Hybrid quantum-classical computation
I’ve been working for the past year on a startup company that’s going to be doing some things quantum-related (obviously). In the process I’ve been designing some circuits to make some measurements of quantum phenomena. In the process I got to thinking about various classical circuit components and spent a lot of time understanding op amps. As it so happens, a basic op amp can be used to make logic gates, notably the OR and NOR gates. Naturally that got me thinking about quantum logic gates and I began to wonder why no one had ever thought to develop some kind of hybrid computing system in which certain quantum logic gates were incorporated into classical circuits in some way. Well, what is one of the first things you’re taught (or you should be taught) when embarking on a new idea or line of research? Perform a literature search! And lo and behold, I discovered this recent gem that proposes a framework for hybrid computation (note: I’m not quite done reading it yet).
What I hope to get out of it is three-fold:
- a framework that will allow me to dust off my – gasp – experimenter’s “hat” and get back in the lab (I’ve been playing around with a breadboard in my living room for half the summer and the house is still standing…) where I can create some of these hybrid circuits and see how they run;
- some new ideas for my start-up company that might improve our products or provide some new (and perhaps unusual!) products; and
- some kind of generalized circuit analysis framework (a bit more than is given in the above paper).
The burning question at the heart of all of this is: what would such hybrid circuits be good for, i.e. could they be used for more than mere “computation” (at least in the traditional sense) and serve as improvements over traditional classical circuits in electronic devices and components?