Meet NASA scientist Alexandro Perdomo-Ortiz. Alejandro will talk about NASA research in quantum computing and present his joint work with Harvard and D-Wave on protein folding using D-Wave machine.
Title: Implementation of lattice protein folding and other optimization problems on a quantum annealing device
Harnessing quantum-mechanical effects to speed up the solving of classical optimization problems is at the heart of quantum annealing algorithms (QA). Within this domain of hard problems, lattice protein folding models are a cornerstone of computational biophysics. Although these models are a coarse grained representation, they provide useful insight into the energy landscape of natural proteins.
Finding low-energy three-dimensional structures is an intractable problem even in the simplest model, the Hydrophobic-Polar (HP) model. Exhaustive search of all possible global minima is limited to sequences in the tens of amino acids. Description of protein-like properties are more accurately described by generalized models, such as the one proposed by Miyazawa and Jernigan, which explicitly take into account the unique interactions among all 20 amino acids
. In this talk, we present a benchmark implementation of quantum annealing for a biophysical problem (six different experiments up to 81 superconducting quantum bits). Although the cases presented here can be solved in a classical computer, we present the first implementation of lattice protein folding on a quantum device under the Miyazawa-Jernigan model, paving the way towards studying optimization problems in biophysics and statistical mechanics using quantum devices.
To conclude, we will discuss some extensions of this work to hard computational problems related to research in space exploration and other research challenges at the NASA-Google-USRA Quantum Artificial Intelligence Lab.