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Quantum simulation, which uses precise control over one quantum system to mimic the behavior of many others, is among the most compelling applications of quantum information science. A large and reliable quantum simulator would enhance our fundamental understanding of nature, equipping scientists with a universal tool for querying the vast expanses of high- and low-energy quantum physics. A quantum simulator could also aid in material discovery, pharmaceutical development and anything else where the complex organization of atoms and molecules ultimately runs into the rules of the quantum world. There’s no doubt that quantum simulation has undiscovered applications still waiting to be found.

At the National Science Foundation Quantum Leap Challenge Institute for Robust Quantum Simulation, researchers are taking a three-pronged approach to creating the scientific and engineering know-how needed to build real, reliable quantum simulators. Their experimental and theoretical work is broadly grouped into three research challenges (RCs):

Each research challenge tackles central issues that will need to be addressed before quantum simulation can reach its full potential.