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Quantum Computers Could Excel in Modeling Chemical Reactions

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Quantum computers could potentially improve upon the capabilities of conventional computers in modeling and predicting complex chemical reactions, concludes a new study by researchers at Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and Haverford College. The researchers say the time to simulate a chemical reaction would not exponentially increase with the complexity of the reaction when a quantum computer is used.

A quantum computer of about 100 qubits in size would be needed to outperform current classical supercomputers. "This is still far beyond current prototype quantum computers," says Harvard graduate student Ivan Kassal. "And although it might take millions of quantum elementary operations on a few hundred quantum bits, our work suggests that with quantum computers that are as fast as modern conventional computers, one could simulate in seconds a chemical reaction that would take a conventional computer years."

The use of quantum computers in simulating chemical reactions could lead to significant breakthroughs in drug design, materials science, and other fields.

From Harvard University Gazette
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