by Sam Mugel

October 2018

Forecasting financial crashes with quantum computing

Roman Orus, Samuel Mugel, Enrique Lizaso


A key problem in financial mathematics is the forecasting of financial crashes: if we perturb asset prices, will financial institutions fail on a massive scale? This was recently shown to be a computationally intractable (NP-Hard) problem. Financial crashes are inherently difficult to predict, even for a regulator which has complete information about the financial system. In this paper we show how this problem can be handled by quantum annealers. More specifically, we map the equilibrium condition of a financial network to the ground-state problem of a spin-1/2 quantum Hamiltonian with 2-body interactions, i.e., a Quadratic Unconstrained Binary Optimization (QUBO) problem. The equilibrium market values of institutions after a sudden shock to the network can then be calculated via adiabatic quantum computation and, more generically, by quantum annealers. Our procedure can be implemented on near-term quantum processors, providing a potentially more efficient way to predict financial crashes.

July 2018

Quantum computing for finance: overview and prospects

Roman Orus, Samuel Mugel, Enrique Lizaso

Rev. in Phys. 4, 100028

We discuss how quantum computation can be applied to financial problems, providing an overview of current approaches and potential prospects. We review quantum optimization algorithms, and expose how quantum annealers can be used to optimize portfolios, find arbitrage opportunities, and perform credit scoring. We also discuss deep-learning in finance, and suggestions to improve these methods through quantum machine learning. Finally, we consider quantum amplitude estimation, and how it can result in a quantum speed-up for Monte Carlo sampling. This has direct applications to many current financial methods, including pricing of derivatives and risk analysis. Perspectives are also discussed.

September 2017

Propagation in media as a probe for topological properties

Samuel Mugel


The central goal of this thesis is to develop methods to experimentally study topological phases. We do so by applying the powerful toolbox of quantum simulation techniques with cold atoms in optical lattices. To this day, a complete classification of topological phases remains elusive. In this context, experimental studies are key, both for studying the interplay between topology and complex effects and for identifying new forms of topological order. It is therefore crucial to find complementary means to measure topological properties in order to reach a fundamental understanding of topological phases. In one dimensional chiral systems, we suggest a new way to construct and identify topologically protected bound states, which are the smoking gun of these materials. In two dimensional Hofstadter strips (i.e: systems which are very short along one dimension), we suggest a new way to measure the topological invariant directly from the atomic dynamics.

May 2017

Measuring Chern numbers in Hofstadter strips

Samuel Mugel, Alexandre Dauphin, Pietro Massignan, Leticia Tarruell, Maciej Lewenstein, Carlos Lobo, Alessio Celi

SciPost Phys. 3, 012

Topologically non-trivial Hamiltonians with periodic boundary conditions are characterized by strictly quantized invariants. Open questions and fundamental challenges concern their existence, and the possibility of measuring them in systems with open boundary conditions and limited spatial extension. Here, we consider transport in Hofstadter strips, that is, two-dimensional lattices pierced by a uniform magnetic flux which extend over few sites in one of the spatial dimensions. As we show, an atomic wavepacket exhibits a transverse displacement under the action of a weak constant force. After one Bloch oscillation, this displacement approaches the quantized Chern number of the periodic system in the limit of vanishing tunneling along the transverse direction. We further demonstrate that this scheme is able to map out the Chern number of ground and excited bands, and we investigate the robustness of the method in presence of both disorder and harmonic trapping. Our results prove that topological invariants can be measured in Hofstadter strips with open boundary conditions and as few as three sites along one direction.

April 2016

Topological bound states of a quantum walk with cold atoms

Samuel Mugel, Alessio Celi, Pietro Massignan, János K. Asbóth, Maciej Lewenstein, Carlos Lobo

Phys. Rev. A 94, 023631

We suggest a method for engineering a quantum walk, with cold atoms as walkers, which presents topologically non-trivial properties. We derive the phase diagram, and show that we are able to produce a boundary between topologically distinct phases using the finite beam width of the applied lasers. A topologically protected bound state can then be observed, which is pinned to the interface and is robust to perturbations. We show that it is possible to identify this bound state by averaging over spin sensitive measures of the atom's position, based on the spin distribution that these states display. Interestingly, there exists a parameter regime in which our system maps on to the Creutz ladder.