AIP Advances

Extending the reach of quantum computing for materials science with machine learning potentials

Download paper


Solving electronic structure problems represents a promising field of applications for quantum computers. Currently, much effort is spent in devising and optimizing quantum algorithms for near-term quantum processors, with the aim of outperforming classical counterparts on selected problem instances using limited quantum resources. These methods are still expected to feature a runtime preventing quantum simulations of large scale and bulk systems. In this work, we propose a strategy to extend the scope of quantum computational methods to large scale simulations using a machine learning potential trained on quantum simulation data. The challenge of applying machine learning potentials in today's quantum setting arises from the several sources of noise affecting the quantum computations of electronic energies and forces. We investigate the trainability of a machine learning potential selecting various sources of noise: statistical, optimization, and hardware noise. Finally, we construct the first machine learning potential from data computed on actual IBM Quantum processors for a hydrogen molecule. This already would allow us to perform arbitrarily long and stable molecular dynamics simulations, outperforming all current quantum approaches to molecular dynamics and structure optimization.