High-energy physics has a long history of providing infrastructure, tools, and interfaces to computing for use by HEP researchers. Though quantum computers are fundamentally different from classical computers, we are looking into ways to use existing infrastructure to enable easy access to such quantum machines. For example, Fermilab plans to interface HEPCloud, a system under development at the lab that manages heterogeneous computing resources, to quantum computers. The impact is allowing researchers to more easily submit and manage HEP workflows using classical and quantum resources.
The task before the Fermilab computing community is to cast particle physics problems in a way that will make quantum computing beneficial, describing physics systems so that they’re expressible in qubits. Simulations will allow physicists to refine how they cast problems such as those in quantum chromodynamics or in physics beyond the Standard Model into a form amenable to quantum computing. Scientists must then be able to read out the state of the quantum computer and translate the output back into binary — traditional — data to be used in subsequent calculations.
Caltech, the University of Chicago and the University of Washington are partners on this initiative.