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Amira Abbas, Robbie King, Hsin-Yuan Huang, William J. Huggins, Ramis Movassagh, Dar Gilboa, Jarrod R. McClean

The success of modern deep learning hinges on the ability to train neural networks at scale. Through clever reuse of intermediate information, backpropagation facilitates training through gradient computation at a total cost roughly proportional to running the function, rather than incurring an additional factor proportional to the number of parameters - which can now be in the trillions. Naively, one expects that quantum measurement collapse entirely rules out the reuse of quantum information as in backpropagation. But recent developments in shadow tomography, which assumes access to multiple copies of a quantum state, have challenged that notion. Here, we investigate whether parameterized quantum models can train as efficiently as classical neural networks. We show that achieving backpropagation scaling is impossible without access to multiple copies of a state. With this added ability, we introduce an algorithm with foundations in shadow tomography that matches backpropagation scaling in quantum resources while reducing classical auxiliary computational costs to open problems in shadow tomography. These results highlight the nuance of reusing quantum information for practical purposes and clarify the unique difficulties in training large quantum models, which could alter the course of quantum machine learning.

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Jordan Cotler, Hsin-Yuan Huang, Jarrod R. McClean

It has been shown that the apparent advantage of some quantum machine learning algorithms may be efficiently replicated using classical algorithms with suitable data access -- a process known as dequantization. Existing works on dequantization compare quantum algorithms which take copies of an n-qubit quantum state $|x\rangle = \sum_{i} x_i |i\rangle$ as input to classical algorithms which have sample and query (SQ) access to the vector $x$. In this note, we prove that classical algorithms with SQ access can accomplish some learning tasks exponentially faster than quantum algorithms with quantum state inputs. Because classical algorithms are a subset of quantum algorithms, this demonstrates that SQ access can sometimes be significantly more powerful than quantum state inputs. Our findings suggest that the absence of exponential quantum advantage in some learning tasks may be due to SQ access being too powerful relative to quantum state inputs. If we compare quantum algorithms with quantum state inputs to classical algorithms with access to measurement data on quantum states, the landscape of quantum advantage can be dramatically different. We remark that when the quantum states are constructed from exponential-size classical data, comparing SQ access and quantum state inputs is appropriate since both require exponential time to prepare.

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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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M. Cerezo, Andrew Arrasmith, Ryan Babbush, Simon C. Benjamin, Suguru Endo, Keisuke Fujii, Jarrod R. McClean, Kosuke Mitarai, Xiao Yuan, Lukasz Cincio, Patrick J. Coles

Applications such as simulating large quantum systems or solving large-scale linear algebra problems are immensely challenging for classical computers due their extremely high computational cost. Quantum computers promise to unlock these applications, although fault-tolerant quantum computers will likely not be available for several years. Currently available quantum devices have serious constraints, including limited qubit numbers and noise processes that limit circuit depth. Variational Quantum Algorithms (VQAs), which employ a classical optimizer to train a parametrized quantum circuit, have emerged as a leading strategy to address these constraints. VQAs have now been proposed for essentially all applications that researchers have envisioned for quantum computers, and they appear to the best hope for obtaining quantum advantage. Nevertheless, challenges remain including the trainability, accuracy, and efficiency of VQAs. In this review article we present an overview of the field of VQAs. Furthermore, we discuss strategies to overcome their challenges as well as the exciting prospects for using them as a means to obtain quantum advantage.

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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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Andrea Skolik, Jarrod R. McClean, Masoud Mohseni, Patrick van der Smagt, Martin Leib

With the increased focus on quantum circuit learning for near-term applications on quantum devices, in conjunction with unique challenges presented by cost function landscapes of parametrized quantum circuits, strategies for effective training are becoming increasingly important. In order to ameliorate some of these challenges, we investigate a layerwise learning strategy for parametrized quantum circuits. The circuit depth is incrementally grown during optimization, and only subsets of parameters are updated in each training step. We show that when considering sampling noise, this strategy can help avoid the problem of barren plateaus of the error surface due to the low depth of circuits, low number of parameters trained in one step, and larger magnitude of gradients compared to training the full circuit. These properties make our algorithm preferable for execution on noisy intermediate-scale quantum devices. We demonstrate our approach on an image-classification task on handwritten digits, and show that layerwise learning attains an 8% lower generalization error on average in comparison to standard learning schemes for training quantum circuits of the same size. Additionally, the percentage of runs that reach lower test errors is up to 40% larger compared to training the full circuit, which is susceptible to creeping onto a plateau during training.

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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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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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Jarrod R. McClean, Sergio Boixo, Vadim N. Smelyanskiy, Ryan Babbush, Hartmut Neven

Many experimental proposals for noisy intermediate scale quantum devices involve training a parameterized quantum circuit with a classical optimization loop. Such hybrid quantum-classical algorithms are popular for applications in quantum simulation, optimization, and machine learning. Due to its simplicity and hardware efficiency, random circuits are often proposed as initial guesses for exploring the space of quantum states. We show that the exponential dimension of Hilbert space and the gradient estimation complexity make this choice unsuitable for hybrid quantum-classical algorithms run on more than a few qubits. Specifically, we show that for a wide class of reasonable parameterized quantum circuits, the probability that the gradient along any reasonable direction is non-zero to some fixed precision is exponentially small as a function of the number of qubits. We argue that this is related to the 2-design characteristic of random circuits, and that solutions to this problem must be studied.

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