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Thursday, May 03, 2018
12:30 PM - 1:30 PM
T-DO Conference Room (03-123-121)

Quantum Lunch

Observation of topological phenomena in a programmable lattice of 1,800 qubits

Andrew King
D-Wave Systems

The celebrated work of Berezinskii, Kosterlitz and Thouless in the 1970s revealed exotic phases of matter governed by topological properties of low-dimensional materials such as thin films of superfluids and superconductors. Key to this phenomenon is the appearance and interaction of vortices and antivortices in an angular degree of freedom---typified by the classical XY model---due to thermal fluctuations. In the 2D Ising model this angular degree of freedom is absent in the classical case, but with the addition of a transverse field it can emerge from the interplay between frustration and quantum fluctuations. Consequently a Kosterlitz-Thouless (KT) phase transition has been predicted in the quantum system by theory and simulation. Here we demonstrate a large-scale quantum simulation of this phenomenon in a network of 1,800 in situ programmable superconducting flux qubits arranged in a fully-frustrated square-octagonal lattice. Essential to the critical behavior, we observe the emergence of a complex order parameter with continuous rotational symmetry, and the onset of quasi-long-range order as the system approaches a critical temperature. We use a simple but previously undemonstrated approach to statistical estimation with an annealing-based quantum processor, performing Monte Carlo sampling in a chain of reverse quantum annealing protocols. Observations are consistent with classical simulations across a range of Hamiltonian parameters. We anticipate that our approach of using a quantum processor as a programmable magnetic lattice will find widespread use in the simulation and development of exotic materials.

Host: Lukasz Cincio