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J Chem Phys. 2012 Dec 14;137(22):224109. doi: 10.1063/1.4768229.

The Bravyi-Kitaev transformation for quantum computation of electronic structure.

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  • 1Department of Physics, Haverford College, 370 Lancaster Ave., Haverford, Pennsylvania 19041, USA.


Quantum simulation is an important application of future quantum computers with applications in quantum chemistry, condensed matter, and beyond. Quantum simulation of fermionic systems presents a specific challenge. The Jordan-Wigner transformation allows for representation of a fermionic operator by O(n) qubit operations. Here, we develop an alternative method of simulating fermions with qubits, first proposed by Bravyi and Kitaev [Ann. Phys. 298, 210 (2002); e-print arXiv:quant-ph/0003137v2], that reduces the simulation cost to O(log‚ÄČn) qubit operations for one fermionic operation. We apply this new Bravyi-Kitaev transformation to the task of simulating quantum chemical Hamiltonians, and give a detailed example for the simplest possible case of molecular hydrogen in a minimal basis. We show that the quantum circuit for simulating a single Trotter time step of the Bravyi-Kitaev derived Hamiltonian for H(2) requires fewer gate applications than the equivalent circuit derived from the Jordan-Wigner transformation. Since the scaling of the Bravyi-Kitaev method is asymptotically better than the Jordan-Wigner method, this result for molecular hydrogen in a minimal basis demonstrates the superior efficiency of the Bravyi-Kitaev method for all quantum computations of electronic structure.

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