Recent breakthroughs in artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms have highlighted the need for novel computing hardware in order to truly unlock the potential for AI. Physics-based hardware, such as thermodynamic computing, has the potential to provide a fast, low-power means to accelerate AI primitives, especially generative AI and probabilistic AI. In this work, we present the first continuous-variable thermodynamic computer, which we call the stochastic processing unit (SPU). Our SPU is composed of RLC circuits, as unit cells, on a printed circuit board, with 8 unit cells that are all-to-all coupled via switched capacitances. It can be used for either sampling or linear algebra primitives, and we demonstrate Gaussian sampling and matrix inversion on our hardware. The latter represents the first thermodynamic linear algebra experiment. We also illustrate the applicability of the SPU to uncertainty quantification for neural network classification. We envision that this hardware, when scaled up in size, will have significant impact on accelerating various probabilistic AI applications.
The dual tasks of quantum Hamiltonian learning and quantum Gibbs sampling are relevant to many important problems in physics and chemistry. In the low temperature regime, algorithms for these tasks often suffer from intractabilities, for example from poor sample- or time-complexity. With the aim of addressing such intractabilities, we introduce a generalization of quantum natural gradient descent to parameterized mixed states, as well as provide a robust first-order approximating algorithm, Quantum-Probabilistic Mirror Descent. We prove data sample efficiency for the dual tasks using tools from information geometry and quantum metrology, thus generalizing the seminal result of classical Fisher efficiency to a variational quantum algorithm for the first time. Our approaches extend previously sample-efficient techniques to allow for flexibility in model choice, including to spectrally-decomposed models like Quantum Hamiltonian-Based Models, which may circumvent intractable time complexities. Our first-order algorithm is derived using a novel quantum generalization of the classical mirror descent duality. Both results require a special choice of metric, namely, the Bogoliubov-Kubo-Mori metric. To test our proposed algorithms numerically, we compare their performance to existing baselines on the task of quantum Gibbs sampling for the transverse field Ising model. Finally, we propose an initialization strategy leveraging geometric locality for the modelling of sequences of states such as those arising from quantum-stochastic processes. We demonstrate its effectiveness empirically for both real and imaginary time evolution while defining a broader class of potential applications.
We introduce TensorFlow Quantum (TFQ), an open source library for the rapid prototyping of hybrid quantum-classical models for classical or quantum data. This framework offers high-level abstractions for the design and training of both discriminative and generative quantum models under TensorFlow and supports high-performance quantum circuit simulators. We provide an overview of the software architecture and building blocks through several examples and review the theory of hybrid quantum-classical neural networks. We illustrate TFQ functionalities via several basic applications including supervised learning for quantum classification, quantum control, and quantum approximate optimization. Moreover, we demonstrate how one can apply TFQ to tackle advanced quantum learning tasks including meta-learning, Hamiltonian learning, and sampling thermal states. We hope this framework provides the necessary tools for the quantum computing and machine learning research communities to explore models of both natural and artificial quantum systems, and ultimately discover new quantum algorithms which could potentially yield a quantum advantage.