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We extend the concept of transfer learning, widely applied in modern machine learning algorithms, to the emerging context of hybrid neural networks composed of classical and quantum elements. We propose different implementations of hybrid transfer learning, but we focus mainly on the paradigm in which a pre-trained classical network is modified and augmented by a final variational quantum circuit. This approach is particularly attractive in the current era of intermediate-scale quantum technology since it allows to optimally pre-process high dimensional data (e.g., images) with any state-of-the-art classical network and to embed a select set of highly informative features into a quantum processor. We present several proof-of-concept examples of the convenient application of quantum transfer learning for image recognition and quantum state classification. We use the cross-platform software library PennyLane to experimentally test a high-resolution image classifier with two different quantum computers, respectively provided by IBM and Rigetti.

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A quantum generalization of Natural Gradient Descent is presented as part of a general-purpose optimization framework for variational quantum circuits. The optimization dynamics is interpreted as moving in the steepest descent direction with respect to the Quantum Information Geometry, corresponding to the real part of the Quantum Geometric Tensor (QGT), also known as the Fubini-Study metric tensor. An efficient algorithm is presented for computing a block-diagonal approximation to the Fubini-Study metric tensor for parametrized quantum circuits, which may be of independent interest.

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PennyLane is a Python 3 software framework for optimization and machine learning of quantum and hybrid quantum-classical computations. The library provides a unified architecture for near-term quantum computing devices, supporting both qubit and continuous-variable paradigms. PennyLane's core feature is the ability to compute gradients of variational quantum circuits in a way that is compatible with classical techniques such as backpropagation. PennyLane thus extends the automatic differentiation algorithms common in optimization and machine learning to include quantum and hybrid computations. A plugin system makes the framework compatible with any gate-based quantum simulator or hardware. We provide plugins for StrawberryFields and ProjectQ (including a IBMQE device interface). PennyLane can be used for the optimization of variational quantum eigensolvers, quantum approximate optimization, quantum machine learning models, and many other applications.

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We introduce a general method for building neural networks on quantum computers. The quantum neural network is a variational quantum circuit built in the continuous-variable (CV) architecture, which encodes quantum information in continuous degrees of freedom such as the amplitudes of the electromagnetic field. This circuit contains a layered structure of continuously parameterized gates which is universal for CV quantum computation. Affine transformations and nonlinear activation functions, two key elements in neural networks, are enacted in the quantum network using Gaussian and non-Gaussian gates, respectively. The non-Gaussian gates provide both the nonlinearity and the universality of the model. Due to the structure of the CV model, the CV quantum neural network can encode highly nonlinear transformations while remaining completely unitary. We show how a classical network can be embedded into the quantum formalism and propose quantum versions of various specialized model such as convolutional, recurrent, and residual networks. Finally, we present numerous modeling experiments built with the Strawberry Fields software library. These experiments, including a classifier for fraud detection, a network which generates Tetris images, and a hybrid classical-quantum autoencoder, demonstrate the capability and adaptability of CV quantum neural networks.

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Quantum machine learning is expected to be one of the first potential general-purpose applications of near-term quantum devices. A major recent breakthrough in classical machine learning is the notion of generative adversarial training, where the gradients of a discriminator model are used to train a separate generative model. In this work and a companion paper, we extend adversarial training to the quantum domain and show how to construct generative adversarial networks using quantum circuits. Furthermore, we also show how to compute gradients -- a key element in generative adversarial network training -- using another quantum circuit. We give an example of a simple practical circuit ansatz to parametrize quantum machine learning models and perform a simple numerical experiment to demonstrate that quantum generative adversarial networks can be trained successfully.

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We propose generative neural network methods to generate DNA sequences and tune them to have desired properties. We present three approaches: creating synthetic DNA sequences using a generative adversarial network; a DNA-based variant of the activation maximization ("deep dream") design method; and a joint procedure which combines these two approaches together. We show that these tools capture important structures of the data and, when applied to designing probes for protein binding microarrays, allow us to generate new sequences whose properties are estimated to be superior to those found in the training data. We believe that these results open the door for applying deep generative models to advance genomics research.

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