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Convolutional neural networks running on quantum computers have generated significant buzz for their potential to analyze quantum data better than classical computers can. While a fundamental solvability problem known as “barren plateaus” has limited the application of these neural networks for large data sets, new research overcomes that Achilles heel with a rigorous proof that guarantees scalability.

“The way you construct a quantum neural network can lead to a barren plateau—or not,” said Marco Cerezo, coauthor of the paper titled “Absence of Barren Plateaus in Quantum Convolutional Neural Networks,” published today by a Los Alamos National Laboratory team in Physical Review X. Cerezo is a physicist specializing in quantum computing, quantum machine learning, and quantum information at Los Alamos. “We proved the absence of barren plateaus for a special type of quantum neural network. Our work provides trainability guarantees for this architecture, meaning that one can generically train its parameters.”

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