Quantum computing is believed to be particularly useful for the simulation of chemistry and materials, among the various applications. In recent years, there have been significant advancements in the development of near-term quantum algorithms for quantum simulation, including VQE and many of its variants. However, for such algorithms to be useful, they need to overcome several critical barriers including the inability to prepare high-quality approximations of the ground state. Current challenges to state preparation, including barren plateaus and the high-dimensionality of the optimization landscape, make state preparation through ansatz optimization unreliable. In this work, we introduce the method of ground state boosting, which uses a limited-depth quantum circuit to reliably increase the overlap with the ground state. This circuit, which we call a booster, can be used to augment an ansatz from VQE or be used as a stand-alone state preparation method. The booster converts circuit depth into ground state overlap in a controllable manner. We numerically demonstrate the capabilities of boosters by simulating the performance of a particular type of booster, namely the Gaussian booster, for preparing the ground state of $N_2$ molecular system. Beyond ground state preparation as a direct objective, many quantum algorithms, such as quantum phase estimation, rely on high-quality state preparation as a subroutine. Therefore, we foresee ground state boosting and similar methods as becoming essential algorithmic components as the field transitions into using early fault-tolerant quantum computers.
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