Physics-Informed Bayesian Optimization of Variational Quantum Circuits

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 36 (NeurIPS 2023) Main Conference Track

Bibtex Paper Supplemental


Kim Nicoli, Christopher J. Anders, Lena Funcke, Tobias Hartung, Karl Jansen, Stefan Kühn, Klaus-Robert Müller, Paolo Stornati, Pan Kessel, Shinichi Nakajima


In this paper, we propose a novel and powerful method to harness Bayesian optimization for variational quantum eigensolvers (VQEs) - a hybrid quantum-classical protocol used to approximate the ground state of a quantum Hamiltonian. Specifically, we derive a VQE-kernel which incorporates important prior information about quantum circuits: the kernel feature map of the VQE-kernel exactly matches the known functional form of the VQE's objective function and thereby significantly reduces the posterior uncertainty.Moreover, we propose a novel acquisition function for Bayesian optimization called \emph{Expected Maximum Improvement over Confident Regions} (EMICoRe) which can actively exploit the inductive bias of the VQE-kernel by treating regions with low predictive uncertainty as indirectly "observed". As a result, observations at as few as three points in the search domain are sufficient to determine the complete objective function along an entire one-dimensional subspace of the optimization landscape. Our numerical experiments demonstrate that our approach improves over state-of-the-art baselines.