A team of researchers led by an Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) faculty member performed the first-ever simulation of baryons – fundamental quantum particles – on a quantum computer. With the results, the team has taken a step toward more complex quantum simulations that will allow scientists to study neutron stars, learn more about the earliest moments of the universe, and realize the revolutionary potential of quantum computers. “Instead of smashing particles in an accelerator, a quantum computer may one day allow us to simulate these interactions that we use to study the origins of the universe and so much more,” said Christine Muschik, an IQC faculty member. Muschik, a physics and astronomy professor at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada, leads the Quantum Interactions Group, which studies the quantum simulation of lattice gauge theories. These theories are descriptions of the physics of reality, including the Standard Model of particle physics. The more inclusive a gauge theory is of fields, forces, particles, spatial dimensions, and other parameters, the more complex it is – and the more difficult it is for a classical supercomputer to model.