Quantum linear algebra is all you need for Transformer architectures

Generative machine learning methods such as large-language models are revolutionizing the creation of text and images. While these models are powerful they also harness a large amount of computational resources. The transformer is a key component in large language models that aims to generate a suitable completion of a given partial sequence. In this work, we investigate transformer architectures under the lens of fault-tolerant quantum computing. The input model is one where trained weight matrices are given as block encodings and we construct the query, key, and value matrices for the transformer. We show how to prepare a block encoding of the self-attention matrix, with a new subroutine for the row-wise application of the softmax function. In addition, we combine quantum subroutines to construct important building blocks in the transformer, the residual connection and layer normalization, and the feed-forward neural network. Our subroutines prepare an amplitude encoding of the transformer output, which can be measured to obtain a prediction. Based on common open-source large-language models, we provide insights into the behavior of important parameters determining the run time of the quantum algorithm. We discuss the potential and challenges for obtaining a quantum advantage.

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