Preparation of the SU(3) Lattice Yang-Mills Vacuum with Variational Quantum Methods

Studying QCD and other gauge theories on quantum hardware requires the preparation of physically interesting states. The Variational Quantum Eigensolver (VQE) provides a way of performing vacuum state preparation on quantum hardware. In this work, VQE is applied to pure SU(3) lattice Yang-Mills on a single plaquette and one dimensional plaquette chains. Bayesian optimization and gradient descent were investigated for performing the classical optimization. Ansatz states for plaquette chains are constructed in a scalable manner from smaller systems using domain decomposition and a stitching procedure analogous to the Density Matrix Renormalization Group (DMRG). Small examples are performed on IBM’s superconducting Manila processor.