Departments of Mechanical Engineering and Physics Massachusetts Institute of Technology
The quantum approximate optimization algorithm (QAOA) applies two Hamiltonians to a quantum system in alternation. The original goal of the algorithm was to drive the system close to the ground state of one of the Hamiltonians. This paper shows that the same alternating procedure can be used to perform universal quantum computation: the times for which the Hamiltonians are applied can be programmed to give a computationally universal dynamics. The Hamiltonians required can be as simple as homogeneous sums of single-qubit Pauli X’s and two-local ZZ Hamiltonians on a one-dimensional line of qubits.