Quantum Computing (QC) is a promising early-stage technology that offers novel approaches to simulation and analysis in nuclear and high energy physics (NHEP). By basing computations directly on quantum mechanical phenomena, speedups and other advantages for many computationally hard tasks are potentially achievable, albeit both, the theoretical underpinning and the practical realization, are still subject to considerable scientific debate, which raises the question of applicability in NHEP.
In this contribution, we describe the current state of affairs in QC: Currently available noisy, intermediate-scale quantum (NISQ) computers suffer from a very limited number of quantum bits, and are subject to considerable imperfections, which narrows their practical computational capabilities. Our recent work on optimization problems suggests that the Co-Design of quantum hardware and algorithms is one route towards practical utility. This approach offers near-term advantages throughout a variety of domains, but requires interdisciplinary exchange between communities.
To this end, we identify possible classes of applications in NHEP, ranging from quantum process simulation over event classification directly at the quantum level to optimal real-time control of experiments. These types of algorithms are particularly suited for quantum algorithms that involve Variational Quantum Circuits, but might also benefit from more unusual special-purpose techniques like (Gaussian) Boson Sampling. We outline challenges and opportunities in the cross-domain cooperation between QC and NHEP, and show routes towards co-designed systems and algorithms. In particular, we aim at furthering the interdisciplinary exchange of ideas by establishing a joint understanding of requirements, limitations and possibilities.
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