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Simulating Quantum Physics in Less Than 20 Lines of Pure Python

Summary

The quantum walk in Python; an explaination of the model and the motivations for studying it as well as the process of simulation and data collection finishing with why the quantum walk is of interest to quantum computer scientists.

Description

Quantum physics is notoriously tricky, but if you have some coding ability, exploring quantum systems is extremely easy. The discrete time quantum walk is the quantum analogue of the classical random walk, and was developed in the hope of it having algorithmic applications. In fact, the model is universal for quantum computation, and famous algorithms such as Grovers' (quantum search) can be described in terms of it.

I will describe the code for a quantum walk on a 2d lattice, and indicate how this code can be used and adapted to address open research questions in the field of quantum information.

As well as describing in detail how to simulate quantum walks, I will give a brief introduction in general to simulating quantum systems, the sorts of things you look for if investigating them numerically, and the suitability in general of using simulation as a tool for researching physics. After making it look ridiculously easy, I will describe the challenges faced by people investigating quantum systems numerically, and other reasons why we need quantum computers.

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