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  1. Monte Carlo simulations are useful tools for modeling quantum systems, but in some cases they suffer from a sign problem, leading to an exponential slow down in their convergence to a value. While solving the sign problem is generically NP hard, many techniques exist for mitigating the sign problem in specific cases; in particular, the technique of deforming the Monte Carlo simulation's plane of integration onto Lefschetz thimbles (complex hypersurfaces of stationary phase) has seen significant success in the context of quantum field theories. We extend this methodology to spin systems by utilizing spin coherent state path integrals to reexpress the spin system's partition function in terms of continuous variables. Using some toy systems, we demonstrate its effectiveness at lessening the sign problem in this setting, despite the fact that the initial mapping to spin coherent states introduces its own sign problem. The standard formulation of the spin coherent path integral is known to make use of uncontrolled approximations; despite this, for large spins they are typically considered to yield accurate results, so it is somewhat surprising that our results show significant systematic errors. Therefore, possibly of independent interest, our use of Lefschetz thimbles to overcome the intrinsic sign problem in spin coherent state path integral Monte Carlo enables a novel numerical demonstration of a breakdown in the spin coherent path integral. 
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  2. Abstract

    The intensification of agricultural systems in sub‐Saharan Africa (SSA) is necessary to reduce poverty and improve food security, but increased nutrient applications in smallholder systems could have negative consequences for water quality, greenhouse gas emissions, and air quality. We tracked nitrogen (N) inputs and measured maize (Zea mays) biomass, grain yields, N leaching, and nitric oxide (NO) and nitrous oxide fluxes from a clayey soil in Yala, Kenya and a sandy soil in Tumbi, Tanzania, with application rates of 0, 50, 75, 100, 150, and 200 kg N ha−1 yr−1over two cropping seasons. Maize yields were 4.5 times higher in Yala than Tumbi, but yields plateaued at both sites with fertilizer applications at or above 100 kg N ha−1 yr−1. Partial N budgets in Yala were typically negative, meaning more N was exported in maize biomass plus grain or lost from the system than was added in fertilizer. In Tumbi, N budgets were negative at lower fertilizer levels but positive at higher fertilizer levels. At both sites most (96%) of the N was lost through maize biomass/grain removal and N leaching. Fertilizer additions at or less than 50 kg N ha−1 yr−1on these two contrasting sites resulted in minor gaseous N losses, and fertilizer additions less than 200 kg N ha−1 yr−1caused relatively little change to N leaching losses. This indicates that the modest increases in fertilizer use required to improve maize yields will not greatly increase cropland N losses.

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  4. Abstract

    An important measure of the development of quantum computing platforms has been the simulation of increasingly complex physical systems. Before fault-tolerant quantum computing, robust error-mitigation strategies were necessary to continue this growth. Here, we validate recently introduced error-mitigation strategies that exploit the expectation that the ideal output of a quantum algorithm would be a pure state. We consider the task of simulating electron systems in the seniority-zero subspace where all electrons are paired with their opposite spin. This affords a computational stepping stone to a fully correlated model. We compare the performance of error mitigations on the basis of doubling quantum resources in time or in space on up to 20 qubits of a superconducting qubit quantum processor. We observe a reduction of error by one to two orders of magnitude below less sophisticated techniques such as postselection. We study how the gain from error mitigation scales with the system size and observe a polynomial suppression of error with increased resources. Extrapolation of our results indicates that substantial hardware improvements will be required for classically intractable variational chemistry simulations.

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  5. Abstract Indistinguishability of particles is a fundamental principle of quantum mechanics 1 . For all elementary and quasiparticles observed to date—including fermions, bosons and Abelian anyons—this principle guarantees that the braiding of identical particles leaves the system unchanged 2,3 . However, in two spatial dimensions, an intriguing possibility exists: braiding of non-Abelian anyons causes rotations in a space of topologically degenerate wavefunctions 4–8 . Hence, it can change the observables of the system without violating the principle of indistinguishability. Despite the well-developed mathematical description of non-Abelian anyons and numerous theoretical proposals 9–22 , the experimental observation of their exchange statistics has remained elusive for decades. Controllable many-body quantum states generated on quantum processors offer another path for exploring these fundamental phenomena. Whereas efforts on conventional solid-state platforms typically involve Hamiltonian dynamics of quasiparticles, superconducting quantum processors allow for directly manipulating the many-body wavefunction by means of unitary gates. Building on predictions that stabilizer codes can host projective non-Abelian Ising anyons 9,10 , we implement a generalized stabilizer code and unitary protocol 23 to create and braid them. This allows us to experimentally verify the fusion rules of the anyons and braid them to realize their statistics. We then study the prospect of using the anyons for quantum computation and use braiding to create an entangled state of anyons encoding three logical qubits. Our work provides new insights about non-Abelian braiding and, through the future inclusion of error correction to achieve topological protection, could open a path towards fault-tolerant quantum computing. 
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  6. Inherent symmetry of a quantum system may protect its otherwise fragile states. Leveraging such protection requires testing its robustness against uncontrolled environmental interactions. Using 47 superconducting qubits, we implement the one-dimensional kicked Ising model, which exhibits nonlocal Majorana edge modes (MEMs) with2parity symmetry. We find that any multiqubit Pauli operator overlapping with the MEMs exhibits a uniform late-time decay rate comparable to single-qubit relaxation rates, irrespective of its size or composition. This characteristic allows us to accurately reconstruct the exponentially localized spatial profiles of the MEMs. Furthermore, the MEMs are found to be resilient against certain symmetry-breaking noise owing to a prethermalization mechanism. Our work elucidates the complex interplay between noise and symmetry-protected edge modes in a solid-state environment.

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