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  1. Realizing quantum speedup for practically relevant, computationally hard problems is a central challenge in quantum information science. Using Rydberg atom arrays with up to 289 qubits in two spatial dimensions, we experimentally investigate quantum algorithms for solving the Maximum Independent Set problem. We use a hardware-efficient encoding associated with Rydberg blockade, realize closed-loop optimization to test several variational algorithms, and subsequently apply them to systematically explore a class of graphs with programmable connectivity. We find the problem hardness is controlled by the solution degeneracy and number of local minima, and experimentally benchmark the quantum algorithm’s performance against classical simulated annealing. On the hardest graphs, we observe a superlinear quantum speedup in finding exact solutions in the deep circuit regime and analyze its origins.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 5, 2023
  2. Quantum spin liquids, exotic phases of matter with topological order, have been a major focus in physics for the past several decades. Such phases feature long-range quantum entanglement that can potentially be exploited to realize robust quantum computation. We used a 219-atom programmable quantum simulator to probe quantum spin liquid states. In our approach, arrays of atoms were placed on the links of a kagome lattice, and evolution under Rydberg blockade created frustrated quantum states with no local order. The onset of a quantum spin liquid phase of the paradigmatic toric code type was detected by using topological string operators that provide direct signatures of topological order and quantum correlations. Our observations enable the controlled experimental exploration of topological matter and protected quantum information processing.
  3. Quantum entanglement involving coherent superpositions of macroscopically distinct states is among the most striking features of quantum theory, but its realization is challenging because such states are extremely fragile. Using a programmable quantum simulator based on neutral atom arrays with interactions mediated by Rydberg states, we demonstrate the creation of “Schrödinger cat” states of the Greenberger-Horne-Zeilinger (GHZ) type with up to 20 qubits. Our approach is based on engineering the energy spectrum and using optimal control of the many-body system. We further demonstrate entanglement manipulation by using GHZ states to distribute entanglement to distant sites in the array, establishing important ingredients for quantum information processing and quantum metrology.