Quantum computing in geophysics: Algorithms, computational costs, and future applications

Moradi, Shahpoor (University of Calgary, Department of Geoscience, Calgary, Canada) | Trad, Daniel (University of Calgary, Department of Geoscience, Calgary, Canada) | Innanen, Kristopher A. (University of Calgary, Department of Geoscience, Calgary, Canada)


Accurate modeling of seismic wave propagation in the subsurface of the earth is essential for understanding earthquake dynamics, characterizing seismic hazards on global scales and hydrocarbon reservoir exploration and monitoring on local scales. These are among the most challenging computational problems in geoscience. Despite algorithmic advances and the increasingly powerful computational resources currently available, including fast CPUs, GPUs and large volumes of computer memory, there are still daunting computational challenges in simulating 3D seismic wave propagation in complex earth environments. Recent advances in quantum computing are suggestive that geoscience may soon begin to benefit from this promising field. For example, Finite Difference (FD) modeling is the most widely used method to simulate seismic wave propagation. In the frequency domain, FD methods reduce solutions of the wave equation into systems of linear equations; such systems are just the type that quantum algorithms may be capable of solving with exponential speedup, in comparison with classical algorithms. For the computational geophysicist, to prepare to take advantage of these speed-ups, which could arrive in as few as 5-10 years, the tasks at hand are (1) to become familiar with the logic and concepts associated with quantum computing, and (2) to map our key computational algorithms (e.g., frequency domain FD) to this domain.

Presentation Date: Monday, October 15, 2018

Start Time: 1:50:00 PM

Location: 204B (Anaheim Convention Center)

Presentation Type: Oral