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Johannes Bausch, Andrew W Senior, Francisco J H Heras, Thomas Edlich, Alex Davies, Michael Newman, Cody Jones, Kevin Satzinger, Murphy Yuezhen Niu, Sam Blackwell, George Holland, Dvir Kafri, Juan Atalaya, Craig Gidney, Demis Hassabis, Sergio Boixo, Hartmut Neven, Pushmeet Kohli

Quantum error-correction is a prerequisite for reliable quantum computation. Towards this goal, we present a recurrent, transformer-based neural network which learns to decode the surface code, the leading quantum error-correction code. Our decoder outperforms state-of-the-art algorithmic decoders on real-world data from Google's Sycamore quantum processor for distance 3 and 5 surface codes. On distances up to 11, the decoder maintains its advantage on simulated data with realistic noise including cross-talk, leakage, and analog readout signals, and sustains its accuracy far beyond the 25 cycles it was trained on. Our work illustrates the ability of machine learning to go beyond human-designed algorithms by learning from data directly, highlighting machine learning as a strong contender for decoding in quantum computers.

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Kingson Man, Antonio Damasio, Hartmut Neven

In living organisms, homeostasis is the natural regulation of internal states aimed at maintaining conditions compatible with life. Typical artificial systems are not equipped with comparable regulatory features. Here, we introduce an artificial neural network that incorporates homeostatic features. Its own computing substrate is placed in a needful and vulnerable relation to the very objects over which it computes. For example, artificial neurons performing classification of MNIST digits or Fashion-MNIST articles of clothing may receive excitatory or inhibitory effects, which alter their own learning rate as a direct result of perceiving and classifying the digits. In this scenario, accurate recognition is desirable to the agent itself because it guides decisions to regulate its vulnerable internal states and functionality. Counterintuitively, the addition of vulnerability to a learner does not necessarily impair its performance. On the contrary, self-regulation in response to vulnerability confers benefits under certain conditions. We show that homeostatic design confers increased adaptability under concept shift, in which the relationships between labels and data change over time, and that the greatest advantages are obtained under the highest rates of shift. This necessitates the rapid un-learning of past associations and the re-learning of new ones. We also demonstrate the superior abilities of homeostatic learners in environments with dynamically changing rates of concept shift. Our homeostatic design exposes the artificial neural network's thinking machinery to the consequences of its own "thoughts", illustrating the advantage of putting one's own "skin in the game" to improve fluid intelligence.

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Hsin-Yuan Huang, Michael Broughton, Jordan Cotler, Sitan Chen, Jerry Li, Masoud Mohseni, Hartmut Neven, Ryan Babbush, Richard Kueng, John Preskill, Jarrod R. McClean

Quantum technology has the potential to revolutionize how we acquire and process experimental data to learn about the physical world. An experimental setup that transduces data from a physical system to a stable quantum memory, and processes that data using a quantum computer, could have significant advantages over conventional experiments in which the physical system is measured and the outcomes are processed using a classical computer. We prove that, in various tasks, quantum machines can learn from exponentially fewer experiments than those required in conventional experiments. The exponential advantage holds in predicting properties of physical systems, performing quantum principal component analysis on noisy states, and learning approximate models of physical dynamics. In some tasks, the quantum processing needed to achieve the exponential advantage can be modest; for example, one can simultaneously learn about many noncommuting observables by processing only two copies of the system. Conducting experiments with up to 40 superconducting qubits and 1300 quantum gates, we demonstrate that a substantial quantum advantage can be realized using today's relatively noisy quantum processors. Our results highlight how quantum technology can enable powerful new strategies to learn about nature.

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Masoud Mohseni, Daniel Eppens, Johan Strumpfer, Raffaele Marino, Vasil Denchev, Alan K. Ho, Sergei V. Isakov, Sergio Boixo, Federico Ricci-Tersenghi, Hartmut Neven

Optimizing highly complex cost/energy functions over discrete variables is at the heart of many open problems across different scientific disciplines and industries. A major obstacle is the emergence of many-body effects among certain subsets of variables in hard instances leading to critical slowing down or collective freezing for known stochastic local search strategies. An exponential computational effort is generally required to unfreeze such variables and explore other unseen regions of the configuration space. Here, we introduce a quantum-inspired family of nonlocal Nonequilibrium Monte Carlo (NMC) algorithms by developing an adaptive gradient-free strategy that can efficiently learn key instance-wise geometrical features of the cost function. That information is employed on-the-fly to construct spatially inhomogeneous thermal fluctuations for collectively unfreezing variables at various length scales, circumventing costly exploration versus exploitation trade-offs. We apply our algorithm to two of the most challenging combinatorial optimization problems: random k-satisfiability (k-SAT) near the computational phase transitions and Quadratic Assignment Problems (QAP). We observe significant speedup and robustness over both specialized deterministic solvers and generic stochastic solvers. In particular, for 90% of random 4-SAT instances we find solutions that are inaccessible for the best specialized deterministic algorithm known as Survey Propagation (SP) with an order of magnitude improvement in the quality of solutions for the hardest 10% instances. We also demonstrate two orders of magnitude improvement in time-to-solution over the state-of-the-art generic stochastic solver known as Adaptive Parallel Tempering (APT).

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Alexander Zlokapa, Hartmut Neven, Seth Lloyd

Given the success of deep learning in classical machine learning, quantum algorithms for traditional neural network architectures may provide one of the most promising settings for quantum machine learning. Considering a fully-connected feedforward neural network, we show that conditions amenable to classical trainability via gradient descent coincide with those necessary for efficiently solving quantum linear systems. We propose a quantum algorithm to approximately train a wide and deep neural network up to $O(1/n)$ error for a training set of size $n$ by performing sparse matrix inversion in $O(\log n)$ time. To achieve an end-to-end exponential speedup over gradient descent, the data distribution must permit efficient state preparation and readout. We numerically demonstrate that the MNIST image dataset satisfies such conditions; moreover, the quantum algorithm matches the accuracy of the fully-connected network. Beyond the proven architecture, we provide empirical evidence for $O(\log n)$ training of a convolutional neural network with pooling.

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Hsin-Yuan Huang, Michael Broughton, Masoud Mohseni, Ryan Babbush, Sergio Boixo, Hartmut Neven, Jarrod R. McClean

The use of quantum computing for machine learning is among the most exciting prospective applications of quantum technologies. At the crux of excitement is the potential for quantum computers to perform some computations exponentially faster than their classical counterparts. However, a machine learning task where some data is provided can be considerably different than more commonly studied computational tasks. In this work, we show that some problems that are classically hard to compute can be predicted easily with classical machines that learn from data. We find that classical machines can often compete or outperform existing quantum models even on data sets generated by quantum evolution, especially at large system sizes. Using rigorous prediction error bounds as a foundation, we develop a methodology for assessing the potential for quantum advantage in prediction on learning tasks. We show how the use of exponentially large quantum Hilbert space in existing quantum models can result in significantly inferior prediction performance compared to classical machines. To circumvent the observed setbacks, we propose an improvement by projecting all quantum states to an approximate classical representation. The projected quantum model provides a simple and rigorous quantum speed-up for a recently proposed learning problem in the fault-tolerant regime. For more near-term quantum models, the projected versions demonstrate a significant prediction advantage over some classical models on engineered data sets in one of the largest numerical tests for gate-based quantum machine learning to date, up to 30 qubits.

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Murphy Yuezhen Niu, Andrew M. Dai, Li Li, Augustus Odena, Zhengli Zhao, Vadim Smelyanskyi, Hartmut Neven, Sergio Boixo

Given a quantum circuit, a quantum computer can sample the output distribution exponentially faster in the number of bits than classical computers. A similar exponential separation has yet to be established in generative models through quantum sample learning: given samples from an n-qubit computation, can we learn the underlying quantum distribution using models with training parameters that scale polynomial in n under a fixed training time? We study four kinds of generative models: Deep Boltzmann machine (DBM), Generative Adversarial Networks (GANs), Long Short-Term Memory (LSTM) and Autoregressive GAN, on learning quantum data set generated by deep random circuits. We demonstrate the leading performance of LSTM in learning quantum samples, and thus the autoregressive structure present in the underlying quantum distribution from random quantum circuits. Both numerical experiments and a theoretical proof in the case of the DBM show exponentially growing complexity of learning-agent parameters required for achieving a fixed accuracy as n increases. Finally, we establish a connection between learnability and the complexity of generative models by benchmarking learnability against different sets of samples drawn from probability distributions of variable degrees of complexities in their quantum and classical representations.

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Michael Broughton, Guillaume Verdon, Trevor McCourt, Antonio J. Martinez, Jae Hyeon Yoo, Sergei V. Isakov, Philip Massey, Murphy Yuezhen Niu, Ramin Halavati, Evan Peters, Martin Leib, Andrea Skolik, Michael Streif, David Von Dollen, Jarrod R. McClean, Sergio Boixo, Dave Bacon, Alan K. Ho, Hartmut Neven, Masoud Mohseni

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.

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Murphy Yuezhen Niu, Vadim Smelyanskyi, Paul Klimov, Sergio Boixo, Rami Barends, Julian Kelly, Yu Chen, Kunal Arya, Brian Burkett, Dave Bacon, Zijun Chen, Ben Chiaro, Roberto Collins, Andrew Dunsworth, Brooks Foxen, Austin Fowler, Craig Gidney, Marissa Giustina, Rob Graff, Trent Huang, Evan Jeffrey, David Landhuis, Erik Lucero, Anthony Megrant, Josh Mutus, Xiao Mi, Ofer Naaman, Matthew Neeley, Charles Neill, Chris Quintana, Pedram Roushan, John M. Martinis, Hartmut Neven

Two-level-system (TLS) defects in amorphous dielectrics are a major source of noise and decoherence in solid-state qubits. Gate-dependent non-Markovian errors caused by TLS-qubit coupling are detrimental to fault-tolerant quantum computation and have not been rigorously treated in the existing literature. In this work, we derive the non-Markovian dynamics between TLS and qubits during a SWAP-like two-qubit gate and the associated average gate fidelity for frequency-tunable Transmon qubits. This gate dependent error model facilitates using qubits as sensors to simultaneously learn practical imperfections in both the qubit's environment and control waveforms. We combine the-state-of-art machine learning algorithm with Moir\'{e}-enhanced swap spectroscopy to achieve robust learning using noisy experimental data. Deep neural networks are used to represent the functional map from experimental data to TLS parameters and are trained through an evolutionary algorithm. Our method achieves the highest learning efficiency and robustness against experimental imperfections to-date, representing an important step towards in-situ quantum control optimization over environmental and control defects.

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Guillaume Verdon, Michael Broughton, Jarrod R. McClean, Kevin J. Sung, Ryan Babbush, Zhang Jiang, Hartmut Neven, Masoud Mohseni

Quantum Neural Networks (QNNs) are a promising variational learning paradigm with applications to near-term quantum processors, however they still face some significant challenges. One such challenge is finding good parameter initialization heuristics that ensure rapid and consistent convergence to local minima of the parameterized quantum circuit landscape. In this work, we train classical neural networks to assist in the quantum learning process, also know as meta-learning, to rapidly find approximate optima in the parameter landscape for several classes of quantum variational algorithms. Specifically, we train classical recurrent neural networks to find approximately optimal parameters within a small number of queries of the cost function for the Quantum Approximate Optimization Algorithm (QAOA) for MaxCut, QAOA for Sherrington-Kirkpatrick Ising model, and for a Variational Quantum Eigensolver for the Hubbard model. By initializing other optimizers at parameter values suggested by the classical neural network, we demonstrate a significant improvement in the total number of optimization iterations required to reach a given accuracy. We further demonstrate that the optimization strategies learned by the neural network generalize well across a range of problem instance sizes. This opens up the possibility of training on small, classically simulatable problem instances, in order to initialize larger, classically intractably simulatable problem instances on quantum devices, thereby significantly reducing the number of required quantum-classical optimization iterations.

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