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Enabling Complex Simulations with Quantum Algorithms on High-Performance Computing

Updated: Jan 30




In the context of engineering simulations, algorithms serve as the backbone of problem-solving, dictating the efficiency and accuracy of these simulations. As technology advances, the emergence of quantum computing presents an innovative approach to address complex multiphysics solutions. The exponential computation power of quantum can overcome the binary limitations of classical algorithms.   


The fundamental difference between quantum and classical can be explained by this analogy - suppose you are in a maze and want to find the exit path. With the classical approach, every path is tried one by one to find the exit, with algorithms like Branch and Bound, Backtracking, and so on.   


With Quantum algorithms, all paths are tried simultaneously the first time. This is due to the fundamental quantum principle of superposition to compute all possible paths simultaneously. Instead of checking possibilities individually, the Quantum algorithm creates a uniform superposition over all possibilities. It repetitively canceled the states that are not solutions through the quantum property of destructive interference [1].  


About Classical and Quantum Algorithms   


Classical algorithms, the workhorses of traditional computing, operate on classical bits, representing information as either state 0 or 1. These algorithms follow well-defined steps to solve problems and have been instrumental in powering simulations across various fields. However, their prowess is not without limitations. Classical algorithms often struggle with the complexity of simulations, where vast datasets and intricate computations push traditional computers to their limits.  


Considered as the tried-and-true methods for simulations, classical algorithms exhibit strengths in solving relatively straightforward problems but face challenges in addressing the exponentially growing demands of complex simulations. Examples of classical algorithms commonly employed in simulations include sorting algorithms (e.g., quicksort, merge sort) and optimization algorithms (e.g., gradient descent) [2].  


Quantum computing, on the other hand, leverages the principles of quantum mechanics to process information using quantum bits or qubits. Unlike classical bits, qubits can exist in multiple states simultaneously, thanks to the phenomena of superposition and entanglement. This allows quantum algorithms to explore multiple solutions concurrently, as explained in the maze example, presenting a fundamentally different approach to computation. 



Distinction between Quantum and Classical Algorithms  


Here are some basic differences -  


Initialization - in a quantum algorithm, the input (or at least a part of it) starts as a superposition over quantum states (quantum registers) that are used to generate more states, hence helping to simulate more possible values (solutions). This is so that operations performed on such superpositioned states act on all the values that make up this superposition. 


Reversibility - all operations in quantum computation are reversible unlike in classical computing. You would have to use extra dummy states known as ancillas that hold a part of the information of a step being performed so that it may be used for the reversal step. 



Probabilistic outcome - this, by far, is the biggest difference. Classical algorithms (except randomized algorithms) are highly deterministic, and their outcomes are fixed for a fixed input. Quantum algorithms, however, are probabilistic, with a probability distribution over the possible output values. The trick is to have steps that increase the probability of the right answer so that you repeat the algorithm several times to ensure the right output. 


Quantum Algorithms for Complex Simulations   

Quantum algorithms theoretically outperform classical algorithms in solving problems of increasing size. For complex simulations, classical algorithms encounter roadblocks that quantum algorithms are designed to navigate effortlessly. Quantum algorithms work better in scenarios where the magnitude of possibilities overwhelms classical approaches.   

For instance, in airfoil optimization, where the intricacies of fluid dynamics demand vast computational power, quantum algorithms can potentially provide solutions with unprecedented speed. [Download our case study on airfoil optimization]


Other examples of quantum algorithm that can potentially overcome computational bottleneck include Shor’s and Grover’s Algorithm.   

Shor's algorithm, with its capability to factorize large numbers efficiently, holds promise in cryptography and optimization problems. Grover's algorithm, with its quadratic speedup in searching unsorted databases, offers a valuable tool for data-intensive simulations.   


Benefits and Limitations of Quantum Algorithms  

The benefits of quantum algorithms in complex simulations are manifold. The exponential speedup for multiphysics simulations in fields such as material science, drug discovery, and climate modelling will enable breakthrough innovations. With the capability to perform computations that were previously deemed impractical, quantum algorithms can revolutionize industries and scientific research, offering a tenfold increase in computational efficiency.  

However, challenges persist. Error rates in quantum computations, stemming from the delicate nature of qubits, remain a hurdle. Scalability of quantum hardware also poses a challenge as researchers strive to build more robust and stable quantum systems. Despite these limitations, ongoing advancements in quantum computing hardware and error correction techniques hold the key to unlocking the full potential of quantum algorithms. It will take time to solve large scale problems with existing quantum algorithms as quantum hardware requires time to be fully operational and to deliver actual speed ups over classical state of the art technologies. 

BQP’s approach: 

BQP, with its innovative approach has integrated Quantum algorithms to solve complex Multiphysics engineering simulations particularly challenging for classical computing methods. Its patented algorithms can use existing HPCs and achieve quantum advantages in solving very complex simulation problems.   

BQP’s Quantum-inspired, hybrid Quantum-classical, and quantum algorithms helps overcoming limitations from classical algorithms used in engineering simulations that promises faster, accurate and efficient results for businesses. 

Application of quantum approach for simulations  

Determining real-world use cases that can work better on the quantum approach than the classical involves understanding the potential applications and benefits of quantum computing across various industries. Quantum algorithms on High-Performance Computers (HPCs) offer greater efficiency for complex optimization problems.  

Industries such as automotive, aerospace, defense, healthcare, agriculture, and pharmaceuticals can leverage quantum computing for computationally hard simulation applications. At BQP, we refer to this as Simulation of Things. By simulating the behavior, interactions, and data flow of IoT devices, SoT enables organizations to gain insights, evaluate performance, identify potential issues, and make informed decisions without the need for physical, real-world experimentation. Some of these applications include  

  • Efficient Battery design for both aerospace and defense sectors

  • Sustainable material development for better safety and lightweight equipment such as Safety Armaments, Advanced Missile Systems, Advanced Thermal Management, Hydraulic Assemblies

  • Air traffic management, scheduling, lightweighting

  • Drug discovery

  • Weather and Climate modelling  

Optimization problems: These types of problems are central to many business scenarios, can be more effectively tackled using quantum algorithms. This applies to industries like: 

  • Manufacturing 

  • Logistics 

  • Transportation 

  • Supply chain management 

Additionally, Quantum-assisted machine learning techniques can enhance industries dealing with large datasets, such as: 

  • Medical 

  • Retail 

  • Finance 


The incorporation of quantum computing holds immense potential for mitigating the computational burdens associated with complex simulations.  

This is the right time for organizations to initiate exploratory efforts with quantum computing applications for simulation. While quantum technologies are still in their infancy, early experimentation by integrating quantum algorithms in their simulation workflows can position companies at the forefront of innovation, paving the way for and transformative advancements. 




1. Schneider, Mark B., and Indhira A. LaPuma. "A simple experiment for discussion of quantum interference and which-way measurement." American Journal of Physics 70.3 (2002): 266-271.  

2. Janga Reddy, M., and D. Nagesh Kumar. "Evolutionary algorithms, swarm intelligence methods, and their applications in water resources engineering: a state-of-the-art review." h2oj 3.1 (2020): 135-188. 

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