algorithm for the direct estimation of the steady state of open quantum systems

Abstract

Simulating the dynamics and the non-equilibrium steady state of an open quantum system are hard computational tasks on conventional computers. For the simulation of the time evolution, several efficient quantum algorithms have recently been developed. However, computing the non-equilibrium steady state as the long-time limit of the system dynamics is often not a viable solution, because of exceedingly long transient features or strong quantum correlations in the dynamics. Here, we develop an efficient quantum algorithm for the direct estimation of averaged expectation values of observables on the non-equilibrium steady state, thus bypassing the time integration of the master equation. The algorithm encodes the vectorized representation of the density matrix on a quantum register, and makes use of quantum phase estimation to approximate the eigenvector associated to the zero eigenvalue of the generator of the system dynamics. We show that the output state of the algorithm allows to estimate expectation values of observables on the steady state. Away from critical points, where the Liouvillian gap scales as a power law of the system size, the quantum algorithm performs with exponential advantage compared to exact diagonalization.

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Density matrix

In quantum mechanics, a density matrix (or density operator) is a matrix that describes the quantum state of a physical system. It allows for the calculation of the probabilities of the outcomes of any measurement performed upon this system, using the Born rule. It is a generalization of the more usual state vectors or wavefunctions: while those can only represent pure states, density matrices can also represent mixed states.

Algorithm

In mathematics and computer science, an algorithm (ˈælɡərɪðəm) is a finite sequence of rigorous instructions, typically used to solve a class of specific problems or to perform a computation. Algorithms are used as specifications for performing calculations and data processing. More advanced algorithms can use conditionals to divert the code execution through various routes (referred to as automated decision-making) and deduce valid inferences (referred to as automated reasoning), achieving automation eventually.

Time evolution

Time evolution is the change of state brought about by the passage of time, applicable to systems with internal state (also called stateful systems). In this formulation, time is not required to be a continuous parameter, but may be discrete or even finite. In classical physics, time evolution of a collection of rigid bodies is governed by the principles of classical mechanics. In their most rudimentary form, these principles express the relationship between forces acting on the bodies and their acceleration given by Newton's laws of motion.

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