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  1. Abstract Quantum many-body systems away from equilibrium host a rich variety of exotic phenomena that are forbidden by equilibrium thermodynamics. A prominent example is that of discrete time crystals 1–8 , in which time-translational symmetry is spontaneously broken in periodically driven systems. Pioneering experiments have observed signatures of time crystalline phases with trapped ions 9,10 , solid-state spin systems 11–15 , ultracold atoms 16,17 and superconducting qubits 18–20 . Here we report the observation of a distinct type of non-equilibrium state of matter, Floquet symmetry-protected topological phases, which are implemented through digital quantum simulation with an array of programmable superconducting qubits. We observe robust long-lived temporal correlations and subharmonic temporal response for the edge spins over up to 40 driving cycles using a circuit of depth exceeding 240 and acting on 26 qubits. We demonstrate that the subharmonic response is independent of the initial state, and experimentally map out a phase boundary between the Floquet symmetry-protected topological and thermal phases. Our results establish a versatile digital simulation approach to exploring exotic non-equilibrium phases of matter with current noisy intermediate-scale quantum processors 21 .
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 21, 2023
  2. Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 1, 2023
  3. Quantum computers and simulators may offer significant advantages over their classical counterparts, providing insights into quantum many-body systems and possibly improving performance for solving exponentially hard problems, such as optimization and satisfiability. Here, we report the implementation of a low-depth Quantum Approximate Optimization Algorithm (QAOA) using an analog quantum simulator. We estimate the ground-state energy of the Transverse Field Ising Model with long-range interactions with tunable range, and we optimize the corresponding combinatorial classical problem by sampling the QAOA output with high-fidelity, single-shot, individual qubit measurements. We execute the algorithm with both an exhaustive search and closed-loop optimization of the variational parameters, approximating the ground-state energy with up to 40 trapped-ion qubits. We benchmark the experiment with bootstrapping heuristic methods scaling polynomially with the system size. We observe, in agreement with numerics, that the QAOA performance does not degrade significantly as we scale up the system size and that the runtime is approximately independent from the number of qubits. We finally give a comprehensive analysis of the errors occurring in our system, a crucial step in the path forward toward the application of the QAOA to more general problem instances.