Quantum computers are regarded as the future of computing, as they are believed to be capable of solving extremely complex problems that are intractable on conventional digital computers. However, near-term quantum computers are prone to a plethora of noise sources that are difficult to mitigate, possibly limiting their scalability and precluding us from running any useful algorithms. Quantum emulation is an alternative approach that uses classical analog hardware to emulate the properties of superposition and entanglement, thereby mimicking quantum parallelism to attain similar speeds. By contrast, the use of classical digital hardware, such as field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs), is less inefficient at emulating a quantum computer, as it does not take advantage of the fundamentally analog nature of quantum states. Consequently, this approach adds an inherent hardware overhead that also prevents scaling. In this work, an energy-efficient quantum emulator based on analog circuits realized in UMC 180-nm CMOS technology is proposed along with the design methodologies for a scalable computing architecture. A sixfold improvement in power consumption was observed over the FPGA-based approach for a ten-qubit emulation of Grover’s search algorithm (GSA). The proposed emulator is also about 400 times faster than a Ryzen 5600x six-core processor performing a simulation of six-qubit Grover’s search algorithm.
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