The new H1 Emulator provides more realistic data about how quantum circuits will perform on Honeywell’s trapped-ion quantum computing system
Honeywell Quantum Solutions has created a new tool to help developers refine and de-bug circuits and glean better insight into how they will perform on its quantum computers.
The H1 Emulator is now available to users who access Honeywell’s System Model H1 technologies either directly or via Microsoft’s Azure Quantum service.
This new tool was designed to seamlessly integrate into current H1 workflows as users prepare their circuits. It uses the same API (which enables different computing systems to talk to one another) and compiler (a program that translates code written in one computing language to another) as the System Model H1, Honeywell’s most powerful commercial quantum system.
“Users submit their circuits to the H1 Emulator just as they do to the physical hardware,” said Dr. Jenni Strabley, who oversees product development at Honeywell Quantum Solutions. “They simply decide where to send them.”
Simulate and Emulate
Quantum circuits, which look like musical scales, essentially are instructions that tell quantum computers when and how to perform operations on qubits. They are an important component of quantum algorithms, which are step-by-step procedures for solving mathematical problems.
Historically, developers evaluated quantum algorithms on classical computers that performed basic simulations of quantum computers because the latter did not exist.
Now that commercial quantum computers are available, these classical simulators have taken on a new role.
Researchers and developers use them to de-bug and optimize circuits before running them on actual hardware, and also to verify and validate data and results generated by today’s quantum computers, which are early stage and are prone to noise or interference.
This noise is created by qubits interacting with their environment and one another. It causes errors to accumulate, corrupts information stored in and between physical qubits, and disrupts the quantum state of qubits used to carry out quantum calculations.
Classical simulators struggle to account for this noise because they cannot mimic the physical operations of real quantum devices. This limits how accurately they can predict how well quantum circuits will perform on actual quantum hardware, which makes it harder to identify and fix bugs or issues beforehand.
“(These simulators) give you a picture but it’s not as clear or detailed as we need,” said Dr. Ciaran Ryan-Anderson, a physicist at Honeywell Quantum Solutions.
Which is why Honeywell Quantum Solutions has introduced the H1 Emulator and is making it available to customers.
“Emulators can do everything a simulator can and more,” Ryan-Anderson said. “They include a noise model and mimic the operations of a quantum computer, which results in more realistic data and a better sense of how a quantum circuit will perform.”
As quantum computing hardware and programming languages improve, researchers and developers will need better simulation tools test and refine circuits and verify that quantum programs are bug free and working as intended.
Tony Uttley, president of Honeywell Quantum Solutions, said the H1 Emulator represents a major step forward.