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Pauline J. Ollitrault, Cristian L. Cortes, Jerome F. Gonthier, Robert M. Parrish, Dario Rocca, Gian-Luca Anselmetti, Matthias Degroote, Nikolaj Moll, Raffaele Santagati, Michael Streif (Apr 15 2024).

Abstract: The quantum phase estimation algorithm stands as the primary method for determining the ground state energy of a molecular electronic Hamiltonian on a quantum computer. In this context, the ability to initialize a classically tractable state that has a strong overlap with the desired ground state is critical as it directly affects the runtime of the algorithm. However, several numerical studies have shown that this overlap decays exponentially with system size. In this work, we demonstrate that this decay can be alleviated by optimizing the molecular orbital basis, for an initial state constructed from a single Slater determinant. We propose a practical method to achieve this optimization without knowledge of the true molecular ground state and test this method numerically. By comparing the resulting optimized orbitals to the natural orbitals, we find improved overlap. Specifically, for four iron-sulfur molecules, which are known to suffer from the mentioned decay, we show that our method yields one to two orders of magnitude improvement compared to localized molecular orbitals.

Arxiv: https://arxiv.org/abs/2404.08565