An anonymous reader writes: A new paper on the physics preprint server arXiv.org today announced the development of a quantum version of the Metropolis algorithm. Richard Feynman's vision for quantum computers to solve arbitrary quantum simulation problems is the most important application of quantum computers, and this paper presents a final and crucial piece of the puzzle for theoretically enabling efficient quantum simulations. Until now it was unknown how to efficiently prepare a state with realistic starting conditions for a large physical system. The Quantum Metropolis Algorithm solves this problem using inspiration and ideas from the classical Metropolis algorithm that was invented in the 1940's to solve the same problem in classical simulation, and has become a crucial part of computational physics and statistics ever since.
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