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This is a pie in the sky idea, and a problem finding sort of question that can probably be dismantled easily, but in light of alternative energy needs with climate change, I think it would be irresponsible not to put it out there, so here goes:

Google and NASA are working on quantum annealing.

Quantum annealing can gain some advantage in classical annealing processes.

Furthermore, as the Climate Change AI paper points out, a key difficulty in realizing nuclear fusion is the location of equilibria of magnetohydrodynamic equations.

Recent work has been done toward showing that equilibria of relevant magnetohydrodynamic equations can be found using annealing.

Of course, the devil is in the details:

Question: What are some precise problems whose solution can contribute to leveraging quantum annealing to effectively locate equilibria for the magnetohydrodynamic equations relevant for nuclear fusion?

I am mostly asking this crazy question because of the need to accelerate progress on fusion to address climate change. Publicizing everything known about this approach in one place can hopefully help facilitate progress. (This does not change that the question reads suspiciously as if it were asked by the guy below:)

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    $\begingroup$ That would be a great application for quantum computing, but will require more quantum bits and better controls than we currently have. $\endgroup$ – S. McGrew Jan 5 at 20:33
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks, S. McGrew! Can you quantify this? Quantum annealing has been realized with far more qubits than we'd need for a general quantum computer. Are you saying even more would be needed? (I believe you about control) $\endgroup$ – Jon Bannon Jan 5 at 20:37
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    $\begingroup$ I'm not an expert on quantum computing. But the sheer number of variables, the complexities of their interactions and the range of different "boundary conditions" will make simply representing the problem in Qbits a huge challenge. $\endgroup$ – S. McGrew Jan 5 at 20:54
  • $\begingroup$ Certainly you are right about this. $\endgroup$ – Jon Bannon Jan 5 at 21:10
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    $\begingroup$ Since the conditions in the machine are dynamic, not static, dynamic annealing algorithms are going to have issues keeping up (and dealing with measurement error on just what the conditions actually are). $\endgroup$ – Jon Custer Jan 6 at 17:48

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