Time-marching based quantum solvers for time-dependent linear differential equations

by   Di Fang, et al.

The time-marching strategy, which propagates the solution from one time step to the next, is a natural strategy for solving time-dependent differential equations on classical computers, as well as for solving the Hamiltonian simulation problem on quantum computers. For more general linear differential equations, a time-marching based quantum solver can suffer from exponentially vanishing success probability with respect to the number of time steps and is thus considered impractical. We solve this problem by repeatedly invoking a technique called the uniform singular value amplification, and the overall success probability can be lower bounded by a quantity that is independent of the number of time steps. The success probability can be further improved using a compression gadget lemma. This provides a path of designing quantum differential equation solvers that is alternative to those based on quantum linear systems algorithms (QLSA). We demonstrate the performance of the time-marching strategy with a high-order integrator based on the truncated Dyson series. The complexity of the algorithm depends linearly on the amplification ratio, which quantifies the deviation from a unitary dynamics. We prove that the linear dependence on the amplification ratio attains the query complexity lower bound and thus cannot be improved in general. This algorithm also surpasses existing QLSA based solvers in three aspects: (1) the coefficient matrix A(t) does not need to be diagonalizable. (2) A(t) can be non-smooth, and is only of bounded variation. (3) It can use fewer queries to the initial state. Finally, we demonstrate the time-marching strategy with a first-order truncated Magnus series, while retaining the aforementioned benefits. Our analysis also raises some open questions concerning the differences between time-marching and QLSA based methods for solving differential equations.


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