In this last blog post, I will review the experience of my associate Sara and myself within the summer of HPC in a quantum computing analogy. Since we did not know if the summer of HPC would be good or not, we were like Schrödingers cat in a state where it is both at the same time.

In the first two weeks, the foundation of our quantum computing journey was laid out. While the training week in the first week gave us some of the necessary capacities to get started, Myles (our mentor from ICHEC) put us into a superposition entangling the basis we had to start coding and solving problems in a quantum computing way.

In the third week, we had to go through our first Pauli-X gate and get our world flipped upside down, while experiencing the struggles of not being able to program the way we are used to. In quantum computing, it is not possible to just save intermediate results to an array or list and fall back to it later on. All actions performed needed to be unitary and reversible, due to the fact that if we tried to save our intermediate results we would need to measure our quantum states and therefore only getting part of the information stored in our superposition and losing the rest of it.

In week four and five we set our first milestone. We managed to encode our strings into a representative quantum state and making the algorithm flexible regarding the input size and content of the string. You could say that we manage to use a controlled-NOT gate (CNOT) to flip our first auxiliary qubit to 1.

In week six and the first half of week seven, we flipped the second auxiliary qubit by improving and implementing our string comparison algorithm. With those two auxiliary qubits at 1, we were in a position to apply a controlled-controlled-NOT gate (CCNOT) and flip our target qubit by finishing a running and scaling application.

In the end, all that is left is to measure our experience to determine if the probability of having a good experience was higher or not. At this section, I can only speak for myself and I really had a great time. The support for us students coming from our mentors and the PRACE staff was overwhelmingly good. We had multiple meetings a week to ask questions and discuss our progress. At times we got stuck, Myles gave us enough hints to solve problems ourself and made it a great learning experience. Also, I am very thankful to PRACE for organising this program and giving us students the opportunity to work at current problems in high-end facilities and to link up with each other as well.

Training week in Zoomanio with SoHPC 2020.

Thank you, Myles and Sara, for a great time and thank you PRACE and all organisers for giving me this opportunity. Until next time 🙂

Master's degree student in chemistry at the University of Vienna. Interested in HPC, Dynamics and Drug Design.

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