Quantum Computing | Centre for Quantum Computation and …

Anisotropic invariance and the distribution of quantum correlations Physical Review Letters 118, 010401 (2017)

Discrete fluctuations in memory erasure without energy cost Physical Review Letters 118, 060602 (2017)

Experimental test of photonic entanglement in accelerated reference frames Nature Communications 8, 15304 (2017)

Tuning quantum measurements to control chaos Scientific Reports 7, 44684 (2017)

A single-atom quantum memory in silicon Quantum Science and Technology 2, 15009 (2017)

Ultrafine entanglement witnessing Physical Review Letters 118, 110502 (2017)

Atomically engineered electron spin lifetimes of 30 seconds in silicon Science Advances 3, e1602811 (2017)

Environmentally mediated coherent control of a spin qubit in diamond Physical Review Letters 118, 167204 (2017)

Quantum imaging of current flow in graphene Science Advances 3, e1602429 (2017)

Achieving quantum supremacy with sparse and noisy commuting quantum computations Quantum 1, 8 (2017)

Measurement-based linear optics Physical Review Letters 118, 110503 (2017)

Experimental demonstration of nonbilocal quantum correlations Science Advances 3, e1602743 (2017)

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Quantum Computing | Centre for Quantum Computation and …

Silicon Quantum Computing launched to commercialise UNSW … – ZDNet

A new company dubbed Silicon Quantum Computing (SQC) has been launched to take advantage of and commercialise the work done by the University of New South Wales (UNSW) in the quantum space.

SQC will work out of new laboratories within the Centre for Quantum Computation and Communication Technology (CQC2T) at UNSW, and is slated to hire 40 staff members — made up in part by 25 post-doctoral researchers and 12 PhD students.

The board for SQC will consist of professor Michelle Simmons, who has been the driving force behind CQC2T; Telstra chief scientist Hugh Bradlow; Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) CIO David Whiteing; and Secretary of the federal Department of Industry, Innovation and Science Glenys Beauchamp, with corporate lawyer Stephen Menzies to serve as its interim chair.

Announced on Wednesday as a new shareholder, but not taking a board seat, was the NSW government, which funded the company to the tune of AU$8.7 million from its Quantum Computing Fund.

The state government funding follows CBA investing AU$14 million, Telstra injecting AU$10 million, the federal government allocating AU$25 million over four years, and UNSW putting $25 million towards CQC2T.

SQC is targeting having a 10-qubit machine commercialised by 2022.

Menzies told ZDNet that the creation of the company would shorten the time to market by three years, and allow for a patent portfolio to be built. He said the company is seeking three more investors to fund it at similar levels to Telstra and CBA, and is currently on the hunt for a CEO.

“We will fund hardware, but from that we will develop a patent pool which we hope will be without peer in the world,” Menzies said during the launch.

“In the first five years, we are very focused, the business plan is focused on the patents associated with an engineered 10-qubit device. But beyond that, we see that we have a stage on which we develop across Australia and across Australian institutions, a broad quantum industry.”

Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science Arthur Sinodinos said quantum computing was important to the country’s future.

“Whatever sector of innovation, we want to be really good in, we need to be world beaters,” he said on Wednesday.

“We want to be able to create a competitive advantage, command a premium, and you do that by doing something new, something that others find it hard to replicate, or it takes them time to replicate and by the time they have replicated it, you’ve moved on to something else.”

Previously, Simmons said she believes the work completed by CQC2T to develop silicon-based qubits will win out in the race to a 30-qubit system.

“We do believe that silicon is the one that has longevity; it’s a manufacturable material, and it has some of the highest-quality qubits that are out there,” Simmons said in June.

“That’s why it’s very exciting for Australia. We actually believe this can go all the way, and we believe we can build it in Australia.”

Telstra chief scientist Bradlow reiterated on Wednesday that Telstra sees itself offering quantum computing as a service.

“I can assure you they are not going to walk in on day one and know how to use these things,” he said previously.

“We want to be able to offer it as-a-service to them … they will need a lot of hand holding, and they are not going to run the equipment themselves, it’s complicated.”

For its part, CBA is preparing for a quantum future by using a quantum computing simulator from QxBranch.

“The difference between the emulator of a quantum computer and the real hardware is that we run the simulator on classical computers, so we don’t get the benefit of the speed up that you get from quantum, but we can simulate its behaviour and some of the broad characteristics of what the eventual hardware will do,” QxBranch CEO Michael Brett told ZDNet in April.

“What we provide is the ability for people to explore and validate the applications of quantum computing so that as soon as the hardware is ready, they’ll be able to apply those applications and get the benefit immediately of the unique advantages of quantum computing.”

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Silicon Quantum Computing launched to commercialise UNSW … – ZDNet

Hype and cash are muddying public understanding of quantum … – The Conversation AU

An ion-trap used for quantum computing research in the Quantum Control Laboratory at the University of Sydney.

Its no surprise that quantum computing has become a media obsession. A functional and useful quantum computer would represent one of the centurys most profound technical achievements.

For researchers like me, the excitement is welcome, but some claims appearing in popular outlets can be baffling.

A recent infusion of cash and attention from the tech giants has woken the interest of analysts, who are now eager to proclaim a breakthrough moment in the development of this extraordinary technology.

Quantum computing is described as just around the corner, simply awaiting the engineering prowess and entrepreneurial spirit of the tech sector to realise its full potential.

Whats the truth? Are we really just a few years away from having quantum computers that can break all online security systems? Now that the technology giants are engaged, do we sit back and wait for them to deliver? Is it now all just engineering?

Quantum computers are machines that use the rules of quantum physics in other words, the physics of very small things to encode and process information in new ways.

They exploit the unusual physics we find on these tiny scales, physics that defies our daily experience, in order to solve problems that are exceptionally challenging for classical computers. Dont just think of quantum computers as faster versions of todays computers think of them as computers that function in a totally new way. The two are as different as an abacus and a PC.

They can (in principle) solve hard, high-impact questions in fields such as codebreaking, search, chemistry and physics.

Read More: Quantum computers could crack existing codes but create others much harder to break

Chief among these is factoring: finding the two prime numbers, divisible only by one and themselves, which when multiplied together reach a target number. For instance, the prime factors of 15 are 3 and 5.

As simple as it looks, when the number to be factored becomes large, say 1,000 digits long, the problem is effectively impossible for a classical computer. The fact that this problem is so hard for any conventional computer is how we secure most internet communications, such as through public-key encryption.

Some quantum computers are known to perform factoring exponentially faster than any classical supercomputer. But competing with a supercomputer will still require a pretty sizeable quantum computer.

Quantum computing began as a unique discipline in the late 1990s when the US government, aware of the newly discovered potential of these machines for codebreaking, began investing in university research

The field drew together teams from all over the world, including Australia, where we now have two Centres of Excellence in quantum technology (the author is part of of the Centre of Excellence for Engineered Quantum Systems).

But the academic focus is now shifting, in part, to industry.

IBM has long had a basic research program in the field. It was recently joined by Google, who invested in a University of California team, and Microsoft, which has partnered with academics globally, including the University of Sydney.

Seemingly smelling blood in the water, Silicon Valley venture capitalists also recently began investing in new startups working to build quantum computers.

The media has mistakenly seen the entry of commercial players as the genesis of recent technological acceleration, rather than a response to these advances.

So now we find a variety of competing claims about the state of the art in the field, where the field is going, and who will get to the end goal a large-scale quantum computer first.

Conventional computer microprocessors can have more than one billion fundamental logic elements, known as transistors. In quantum systems, the fundamental quantum logic units are known as qubits, and for now, they mostly number in the range of a dozen.

Such devices are exceptionally exciting to researchers and represent huge progress, but they are little more than toys from a practical perspective. They are not near whats required for factoring or any other application theyre too small and suffer too many errors, despite what the frantic headlines may promise.

For instance, its not even easy to answer the question of which system has the best qubits right now.

Consider the two dominant technologies. Teams using trapped ions have qubits that are resistant to errors, but relatively slow. Teams using superconducting qubits (including IBM and Google) have relatively error-prone qubits that are much faster, and may be easier to replicate in the near term.

Which is better? Theres no straightforward answer. A quantum computer with many qubits that suffer from lots of errors is not necessarily more useful than a very small machine with very stable qubits.

Because quantum computers can also take different forms (general purpose versus tailored to one application), we cant even reach agreement on which system currently has the greatest set of capabilities.

Similarly, theres now seemingly endless competition over simplified metrics such as the number of qubits. Five, 16, soon 49! The question of whether a quantum computer is useful is defined by much more than this.

Theres been a media focus lately on achieving quantum supremacy. This is the point where a quantum computer outperforms its best classical counterpart, and reaching this would absolutely mark an important conceptual advance in quantum computing.

But dont confuse quantum supremacy with utility.

Some quantum computer researchers are seeking to devise slightly arcane problems that might allow quantum supremacy to be reached with, say, 50-100 qubits numbers reachable within the next several years.

Achieving quantum supremacy does not mean either that those machines will be useful, or that the path to large-scale machines will become clear.

Moreover, we still need to figure out how to deal with errors. Classical computers rarely suffer hardware faults the blue screen of death generally comes from software bugs, rather than hardware failures. The likelihood of hardware failure is usually less than something like one in a billion-quadrillion, or 10-24 in scientific notation.

The best quantum computer hardware, on the other hand, typically achieves only about one in 10,000, or 10-4. Thats 20 orders of magnitude worse.

Were seeing a slow creep up in the number of qubits in the most advanced systems, and clever scientists are thinking about problems that might be usefully addressed with small quantum computers containing just a few hundred qubits.

But we still face many fundamental questions about how to build, operate or even validate the performance of the large-scale systems we sometimes hear are just around the corner.

Read More: Compute this: the quantum future is crystal clear

As an example, if we built a fully error-corrected quantum computer at the scale of the millions of qubits required for useful factoring, as far as we can tell, it would represent a totally new state of matter. Thats pretty fundamental.

At this stage, theres no clear path to the millions of error-corrected qubits we believe are required to build a useful factoring machine. Current global efforts (in which this author is a participant) are seeking to build just one error-corrected qubit to be delivered about five years from now.

At the end of the day, none of the teams mentioned above are likely to build a useful quantum computer in 2017 or 2018. But that shouldnt cause concern when there are so many exciting questions to answer along the way.


Hype and cash are muddying public understanding of quantum … – The Conversation AU

IEEE Approves Standards Project for Quantum Computing … – insideHPC

William Hurley is chair of IEEE Quantum Computing Working Group

Today IEEE announced the approval of the IEEE P7130Standard for Quantum Computing Definitions project. The new standards project aims to make Quantum Computing more accessible to a larger group of contributors, including developers of software and hardware, materials scientists, mathematicians, physicists, engineers, climate scientists, biologists and geneticists.

While Quantum Computing is poised for significant growth and advancement, the emergent industry is currently fragmented and lacks a common communications framework, said Whurley (William Hurley), chair, IEEE Quantum Computing Working Group. IEEE P7130 marks an important milestone in the development of Quantum Computing by building consensus on a nomenclature that will bring the benefits of standardization, reduce confusion, and foster a more broadly accepted understanding for all stakeholders involved in advancing technology and solutions in the space.

The purpose of this project is to provide a general nomenclature for Quantum Computing that may be used to standardize communication with related hardware, and software projects. This standard addresses quantum computing specific terminology and establishes definitions necessary to facilitate communication.

Confusions exist on what quantum computing or a quantum computer means, added Professor Hidetoshi Nishimori of the Tokyo Institute of Technology and IEEE P7130 working group participant. This partly originates in the existence of a few different models of quantum computing. It is urgently necessary to define each key word.

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IEEE Approves Standards Project for Quantum Computing … – insideHPC

UNSW launches Australia’s first hardware quantum computing company with investments from federal and NSW … – OpenGov Asia

Above image: Silicon Quantum Computing Pty. Ltd. board members with the federal Industry Minister and NSW Chief Scientist. L to R: CBA Head of Emerging Technology Dilan Rajasingham, Telstra Chief Scientist Professor Hugh Bradlow, Secretary of the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science Glenys Beauchamp, Minister for for Industry, Innovation and Science the Hon Arthur Sinodinos AO, UNSW Scientia Professor Michelle Simmons, Silicon Quantum Computing Pty Ltd Chair Stephen Menzies, NSW Chief Scientist and Engineer Professor Mary O’Kane, UNSW President and Vice-Chancellor Professor Ian Jacobs. Image courtesy cqc2t.org(Centre for Quantum Computation and Communication Technology)

The University of New South Wales (UNSW) launched Australias first hardware quantum computing company, Silicon Quantum Computing Pty. Ltd. (SQC) to advance the development and commercialisation of the universitys quantum computing technology.

The Australian Government through its National Innovation and Science Agenda will invest AU$25 million over five years in Silicon Quantum Computing to produce a prototype quantum computer chipthe first step in building a fully-functional quantum computer.

The New South Wales (NSW) Government also announced that it will also invest AU$8.7 million in Silicon Quantum Computing from its recently announced AU$26 million quantum computing fund.

In addition, UNSW is contributing AU$25 million, while the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) and Telstra are providing AU$10 million each over the next five years. These investments build on previous government support for the technology and the CBAs previous AU$4.14 million prior investment in the sector.

SQC will drive the development and commercialisation of a 10-qubit[1] quantum integrated circuit prototype in silicon by 2022 as the forerunner to a silicon-based quantum computer. The company will work alongside theAustralian Research Council (ARC) Centre of Excellence for Quantum Computation and Communication Technology (CQC2T),operating from new laboratories within the Centres UNSW headquarters.

Up to 40 staff are projected to be hired because of the new company, including 25 postdoctoral researchers, 12 PhD students, and lab technicians. Recruitment is currently underway.

Above image:Chemical cleaning station in the new fast processing laboratory at UNSW. Image courtesy INTREC

Federal Minister for Science, Innovation and Industry, Arthur Sinodinos, hailed SQC as a prime example of how governments, researchers and business can work together to translate great Australian research into commercial reality.

He said quantums computational possibilities and capabilities had the potential to create entire new industries and revolutionise sectors across the economy. Australia was at least two or three years ahead of the rest of the world in developing the technology and the Australian government knew it had to back the effort.

Quantum computing will help shape how we deal with health, our living spaces, our businesses, our transport systems, our financial systems and our whole economy and way of life, Minister Sinodinos said.

Speaking at an event to launch the company at UNSW today, chief researcher and board member Professor Michelle Simmons,The world is accelerating in this field and by having a company sitting alongside a Centre of Excellence, with the powerhouse of students and post docs that come through, we can make sure that Australia stays at the very forefront of this race. We really are creating the future here today. With Silicon Quantum Computing Pty Ltd now incorporated, we are fully committed to developing a 10-qubit silicon prototype. We are open for business and open to further investment.

Silicon Quantum Computing Pty Ltd board members are Professor Simmons; Hugh Bradlow, Telstras Chief Scientist; David Whiteing, CBAs Chief Information Officer; and Glenys Beauchamp, Secretary of the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science. The board will be chaired initially by corporate lawyer and company director Stephen Menzies.

Interim Chair of the board of SQC, Stephen Menzies, said that the company would maintain vital IP in Australia and develop a nascent quantum information ecosystem in NSW.

We will fund hardware, but from that we will also develop a patent pool that will be without peer in the world. And that patent pool will allow us to work with other Australian institutions and corporations to lead to further innovation in the quantum age, Mr. Menzies added.

Mr. Menzies hoped that the initial shareholders would be the first of many, saying, The company will need additional monies and the business plan contemplates that additional shareholders will join all of whom we hope will bring strategic focus to the business and who will bring their own enthusiasm and passion to the technologies.

What is quantum computing?[1]

At the subatomic level, the laws of classical physics no longer apply. Particles can exist in more than one state at a time. Quantum computing utilises these quantum-mechanical phenomena, such as superposition and entanglement, to perform operations on data. Entanglement occurs when pairs or groups of particles are generated or interact in ways such that the quantum state of each particle (such as the polarisation of a photon) cannot be described independently of the others, even when the particles are separated by a large distance, while superposition states that any two (or more) quantum states can be added together and the result will be another valid quantum state.

A classical bit can be in one of two states, 0 or 1, whereas a single qubit or quantum bit can represent a 1, a 0 or any quantum superposition of those two qubit states. This implies that qubits can store a lot more information than classical bits, using less energy. Only when we measure to find out what state it’s actually in at any given, the qubit “collapses” into one of its possible states, giving the answer to problem. A quantum computer’s ability to work in parallel would make it millions of times faster than any conventional computer.

Large-scale quantum computers would theoretically be able to solve certain problems much more quickly than any classical computers that use the best currently known algorithms. They could potentially solve in a matter of hours, complex problems that would take a digital supercomputer more than a lifetime to achieve.

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UNSW launches Australia’s first hardware quantum computing company with investments from federal and NSW … – OpenGov Asia

UNSW joins with government and business to keep quantum computing technology in Australia – The Australian Financial Review

UNSW quantum pioneer Michelle Simmons (right) with the chair of the new Silicon Quantum Computing company, Stephen Menzies.

Governments, business and universities have joined forces to keep UNSW’s world leading quantum computing technology in Australia, launching a new $83 million company which aims to produce a working prototype computer within five years.

The company, Silicon Quantum Computing Pty Ltd, will have a key goal of retaining IP in Australia and boosting new industries based around quantum computing and other quantum spin-offs.

Establishing the company has been a long-term goal of UNSW physics professor Michelle Simmons who leads the university’s research and development in the race to build the world’s first practical quantum computer.

Professor Simmons said she approached the federal government to urge public investment in quantum computing because of the many approaches she was getting from large multinationals and overseas venture capital for access to the discoveries her team had made.

“We had lots of different groupings come to us saying they would work with our research teams, but they would have got all the benefits,” she said.

“Everything we did would have gone to them. People were trying to pick us off.

“Personally I just felt complete responsibility for just not dropping the ball, making sure that this great thing that we had was not just siphoned off for free.”

Professor Simmons said it was an “eye-opener” for her that not only the IT industry was beating a path to her door, but companies from “across the board” illustrating her belief that quantum computing will have a revolutionary impact in many industries including finance, resource extraction, health, pharmaceuticals, logistics and data.

Quantum computers are expected to solve some types of problems millions of times faster than conventional computers.

The new company will hold the quantum computing related patents from the Centre of Excellence for Quantum Computation and Communication Technology, led by Professor Simmons, which also includes researchers from the University of Melbourne and other universities.

Its aim will be to ensure that the full range of industries developed from quantum computing including hardware, software, and big quantum server farms are developed in Australia.

Silicon Quantum Computing’s chair, lawyer Stephen Menzies, said the company would not offer exclusive rights on its technology but would only offer licences for specific purposes for a limited time.

“Too much Australian research innovation is lost [overseas],” he said.

Mr Menzies said it was a commercial venture, and its shareholders the federal and NSW governments, Telstra, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia and UNSW would profit from the increasing value of the company’s patents.

The company’s $83 million capital comes from UNSW ($25 million), the federal government ($25 million), the Commonwealth Bank ($14 million), Telstra ($10 million) plus a new investment of $8.7 million from the NSW government the first to be made from its $26 million quantum computing fund announced last month.

It will fund a major expansion of the quantum computing research effort at UNSW. Up to 40 new staff will be hired including 25 researchers and 12 PhD students, and new equipment to speed the development of a 10 qubit prototype computer by 2022.

Continued here:

UNSW joins with government and business to keep quantum computing technology in Australia – The Australian Financial Review

Finns chill out quantum computers with qubit refrigerator to cut out errors – ZDNet

This one centimeter-sized silicon chip can help to cool down quantum bits.

Quantum computing is a revolutionary technology, but the obstacles to creating viable quantum computers remain significant.

Chipping away at the task is a team of Finnish researchers, who have found a way to cool down quantum bits, or qubits, using a quantum-circuit refrigerator.

“To my understanding, no one else has done a standalone component that can refrigerate a quantum system,” Mikko Mttnen, quantum physicist and research team leader at Aalto University, tells ZDNet.

The significance of this development comes down to the fickle nature of qubits. Unlike in traditional computing, where electronic bits are set to a value of zero or one, qubits can simultaneously hold values of zero, one, or both. Consequently, they can carry out more computations in parallel and solve complex big-data problems much faster than today’s systems.

But qubits are very sensitive to external perturbations and need to be well isolated, and that isolation can in turn cause them to heat up and result in calculation errors.

Furthermore, every qubit needs to be reset to its low-temperature ground state at the beginning of a computation. If qubits get too hot, they keep switching between different states.

This is where the cooling mechanism of the Finnish research team comes in. Their system works by tunneling single electrons through a 2nm-thick insulator.

By giving the electrons slightly less energy than that required for tunneling, they instead capture the missing energy from the nearby quantum device, which in turn loses energy and cools down.

This approach means most electrical quantum devices, including computers, could be initialised quickly and made more reliable.

So far, the system has been tested by postdoctoral researcher Kuan Yan Tan with qubit-like superconducting resonators, with the results published in scientific journal Nature Communications.

“In the experiments we did with the resonator, the temperature of the resonator we achieved was too high for quantum computer operations. So we have to show we can cool down to even lower temperatures,” Mttnen explains.

In addition to this goal, the next steps for the team will be to test the system with actual quantum bits and make its on-off switch faster.

Mttnen estimates that viable practical applications could be possible in a few years’ time, but says it is too early to speculate when these applications could turn into commercial products.

Mttnen’s team is only one of the many companies and research organisations working on quantum computing, including tech giants Google, IBM and Microsoft. Despite all these efforts, Mttnen remains cautious when pressed about when the world will finally see the first commercial quantum computer.

“It’s almost impossible at this stage to say when. But what I can say is it’s more likely we will get there at some point than that we don’t,” Mttnen says.

US Energy Department lab bolsters quantum computing resources

Researchers at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory are getting cloud access to a D-Wave 2000Q system, allowing them to explore hybrid computing architectures.

Microsoft deepens University of Sydney quantum research partnership

Microsoft has beefed up its efforts to commercialise quantum computing, giving the university funding for new equipment, staff, and talent, as researchers delve deeper into the underlying technology.

Accenture, 1QBit partner for drug discovery through quantum computing

Accenture and quantum computing startup 1QBit have partnered with pharmaceutical giant Biogen to develop a quantum-enabled molecular comparison application for drug discovery.

IBM aims to commercialize quantum computing, launches API, SDK and sees Q systems in next few years

IBM put some more meat on its roadmap and plans to commercialize quantum computing for enterprises. For now, developers will get APIs and a software developer kit to play with qubits.

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Finns chill out quantum computers with qubit refrigerator to cut out errors – ZDNet

How quantum mechanics can change computing – The Conversation – The Conversation US

Looking inside a quantum computer.

In early July, Google announced that it will expand its commercially available cloud computing services to include quantum computing. A similar service has been available from IBM since May. These arent services most regular people will have a lot of reason to use yet. But making quantum computers more accessible will help government, academic and corporate research groups around the world continue their study of the capabilities of quantum computing.

Understanding how these systems work requires exploring a different area of physics than most people are familiar with. From everyday experience we are familiar with what physicists call classical mechanics, which governs most of the world we can see with our own eyes, such as what happens when a car hits a building, what path a ball takes when its thrown and why its hard to drag a cooler across a sandy beach.

Quantum mechanics, however, describes the subatomic realm the behavior of protons, electrons and photons. The laws of quantum mechanics are very different from those of classical mechanics and can lead to some unexpected and counterintuitive results, such as the idea that an object can have negative mass.

Physicists around the world in government, academic and corporate research groups continue to explore real-world deployments of technologies based on quantum mechanics. And computer scientists, including me, are looking to understand how these technologies can be used to advance computing and cryptography.

In our regular lives, we are used to things existing in a well-defined state: A light bulb is either on or off, for example. But in the quantum world, objects can exist in a what is called a superposition of states: A hypothetical atomic-level light bulb could simultaneously be both on and off. This strange feature has important ramifications for computing.

The smallest unit of information in classical mechanics and, therefore, classical computers is the bit, which can hold a value of either 0 or 1, but never both at the same time. As a result, each bit can hold just one piece of information. Such bits, which can be represented as electrical impulses, changes in magnetic fields, or even a physical on-off switch, form the basis for all calculation, storage and communication in todays computers and information networks.

Qubits quantum bits are the quantum equivalent of classical bits. One fundamental difference is that, due to superposition, qubits can simultaneously hold values of both 0 and 1. Physical realizations of qubits must inherently be at an atomic scale: for example, in the spin of an electron or the polarization of a photon.

Another difference is that classical bits can be operated on independently of each other: Flipping a bit in one location has no effect on bits in other locations. Qubits, however, can be set up using a quantum-mechanical property called entanglement so that they are dependent on each other even when they are far apart. This means that operations performed on one qubit by a quantum computer can affect multiple other qubits simultaneously. This property akin to, but not the same as, parallel processing can make quantum computation much faster than in classical systems.

Large-scale quantum computers that is, quantum computers with hundreds of qubits do not yet exist, and are challenging to build because they require operations and measurements to be done on a atomic scale. IBMs quantum computer, for example, currently has 16 qubits, and Google is promising a 49-qubit quantum computer which would be an astounding advance by the end of the year. (In contrast, laptops currently have multiple gigabytes of RAM, with a gigabyte being eight billion classical bits.)

Notwithstanding the difficulty of building working quantum computers, theorists continue to explore their potential. In 1994, Peter Shor showed that quantum computers could quickly solve the complicated math problems that underlie all commonly used public-key cryptography systems, like the ones that provide secure connections for web browsers. A large-scale quantum computer would completely compromise the security of the internet as we know it. Cryptographers are actively exploring new public-key approaches that would be quantum-resistant, at least as far as they currently know.

Interestingly, the laws of quantum mechanics can also be used to design cryptosystems that are, in some senses, more secure than their classical analogs. For example, quantum key distribution allows two parties to share a secret no eavesdropper can recover using either classical or quantum computers. Those systems and others based on quantum computers may become useful in the future, either widely or in more niche applications. But a key challenge is getting them working in the real world, and over large distances.

Continued here:

How quantum mechanics can change computing – The Conversation – The Conversation US

Australia’s ambitious plan to win the quantum race – ZDNet

Professor Michelle Simmons and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull open the CQC2T.

Quantum computing is expected to revolutionise the world. It’s an ambitious statement, but one professor Michelle Simmons, director at the Centre for Quantum Computation and Communications Technology (CQC2T), and teams of researchers from the University of New South Wales (UNSW) believe to be true.

A quantum computer will have the capacity to perform complex mathematical equations within minutes that would otherwise take a classical computer years or even centuries to complete.

In the quantum world, every time a quantum bit (qubit) is added, the amount of information is doubled.

“If I can get to 300 qubits, there’s a prediction that it’s more than all the atoms in the universe working together as a calculation,” Simmons said, speaking at D61+ Live in Melbourne last week. “If you try and build a million qubit system, at the moment, they’re predicting it would be the size of a football pitch to actually build it.”

There’s a big race internationally to get to a 30-qubit system as fast as possible to show that calculations in a quantum regime will beat a classical computer. Simmons believes Australia can get there first.

There are five leading hardware configurations for a quantum computer, and scientists the world over are trying to determine which is going to be the winner.

“We’ve invested in silicon so we think that’s going to win,” Simmons said. “There’s competition out there and it’s very interesting to see how that competition is evolving.”

One of the key aspects in looking at how good a qubit is, is its longevity — how long and how accurately can it hold quantum information.

According to Simmons, silicon qubits have some of the best numbers in those fields, but UNSW are behind where they wanted to be because it had to develop the technology to build at the atomic scale. The university is currently attempting to build a 10-qubit system.

“We do believe that silicon is the one that has longevity; it’s a manufacturable material and it has some of the highest quality qubits that are out there,” Simmons said.

“That’s why it’s very exciting for Australia. We actually believe this can go all the way, and we believe we can build it in Australia.”

Simmons said there are just six companies dedicated to quantum computing hardware in the world, and said Australia is incredibly well-positioned.

“I came away thinking, ‘thank god I’m in Australia’, because I think what we’ve got going on in Australia is something unique and I think the technology we’ve got is going to take us all the way,” she said of her recent meeting in Europe with the five other organisations.

“If you look at all the US government labs, they’re all chasing us in the silicon field.

“My goal is to get there first — so wish me luck.”

Simmons said today organisations are faced with what is called the travelling salesman problem — a dilemma near impossible in the classical computing world.

“This is a real problem companies face to try and minimise their fuel costs, or optimise their distribution systems,” Simmons explained. “This is one example … where massively paralleled computing, if it comes in, will start to solve that in real-time.”

Simmons said calculations that simply cannot be done in one lifetime start to become accessible in the quantum world.

With the likes of defence giant Lockheed Martin testing its jet software; NASA gathering copious amounts of data from space; and Google investing aggressively in self-driving cars, machine learning, and artificial intelligence, Simmons said it’s predicted 40 percent of all industry in Australia will be impacted by quantum computing, pointing also to the interest and investments the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) has made in quantum computing thus far.

One of the questions Simmons is constantly asked is how long until quantum computing becomes a reality.

She has mapped out the classical industry from the invention of the first transistor back in 1947, explaining it took roughly 10 years before it got integrated. It then took another five to 10 years before a commercial product began to emerge.

“You can actually plot that for the transistor on my laptop now, developed in 1960, took about 10 years before they got the first integrated processor, another five to 10 years before they got products out of it,” Simmons said.

“The key message from this is that it takes 10 years from the design of a particular transistor type before you can get it an integrated circuit and then another five years before you get commercial products coming out.”

The CQC2T roadmap sees its researchers now rushing towards an integrated circuit by 2022. But, at the same time, Simmons needs to ensure there’s a commercially viable product at the end of the process.

“This a long-term project — we’re looking at another 10 to 15 years of investment to be able to get to a product,” she explained.

Simmons and the university’s Centre of Excellence has partnered with the federal government, CBA, and Telstra to form a startup company that is tasked to build a 10 qubit prototype.

The startup sits alongside the university’s Centre of Excellence, which has been funded for another seven years as of 2018, to do the fundamental research, engineering, and algorithm development around how UNSW is going to operate and run the quantum computer.

UNSW researchers are working with almost every school of quantum research across the world it can, while also working directly with end-users to figure out what hardware is required specific to the application the end-users want to run.

Simmons and her teams have been working on all this since 2000, developing their first qubit in 2012.

A team of researchers she led unlocked the key to enabling quantum computer coding in silicon in late 2015, announcing that UNSW had the capability to write and manipulate a quantum version of computer code using two qubits in a silicon microchip.

The breakthrough followed on from an announcement made a month prior when another team of engineers from the university built a quantum logic gate in silicon, which made calculations between two qubits of information possible.

Engineers at UNSW then announced in October they had created a new qubit which remains in a stable superposition for 10 times longer than previously achieved, expanding the time during which calculations could be performed in a future silicon quantum computer.

Following the advancements UNSW achieved in quantum computing, the federal government allocated AU$26 million of its AU$500 million science funding to support its work in quantum computing, made available under Australia’s AU$1.1 billion National Innovation and Science Agenda.

Within 48 hours of the cash injection from the federal government, CBA pledged AU$10 million over five years to support the university’s researchers, and Telstra then matched the bank’s efforts, also pledging AU$10 million over five years, to boost UNSW’s capacity to develop the world’s first silicon-based quantum computer.

It isn’t just UNSW making quantum breakthroughs in Australia; scientists at the University of Sydney have developed a machine learning technique to predict the demise of quantum computing systems in a bid to keep qubits from breaking.

The university was also awarded part of a multimillion dollar research grant from the United States Office of the Director of National Intelligence to advance its research in quantum computing last May.

Physicists at the Australian National University successfully completed an experiment to stop light in September, a critical step in developing future quantum computers; while the University of Technology launched its new Centre for Quantum Software and Information in December, dedicated to the development of the software and information processing infrastructure required to run applications at quantum scale.

Disclosure: Asha McLean travelled to D61+ Live as a guest of Data61.

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Australia’s ambitious plan to win the quantum race – ZDNet

Quantum Computing – Scientific American

Quantum computing has captured imaginations for almost 50 years. The reason is simple: it offers a path to solving problems that could never be answered with classical machines. Examples include simulating chemistry exactly to develop new molecules and materials and solving complex optimization problems, which seek the best solution from among many possible alternatives. Every industry has a need for optimization, which is one reason this technology has so much disruptive potential.

Until recently, access to nascent quantum computers was restricted to specialists in a few labs around the world. But progress over the past several years has enabled the construction of the worlds first prototype systems that can finally test out ideas, algorithms and other techniques that until now were strictly theoretical.

Quantum computers tackle problems by harnessing the power of quantum mechanics. Rather than considering each possible solution one at a time, as a classical machine would, they behave in ways that cannot be explained with classical analogies. They start out in a quantum superposition of all possible solutions, and then they use entanglement and quantum interference to home in on the correct answerprocesses that we do not observe in our everyday lives. The promise they offer, however, comes at the cost of them being difficult to build. A popular design requires superconducting materials (kept 100 times colder than outer space), exquisite control over delicate quantum states and shielding for the processor to keep out even a single stray ray of light.

Existing machines are still too small to fully solve problems more complex than supercomputers can handle today. Nevertheless, tremendous progress has been made. Algorithms have been developed that will run faster on a quantum machine. Techniques now exist that prolong coherence (the lifetime of quantum information) in superconducting quantum bits by a factor of more than 100 compared with 10 years ago. We can now measure the most important kinds of quantum errors. And in 2016 IBM provided the public access to the first quantum computer in the cloudthe IBM Q experiencewith a graphical interface for programming it and now an interface based on the popular programming language Python. Opening this system to the world has fueled innovations that are vital for this technology to progress, and to date more than 20 academic papers have been published using this tool. The field is expanding dramatically. Academic research groups and more than 50 start-ups and large corporations worldwide are focused on making quantum computing a reality.

With these technological advancements and a machine at anyones fingertips, now is the time for getting quantum ready. People can begin to figure out what they would do if machines existed today that could solve new problems. And many quantum computing guides are available online to help them get started.

There are still many obstacles. Coherence times must improve, quantum error rates must decrease, and eventually, we must mitigate or correct the errors that do occur. Researchers will continue to drive innovations in both the hardware and software. Investigators disagree, however, over which criteria should determine when quantum computing has achieved technological maturity. Some have proposed a standard defined by the ability to perform a scientific measurement so obscure that it is not easily explained to a general audience. I and others disagree, arguing that quantum computing will not have emerged as a technology until it can solve problems that have commercial, intellectual and societal importance. The good news is, that day is finally within our sights.

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Quantum Computing – Scientific American

Quantum computers are about to get real | Science News – Science News Magazine

Although the term quantum computer might suggest a miniature, sleek device, the latest incarnations are a far cry from anything available in the Apple Store. In a laboratory just 60 kilometers north of New York City, scientists are running a fledgling quantum computer through its paces and the whole package looks like something that might be found in a dark corner of a basement. The cooling system that envelops the computer is about the size and shape of a household water heater.

Beneath that clunky exterior sits the heart of the computer, the quantum processor, a tiny, precisely engineered chip about a centimeter on each side. Chilled to temperatures just above absolute zero, the computer made by IBM and housed at the companys Thomas J. Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights, N.Y. comprises 16 quantum bits, or qubits, enough for only simple calculations.

If this computer can be scaled up, though, it could transcend current limits of computation. Computers based on the physics of the supersmall can solve puzzles no other computer can at least in theory because quantum entities behave unlike anything in a larger realm.

Quantum computers arent putting standard computers to shame just yet. The most advanced computers are working with fewer than two dozen qubits. But teams from industry and academia are working on expanding their own versions of quantum computers to 50 or 100 qubits, enough to perform certain calculations that the most powerful supercomputers cant pull off.

The race is on to reach that milestone, known as quantum supremacy. Scientists should meet this goal within a couple of years, says quantum physicist David Schuster of the University of Chicago. Theres no reason that I see that it wont work.

Cooling systems (Googles shown) maintain frigid temperatures for the superconducting quantum processor, which sits at the bottom of the contraption. The system is enclosed in a water heatersized container.

But supremacy is only an initial step, a symbolic marker akin to sticking a flagpole into the ground of an unexplored landscape. The first tasks where quantum computers prevail will be contrived problems set up to be difficult for a standard computer but easy for a quantum one. Eventually, the hope is, the computers will become prized tools of scientists and businesses.

Some of the first useful problems quantum computers will probably tackle will be to simulate small molecules or chemical reactions. From there, the computers could go on to speed the search for new drugs or kick-start the development of energy-saving catalysts to accelerate chemical reactions. To find the best material for a particular job, quantum computers could search through millions of possibilities to pinpoint the ideal choice, for example, ultrastrong polymers for use in airplane wings. Advertisers could use a quantum algorithm to improve their product recommendations dishing out an ad for that new cell phone just when youre on the verge of purchasing one.

Quantum computers could provide a boost to machine learning, too, allowing for nearly flawless handwriting recognition or helping self-driving cars assess the flood of data pouring in from their sensors to swerve away from a child running into the street. And scientists might use quantum computers to explore exotic realms of physics, simulating what might happen deep inside a black hole, for example.

But quantum computers wont reach their real potential which will require harnessing the power of millions of qubits for more than a decade. Exactly what possibilities exist for the long-term future of quantum computers is still up in the air.

The outlook is similar to the patchy vision that surrounded the development of standard computers which quantum scientists refer to as classical computers in the middle of the 20th century. When they began to tinker with electronic computers, scientists couldnt fathom all of the eventual applications; they just knew the machines possessed great power. From that initial promise, classical computers have become indispensable in science and business, dominating daily life, with handheld smartphones becoming constant companions (SN: 4/1/17, p. 18).

Were very excited about the potential to really revolutionize what we can compute.

Krysta Svore

Since the 1980s, when the idea of a quantum computer first attracted interest, progress has come in fits and starts. Without the ability to create real quantum computers, the work remained theoretical, and it wasnt clear when or if quantum computations would be achievable. Now, with the small quantum computers at hand, and new developments coming swiftly, scientists and corporations are preparing for a new technology that finally seems within reach.

Companies are really paying attention, Microsofts Krysta Svore said March 13 in New Orleans during a packed session at a meeting of the American Physical Society. Enthusiastic physicists filled the room and huddled at the doorways, straining to hear as she spoke. Svore and her team are exploring what these nascent quantum computers might eventually be capable of. Were very excited about the potential to really revolutionize what we can compute.

Quantum computings promise is rooted in quantum mechanics, the counterintuitive physics that governs tiny entities such as atoms, electrons and molecules. The basic element of a quantum computer is the qubit (pronounced CUE-bit). Unlike a standard computer bit, which can take on a value of 0 or 1, a qubit can be 0, 1 or a combination of the two a sort of purgatory between 0 and 1 known as a quantum superposition. When a qubit is measured, theres some chance of getting 0 and some chance of getting 1. But before its measured, its both 0 and 1.

Because qubits can represent 0 and 1 simultaneously, they can encode a wealth of information. In computations, both possibilities 0 and 1 are operated on at the same time, allowing for a sort of parallel computation that speeds up solutions.

Another qubit quirk: Their properties can be intertwined through the quantum phenomenon of entanglement (SN: 4/29/17, p. 8). A measurement of one qubit in an entangled pair instantly reveals the value of its partner, even if they are far apart what Albert Einstein called spooky action at a distance.

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In quantum computing, programmers execute a series of operations, called gates, to flip qubits (represented by black horizontal lines), entangle them to link their properties, or put them in a superposition, representing 0 and 1 simultaneously. First, some gate definitions:

X gate: Flips a qubit from a 0 to a 1, or vice versa.

Hadamard gate: Puts a qubit into a superposition of states.

Controlled not gate: Flips a second qubit only if the first qubit is 1.

Scientists can combine gates like the ones above into complex sequences to perform calculations that are not possible with classical computers. One such quantum algorithm, called Grovers search, speeds up searches, such as scanning fingerprint databases for a match. To understand how this works, consider a simple game show.

In this game show, four doors hide one car and three goats. A contestant must open a door at random in hopes of finding the car. Grovers search looks at all possibilities at once and amplifies the desired one, so the contestant is more likely to find the car. The two qubits represent four doors, labeled in binary as 00, 01, 10 and 11. In this example, the car is hidden behind door 11.

Step 1:Puts both qubits in a superposition. All four doors have equal probability. Step 2:Hides the car behind door 11. In a real-world example, this information would be stored in a quantum database. Step 3:Amplifies the probability of getting the correct answer, 11, when the qubits are measured. Step 4: Measures both qubits; the result is 11.

Source: IBM Research; Graphics: T. Tibbitts

Such weird quantum properties can make for superefficient calculations. But the approach wont speed up solutions for every problem thrown at it. Quantum calculators are particularly suited to certain types of puzzles, the kind for which correct answers can be selected by a process called quantum interference. Through quantum interference, the correct answer is amplified while others are canceled out, like sets of ripples meeting one another in a lake, causing some peaks to become larger and others to disappear.

One of the most famous potential uses for quantum computers is breaking up large integers into their prime factors. For classical computers, this task is so difficult that credit card data and other sensitive information are secured via encryption based on factoring numbers. Eventually, a large enough quantum computer could break this type of encryption, factoring numbers that would take millions of years for a classical computer to crack.

Quantum computers also promise to speed up searches, using qubits to more efficiently pick out an information needle in a data haystack.

Qubits can be made using a variety of materials, including ions, silicon or superconductors, which conduct electricity without resistance. Unfortunately, none of these technologies allow for a computer that will fit easily on a desktop. Though the computer chips themselves are tiny, they depend on large cooling systems, vacuum chambers or other bulky equipment to maintain the delicate quantum properties of the qubits. Quantum computers will probably be confined to specialized laboratories for the foreseeable future, to be accessed remotely via the internet.

That vision of Web-connected quantum computers has already begun to Quantum computing is exciting. Its coming, and we want a lot more people to be well-versed in itmaterialize. In 2016, IBM unveiled the Quantum Experience, a quantum computer that anyone around the world can access online for free.

Quantum computing is exciting. Its coming, and we want a lot more people to be well-versed in it.

Jerry Chow

With only five qubits, the Quantum Experience is limited in what you can do, says Jerry Chow, who manages IBMs experimental quantum computing group. (IBMs 16-qubit computer is in beta testing, so Quantum Experience users are just beginning to get their hands on it.) Despite its limitations, the Quantum Experience has allowed scientists, computer programmers and the public to become familiar with programming quantum computers which follow different rules than standard computers and therefore require new ways of thinking about problems. Quantum computing is exciting. Its coming, and we want a lot more people to be well-versed in it, Chow says. Thatll make the development and the advancement even faster.

But to fully jump-start quantum computing, scientists will need to prove that their machines can outperform the best standard computers. This step is important to convince the community that youre building an actual quantum computer, says quantum physicist Simon Devitt of Macquarie University in Sydney. A demonstration of such quantum supremacy could come by the end of the year or in 2018, Devitt predicts.

Researchers from Google set out a strategy to demonstrate quantum supremacy, posted online at arXiv.org in 2016. They proposed an algorithm that, if run on a large enough quantum computer, would produce results that couldnt be replicated by the worlds most powerful supercomputers.

The method involves performing random operations on the qubits, and measuring the distribution of answers that are spit out. Getting the same distribution on a classical supercomputer would require simulating the complex inner workings of a quantum computer. Simulating a quantum computer with more than about 45 qubits becomes unmanageable. Supercomputers havent been able to reach these quantum wilds.

To enter this hinterland, Google, which has a nine-qubit computer, has aggressive plans to scale up to 49 qubits. Were pretty optimistic, says Googles John Martinis, also a physicist at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Martinis and colleagues plan to proceed in stages, working out the kinks along the way. You build something, and then if its not working exquisitely well, then you dont do the next one you fix whats going on, he says. The researchers are currently developing quantum computers of 15 and 22 qubits.

IBM, like Google, also plans to go big. In March, the company announced it would build a 50-qubit computer in the next few years and make it available to businesses eager to be among the first adopters of the burgeoning technology. Just two months later, in May, IBM announced that its scientists had created the 16-qubit quantum computer, as well as a 17-qubit prototype that will be a technological jumping-off point for the companys future line of commercial computers.

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But a quantum computer is much more than the sum of its qubits. One of the real key aspects about scaling up is not simply qubit number, but really improving the device performance, Chow says. So IBM researchers are focusing on a standard they call quantum volume, which takes into account several factors. These include the number of qubits, how each qubit is connected to its neighbors, how quickly errors slip into calculations and how many operations can be performed at once. These are all factors that really give your quantum processor its power, Chow says.

Errors are a major obstacle to boosting quantum volume. With their delicate quantum properties, qubits can accumulate glitches with each operation. Qubits must resist these errors or calculations quickly become unreliable. Eventually, quantum computers with many qubits will be able to fix errors that crop up, through a procedure known as error correction. Still, to boost the complexity of calculations quantum computers can take on, qubit reliability will need to keep improving.

Different technologies for forming qubits have various strengths and weaknesses, which affect quantum volume. IBM and Google build their qubits out of superconducting materials, as do many academic scientists. In superconductors cooled to extremely low temperatures, electrons flow unimpeded. To fashion superconducting qubits, scientists form circuits in which current flows inside a loop of wire made of aluminum or another superconducting material.

Several teams of academic researchers create qubits from single ions, trapped in place and probed with lasers. Intel and others are working with qubits fabricated from tiny bits of silicon known as quantum dots (SN: 7/11/15, p. 22). Microsoft is studying what are known as topological qubits, which would be extra-resistant to errors creeping into calculations. Qubits can even be forged from diamond, using defects in the crystal that isolate a single electron. Photonic quantum computers, meanwhile, make calculations using particles of light. A Chinese-led team demonstrated in a paper published May 1 in Nature Photonics that a light-based quantum computer could outperform the earliest electronic computers on a particular problem.

One company, D-Wave, claims to have a quantum computer that can perform serious calculations, albeit using a more limited strategy than other quantum computers (SN: 7/26/14, p. 6). But many scientists are skeptical about the approach. The general consensus at the moment is that something quantum is happening, but its still very unclear what it is, says Devitt.

While superconducting qubits have received the most attention from giants like IBM and Google, underdogs taking different approaches could eventually pass these companies by. One potential upstart is Chris Monroe, who crafts ion-based quantum computers.

On a walkway near his office on the University of Maryland campus in College Park, a banner featuring a larger-than-life portrait of Monroe adorns a fence. The message: Monroes quantum computers are a fearless idea. The banner is part of an advertising campaign featuring several of the universitys researchers, but Monroe seems an apt choice, because his research bucks the trend of working with superconducting qubits.

Monroe and his small army of researchers arrange ions in neat lines, manipulating them with lasers. In a paper published in Nature in 2016, Monroe and colleagues debuted a five-qubit quantum computer, made of ytterbium ions, allowing scientists to carry out various quantum computations. A 32-ion computer is in the works, he says.

Monroes labs he has half a dozen of them on campus dont resemble anything normally associated with computers. Tables hold an indecipherable mess of lenses and mirrors, surrounding a vacuum chamber that houses the ions. As with IBMs computer, although the full package is bulky, the quantum part is minuscule: The chain of ions spans just hundredths of a millimeter.

Scientists in laser goggles tend to the whole setup. The foreign nature of the equipment explains why ion technology for quantum computing hasnt taken off yet, Monroe says. So he and colleagues took matters into their own hands, creating a start-up called IonQ, which plans to refine ion computers to make them easier to work with.

Monroe points out a few advantages of his technology. In particular, ions of the same type are identical. In other systems, tiny differences between qubits can muck up a quantum computers operations. As quantum computers scale up, Monroe says, there will be a big price to pay for those small differences. Having qubits that are identical, over millions of them, is going to be really important.

In a paper published in March in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Monroe and colleagues compared their quantum computer with IBMs Quantum Experience. The ion computer performed operations more slowly than IBMs superconducting one, but it benefited from being more interconnected each ion can be entangled with any other ion, whereas IBMs qubits can be entangled only with adjacent qubits. That interconnectedness means that calculations can be performed in fewer steps, helping to make up for the slower operation speed, and minimizing the opportunity for errors.

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Two different quantum computers one using ion qubits, the other superconducting qubits went head-to-head in a recent comparison. Both five-qubit computers performed similarly, but each had its own advantages: The superconducting computer was faster; the ion computer was more interconnected, needing fewer steps to perform calculations.

Source: N.M. Linkeet al/PNAS2017

Computers like Monroes are still far from unlocking the full power of quantum computing. To perform increasingly complex tasks, scientists will have to correct the errors that slip into calculations, fixing problems on the fly by spreading information out among many qubits. Unfortunately, such error correction multiplies the number of qubits required by a factor of 10, 100 or even thousands, depending on the quality of the qubits. Fully error-corrected quantum computers will require millions of qubits. Thats still a long way off.

So scientists are sketching out some simple problems that quantum computers could dig into without error correction. One of the most important early applications will be to study the chemistry of small molecules or simple reactions, by using quantum computers to simulate the quantum mechanics of chemical systems. In 2016, scientists from Google, Harvard University and other institutions performed such a quantum simulation of a hydrogen molecule. Hydrogen has already been simulated with classical computers with similar results, but more complex molecules could follow as quantum computers scale up.

Once error-corrected quantum computers appear, many quantum physicists have their eye on one chemistry problem in particular: making fertilizer. Though it seems an unlikely mission for quantum physicists, the task illustrates the game-changing potential of quantum computers.

The Haber-Bosch process, which is used to create nitrogen-rich fertilizers, is hugely energy intensive, demanding high temperatures and pressures. The process, essential for modern farming, consumes around 1 percent of the worlds energy supply. There may be a better way. Nitrogen-fixing bacteria easily extract nitrogen from the air, thanks to the enzyme nitrogenase. Quantum computers could help simulate this enzyme and reveal its properties, perhaps allowing scientists to design a catalyst to improve the nitrogen fixation reaction, make it more efficient, and save on the worlds energy, says Microsofts Svore. Thats the kind of thing we want to do on a quantum computer. And for that problem it looks like well need error correction.

Pinpointing applications that dont require error correction is difficult, and the possibilities are not fully mapped out. Its not because they dont exist; I think its because physicists are not the right people to be finding them, says Devitt, of Macquarie. Once the hardware is available, the thinking goes, computer scientists will come up with new ideas.

Thats why companies like IBM are pushing their quantum computers to users via the Web. A lot of these companies are realizing that they need people to start playing around with these things, Devitt says.

Quantum scientists are trekking into a new, uncharted realm of computation, bringing computer programmers along for the ride. The capabilities of these fledgling systems could reshape the way society uses computers.

Eventually, quantum computers may become part of the fabric of our technological society. Quantum computers could become integrated into a quantum internet, for example, which would be more secure than what exists today (SN: 10/15/16, p. 13).

Quantum computers and quantum communication effectively allow you to do things in a much more private way, says physicist Seth Lloyd of MIT, who envisions Web searches that not even the search engine can spy on.

There are probably plenty more uses for quantum computers that nobody has thought up yet.

Were not sure exactly what these are going to be used for. That makes it a little weird, Monroe says. But, he maintains, the computers will find their niches. Build it and they will come.

This story appears in the July 8, 2017, issue ofScience Newswith the headline, “Quantum Computers Get Real: As the first qubit-based machines come online, scientists are just beginning to imagine the possibilities.”

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Quantum computers are about to get real | Science News – Science News Magazine

New method could enable more stable and scalable quantum … – Phys.Org

June 29, 2017 by Ali Sundermier A false color image of one of the researchers’ samples. Credit: University of Pennsylvania

Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania, in collaboration with Johns Hopkins University and Goucher College, have discovered a new topological material which may enable fault-tolerant quantum computing. It is a form of computing that taps into the power of atoms and subatomic phenomena to perform calculations significantly faster than current computers and could potentially lead to advances in drug development and other complex systems.

The research, published in ACS Nano, was led by Jerome Mlack, a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Physics & Astronomy in Penn’s School of Arts & Sciences, and his mentors Nina Markovic, now an associate professor at Goucher, and Marija Drndic, Fay R. and Eugene L. Langberg Professor of Physics at Penn. Penn grad students Gopinath Danda and Sarah Friedensen, who received an NSF fellowship for this work, and Johns Hopkins Associate Research Professor Natalia Drichko and postdoc Atikur Rahman, now an assistant professor at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Pune, also contributed to the study.

The research began while Mlack was a Ph.D. candidate at Johns Hopkins. He and other researchers were working on growing and making devices out of topological insulators, a type of material that doesn’t conduct current through the bulk of the material but can carry current along its surface.

As the researchers were working with these materials, one of their devices blew up, similar to what would happen with a short circuit.

“It kind of melted a little bit,” Mlack said, “and what we found is that, if we measured the resistance of this melted region of one of these devices, it became superconducting. Then, when we went back and looked at what happened to the material and tried to find out what elements were in there, we only saw bismuth selenide and palladium.”

When superconducting materials are cooled, they can carry a current with zero electrical resistance without losing any energy.

Topological insulators with superconducting properties have been predicted to have great potential for creating a fault-tolerant quantum computer. However, it is difficult to make good electrical contact between the topological insulator and superconductor and to scale such devices for manufacture, using current techniques. If this new material could be recreated, it could potentially overcome both of these difficulties.

In standard computing, the smallest unit of data that makes up the computer and stores information, the binary digit, or bit, can have a value of either 0, for off, or 1, for on. Quantum computing takes advantage of a phenomenon called superposition, which means that the bits, in this case called qubits, can be 0 and 1 at the same time.

A famous way of illustrating this phenomenon is a thought experiment called Schrodinger’s cat. In this thought experiment, there is a cat in a box, but one doesn’t know if the cat is dead or alive until the box is opened. Before the box is opened, the cat can be considered both alive and dead, existing in two states at once, but, immediately upon opening the box, the cat’s state, or in the case of qubits, the system’s configuration, collapses into one: the cat is either alive or dead and the qubit is either 0 or 1.

“The idea is to encode information using these quantum states,” Markovic said, “but in order to use it in needs to be encoded and exist long enough for you to read.”

One of the major problems in the field of quantum computing is that the qubits are not very stable and it’s very easy to destroy the quantum states. These topological materials provide a way of making these states live long enough for to read them off and do something with them, Markovic said.

“It’s kind of like if the box in Schrodinger’s cat were on the top of a flag pole and the slightest wind could just knock it off,” Mlack said. “The idea is that these topological materials at least widen the diameter of the flag pole so the box is sitting on more a column than a flag pole. You can knock it off eventually, but it’s otherwise very hard to break the box and find out what happened to the cat.”

Although their initial discovery of this material was an accident, they were able to come up with a process to recreate it in a controlled way.

Markovic, who was Mlack’s advisor at Johns Hopkins at the time, suggested that, in order to recreate it without having to continually blow up devices, they could thermally anneal it, a process in which they put it into a furnace and heat it to a certain temperature.

Using this method, the researchers wrote, “the metal directly enters the nanostructure, providing good electrical contact and can be easily patterned into the nanostructure using standard lithography, allowing for easy scalability of custom superconducting circuits in a topological insulator.”

Although researchers already have the capability of making a superconducting topological material, there’s a huge problem in the fact that, when they put two materials together, there’s a crack in between, which decreases the electrical contact. This ruins the measurements that they can make as well as the physical phenomena that could lead to making devices that will allow for quantum computing.

By patterning it directly into the crystal, the superconductor is embedded, and there are none of these contact problems. The resistance is very low, and they can pattern devices for quantum computing in one single crystal.

To test the material’s superconducting properties, they put it in two extremely cold refrigerators, one of which cools down to nearly absolute zero. They also swept a magnetic field across it, which would kill the superconductivity and the topological nature of the material, to find out the limitations of the material. They also did standard electrical measurements, running a current through and looking at the voltage that is created.

“I think what is also nice in this paper is the combination of the electrical transport performance and the direct insights from the actual device materials characterization,” Drndic said. “We have good insights on the composition of these devices to support all these claims because we did elemental analysis to understand how these two materials join.”

One of the benefits of the researchers’ device is that it’s potentially scalable, capable of fitting onto a chip similar to the ones currently in our computers.

“Right now the main advances in quantum computing involve very complicated lithography methods,” Drndic said. “People are doing it with nanowires which are connected to these circuits. If you have single nanowires that are very, very tiny and then you have to put them in particular places, it’s very difficult. Most of the people who are on the forefront of this research have multimillion-dollar facilities and lots of people behind them. But this, in principle, we can do in one lab. It allows for making these devices in a simple way. You can just go and write your device any way you want it to be.”

According to Mlack, though there is still a fair amount of limitation on it; there’s an entire field that has sprouted up devoted to coming up with new and interesting ways to try to leverage these quantum states and quantum information. If successful, quantum computing will allow for a number of things.

“It will allow for much faster decryption and encryption of information,” he said, “which is why some of the big defense contractors in the NSA, as well as companies like Microsoft, are interested in it. It will also allow us to model quantum systems in a reasonable amount of time and is capable of doing certain calculations and simulations faster than one would typically be able to do.”

It’s particularly good for completely different kinds of problems, such as problems that require massive parallel computations, Markovic said. If you need to do lots of things at once, quantum computing speeds things up tremendously.

“There are problems right now that would take the age of the universe to compute,” she said.

“With quantum computing, you’d be able to do it in minutes.” This could potentially also lead to advances in drug development and other complex systems, as well as enable new technologies.

The researchers hope to start building some more advanced devices that are geared towards actually building a qubit out of the systems that they have, as well as trying out different metals to see if they can change the properties of the material.

“It really is a new potential way of fabricating these devices that no one has done before,” Mlack said. “In general, when people make some of these materials by combining this topological material and superconductivity, it is a bulk crystal, so you don’t really control where everything is. Here we can actually customize the pattern that we’re making into the material itself. That’s the most exciting part, especially when we start talking about adding in different types of metals that give it different characteristics, whether those be ferromagnetic materials or elements that might make it more insulating. We still have to see if it works, but there’s a potential for creating these interesting customized circuits directly into the material.”

Explore further: Group works toward devising topological superconductor

More information: Jerome T. Mlack et al, Patterning Superconductivity in a Topological Insulator, ACS Nano (2017). DOI: 10.1021/acsnano.7b01549

The experimental realization of ultrathin graphene – which earned two scientists from Cambridge the Nobel Prize in physics in 2010 – has ushered in a new age in materials research.

The ‘quantized magneto-electric effect’ has been demonstrated for the first time in topological insulators at TU Wien, which is set to open up new and highly accurate methods of measurement.

University of Pennsylvania researchers are now among the first to produce a single, three-atom-thick layer of a unique two-dimensional material called tungsten ditelluride. Their findings have been published in 2-D Materials.

The global race towards a functioning quantum computer is on. With future quantum computers, we will be able to solve previously impossible problems and develop, for example, complex medicines, fertilizers, or artificial …

Researchers have shown how to create a rechargeable “spin battery” made out of materials called topological insulators, a step toward building new spintronic devices and quantum computers.

In an article published today in the journal Nature, physicists report the first ever observation of heat conductance in a material containing anyons, quantum quasiparticles that exist in two-dimensional systems.

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New method could enable more stable and scalable quantum … – Phys.Org

Qudits: The Real Future of Quantum Computing? – IEEE Spectrum – IEEE Spectrum

Photo: INRS University Scientists have built a microchip that can generate two entangled qudits each with 10 states, for 100 dimensions total, more than what six entangled qubits could generate.

Instead of creating quantum computers based on qubits that can each adopt only two possible options, scientists have now developed a microchip that can generate qudits that can each assume 10 or more states, potentially opening up a new way to creating incredibly powerful quantum computers, a new study finds.

Classical computers switch transistors either on or off to symbolize data as ones and zeroes. In contrast, quantum computers use quantum bits, or qubitsthat, because of the bizarre nature of quantum physics, can be in a state ofsuperpositionwhere they simultaneously act as both 1 and 0.

The superpositions that qubits can adopt let them each help perform two calculations at once. If two qubitsare quantum-mechanically linked, orentangled,they can help perform four calculations simultaneously; three qubits, eight calculations; and so on. As a result, aquantum computer with 300 qubits could perform more calculations in an instant than there are atoms in the known universe, solving certain problems much faster than classical computers. However, superpositions are extraordinarily fragile, making it difficult to work with multiple qubits.

Most attempts at building practical quantum computers rely on particles that serve as qubits. However, scientists have long known that they could in principle use quditswith more than two states simultaneously. In principle, a quantum computer with two 32-state qudits, for example, would be able to perform as many operations as 10 qubits while skipping the challenges inherent with working with 10 qubits together.

Researchers used the setup pictured above to create, manipulate, and detect qudits. The experiment starts when a laser fires pulses of light into a micro-ring resonator, which in turn emits entangled pairs of photons.Because the ring has multiple resonances, the photons have optical spectrumswitha set of evenly spaced frequencies(red and blue peaks), a process known as spontaneous four-wave mixing (SFWM).The researchers were able to use each of thefrequencies to encode information, which means the photons act asqudits.Each quditis in a superposition of 10 possible states, extending the usual binary alphabet (0 and 1) of quantum bits.The researchers also showed they could perform basic gate operations on the qudits using optical filters and modulators, and then detect the results using single-photon counters.

Now scientists have for the first time created a microchip that can generate two entangled qudits each with 10 states, for 100 dimensions total, more than what six entangled qubits could generate. We have now achieved the compact and easy generation of high-dimensional quantum states, says study co-lead author Michael Kues, a quantum optics researcher at Canadas National Institute of Scientific Research, or INRS,its French acronym,in Varennes, Quebec.

The researchers developed a photonic chip fabricated using techniques similar to ones used for integrated circuits. A laser fires pulses of light into a micro-ring resonator, a 270-micrometer-diameter circle etched onto silica glass, which in turn emits entangled pairs of photons. Each photon is in a superposition of 10 possible wavelengths or colors.

For example, a high-dimensional photon can be red and yellow and green and blue, although the photons used here were in the infrared wavelength range, Kues says. Specifically, one photon from each pair spanned wavelengths from 1534 to 1550 nanometers, while the other spanned from 1550 to 1566 nanometers.

Using commercial off-the-shelf telecommunications components, the researchers showed they could manipulate these entangled photons. The basic capabilities they show are really what you need to do universal quantum computation, says quantum optics researcher Joseph Lukens at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, in Tennessee, who did not take part in this research. Its pretty exciting stuff.

In addition, by sending the entangled photons through a 24.2-kilometer-long optical fiber telecommunications system, the researchers showed that entanglement was preserved over large distances. This could prove useful for nigh-unhackable quantum communications applications, the researchers say.

What I think is amazing about our system is that it can be created using components that are out on the market, whereas other quantum computer technologies need state-of-the-art cryogenics, state-of-the-art superconductors, state-of-the-art magnets, saysstudy co-senior authorRoberto Morandotti, a physicistatINRSin Varennes. The fact that we use basic telecommunications components to access and control these states means that a lot of researchers could explore this area as well.

The scientists noted that current state-of-the-art components could conceivably generate entangled pairs of 96-state qudits, corresponding to more dimensions than 13 qubits. Conceptually, in principle, I dont see a limit to the number of states of qudits right now, Lukens, from Oak Ridge,says. I do think a 96-by-96-dimensional system is fairly reasonable, and achievable in the near future.

But he adds that several components of the experiment were not on the microchips, such as the programmable filters and phase modulators, which led to photon loss. Kues says that integrating such components with the rest of the chips and optimizing their micro-ring resonator would help reduce such losses to make their system more practical for use.

The next big challenge we will have to solve is to use our system for quantum computation and quantum communications applications, Kues says. While this will take some additional years, it is the final step required to achieve systems that can outperform classical computers and communications.

The scientists detailed their findings in the latest issue of the journal Nature.

IEEE Spectrums general technology blog, featuring news, analysis, and opinions about engineering, consumer electronics, and technology and society, from the editorial staff and freelance contributors.

Sign up for the Tech Alert newsletter and receive ground-breaking technology and science news from IEEE Spectrum every Thursday.

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Qudits: The Real Future of Quantum Computing? – IEEE Spectrum – IEEE Spectrum

Global Quantum Computing Market Growth at a CAGR of 35.12 … – PR Newswire (press release)

The global quantum computing market to grow at a CAGR of 35.12% during the period 2017-2021.

The report covers the present scenario and the growth prospects of the global quantum computing market for 2017-2021. To calculate the market size, the report considers the revenue generated from sales of quantum computers only. The report covers the market landscape and its growth prospects over the coming years. The report also includes a discussion of the key vendors operating in this market.

The latest trend gaining momentum in the market is growth of AI and machine learning. AI is a branch of science that deals with computers, machines, software, and computer-operated robots to think intelligently to find solutions for complex problems in a manner that is like how a human brain thinks. AI is applied to the projects that require a human’s intellectual processes such as the ability to reason, derive conclusions from the past, and generalize certain learnings. Machine learning is a type of AI that allows computers to self-learn. When a computer is exposed to new data, it can analyze it, make decisions, grow, and learn from this data.

According to the report, one of the major drivers for this market is increasing expenditure by stakeholders. There are different stakeholders in the market, namely governments and private enterprises, that have shown an increasing interest in quantum computing. Quantum computing will have potential applications in a variety of sectors such as aerospace and defense, civil aviation, cybersecurity, finance, healthcare, and logistics. The potential applications have compelled governments and companies to focus on developing quantum computers and related technologies. The investments by these stakeholders drive the global quantum computing market.

Further, the report states that one of the major factors hindering the growth of this market is quantum decoherence. Quantum decoherence is one of the major challenges that is faced by quantum computing firms. This is a process wherein a quantum state tends to become a classical computing bit. Any outside interference can lead to the destruction of the quantum state, which will make the bit transition into either a 0 or a 1 state. Outside interferences include heat, internal defects, and vibrations.

Key vendors

Other prominent vendors

Key Topics Covered:

Part 01: Executive summary

Part 02: Scope of the report

Part 03: Research Methodology

Part 04: Introduction

Part 05: Market landscape

Part 06: Five forces analysis

Part 07: Market segmentation by technology

Part 08: Market segmentation by end-user

Part 09: Future applications for quantum computing

Part 10: Geographical segmentation

Part 11: Key leading countries

Part 12: Decision framework

Part 13: Drivers and challenges

Part 14: Market trends

Part 15: Vendor landscape

Part 16: Key vendor analysis

Part 17: Appendix

For more information about this report visit https://www.researchandmarkets.com/research/nnnvmm/global_quantum

Media Contact:

Research and Markets Laura Wood, Senior Manager press@researchandmarkets.com

For E.S.T Office Hours Call +1-917-300-0470 For U.S./CAN Toll Free Call +1-800-526-8630 For GMT Office Hours Call +353-1-416-8900

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To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/global-quantum-computing-market-growth-at-a-cagr-of-3512-2017-2021—latest-challenges-drivers–trends-300481865.html

SOURCE Research and Markets


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Global Quantum Computing Market Growth at a CAGR of 35.12 … – PR Newswire (press release)

Multi-coloured photons in 100 dimensions may make quantum … – Cosmos

An illustration showing high-dimensional color-entangled photon states from a photonic chip, manipulated and transmitted via telecommunications systems.

Michael Kues

Researchers using off-the-shelf telecommunications equipment have created a 100-dimensional quantum system from the entanglement of two subatomic particles.

The system can be controlled and manipulated to perform high-level gateway functions a critical component of any viable quantum computer the scientists report in the journal Nature.

The team, led by Michael Kues of the University of Glasgow, effectively created a quantum photon generator on a chip. The tiny device uses a micro-ring resonator generate entangled pairs of photons from a laser input.

The entanglement is far from simple. Each photon is composed of a superposition of several different colours, all expressed simultaneously, giving the photon several dimensions. The expression of any individual colour or frequency, if you like is mirrored across the two entangled photons, regardless of the distance between them.

The complexity of the photon pairs represents a major step forward in manipulating quantum entities.

Almost all research into quantum states, for the purpose of developing quantum computing, has to date focussed on qubits: artificially created subatomic particles that exist in a superposition two possible states. (They are the quantum equivalent of standard computing bits, basic units that are capable only of being switched between 1 and 0, or yes/no, or on/off.)

Kues and colleagues are instead working with qudits, which are essentially qubits with superpositions comprising three or more states.

In 2016, Russian researchers showed that qudit-based quantum computing systems were inherently more stable than their two dimensional predecessors.

The Russians, however, were working with a subset of qudits called qutrits, which comprise a superposition of three possible states. Kues and his team upped the ante considerably, fashioning qudits comprising 10 possible states one for each of the colours, or frequencies, of the photon giving an entangled pair a minimum of 100.

And thats just the beginning. Team member Roberto Morandotti of the University of Electronic Science and Technology of China, in Chengdu, suggests that further refinement will produce entangled two-qudit systems containing as many as 9000 dimensions, bringing a robustness and complexity to quantum computers that is at present unreachable.

Kues adds that perhaps the most attractive feature of his teams achievement is that it was done using commercially available components. This means that the strategy can be quickly and easily adapted by other researchers in the field, potentially ushering in a period of very rapid development.

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Multi-coloured photons in 100 dimensions may make quantum … – Cosmos

The weird science of quantum computing, communications and encryption – C4ISR & Networks

Ever heard of quantum entanglement? If you havent, dont feel bad. As I have written about before, quantum theory is the abstract basis of modern physics. It explains the nature and behavior of how matter acts.

Albert Einstein discovered quantum entanglement in 1935.He said it is “spooky action at a distance.”It examines how one quantum particle could affect one another, and that effect is faster than the speed of light. It is one of those advanced/emerging technologies that has been around for a while and is really beginning to show promise.

It should be noted that this is just one of a number of Chinas strategic initiatives to develop new technology that will create an extremely secure, ultrahigh-speed, quantum-based global communications network. Researchers in several countries, such as the U.S., Canada and Singapore (as well as Google), are also working on a broad spectrum of quantum theory applications including quantum encryption.

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The weird science of quantum computing, communications and encryption – C4ISR & Networks

The Quantum Computer Factory That’s Taking on Google and IBM … – WIRED

A few yards from the stockpile of La Croix in the warehouse space behind startup Rigetti Computing s offices in Fremont, California, sits a machine like a steampunk illustration made real. Its steel chambers are studded with bolts, handles, and circular ports. But this monster is powered by electricity, not coal, and evaporates aluminum, not waterit makes superconducting electronics. Rigetti is using the machine and millions of dollars worth of other equipment housed here in hermetically sealed glass lab spaces to try and build a new kind of super-powerful computer that runs on quantum physics.

Its hardly alone in such an undertaking, though it is the underdog: Rigetti is racing against similar projects at Google, Microsoft, IBM, and Intel. Every Bay Area startup will tell you it is doing something momentously difficult, but Rigetti is biting off more than most it’s working on quantum computing. All venture-backed startups face the challenge of building a business, but this one has to do it by making progress on one of tech’s thorniest problems.

An 8-qubit quantum processor built by Rigetti Computing.


Rigetti, which has 80 employees, has raised nearly $70 million to develop quantum computers, which by encoding data into the physics apparent only at tiny scales should offer a, well, quantum leap in computing power . This is going to be a very large industryevery major organization in the world will have to have a strategy for how to use this technology, says Chad Rigetti, the companys founder. The strapping 38-year-old physics PhD worked on quantum hardware at Yale and IBM before founding his own company in 2013 and taking it through the Y Combinator incubator better known for software startups like Dropbox.

No company is yet very close to offering up a quantum computer ready to do useful work existing computers can’t. But Google has pledged to commercialize the technology within five years. IBM offers a cloud platform intended as a warmup for a future commercial service that lets developers and researchers play with a prototype chip located in Big Blues labs. After a few years of mostly staying quiet, Rigetti is now entering the fray. The company on Tuesday launched its own cloud platform, called Forest, where developers can write code for simulated quantum computers, and some partners get to access the startup’s existing quantum hardware. Rigetti gave WIRED a peek at the new manufacturing facility in Fremontgrandly dubbed Fab-1that just started making chips for testing at the company’s headquarters in Berkeley.

The startup’s founder, who has a rare fluency in both quantum information theory and Silicon Valley business-speak, says that being smaller than its giant competitors gives his company an advantage. Were pursuing this long-term objective with the urgency and product clarity of a startup, says Rigetti. That’s something that large corporations arent culturally matched to do. The urgency is existential: Google’s effort is a hunt for a new line of business; Rigetti’s a quest to have one at all.

A silicon wafer of future quantum processors.


At very small scales, different rules to those of our everyday reality become apparent. Particles can pull weird tricks, like kinda, sorta, doing two different things at the same time. Many millions are being sunk into quantum computing R&D because information encoded into quantum effects can do weird things, too. For certain problems, that should allow a quantum chip the size of your palm to provide more computing power than a team of giant supercomputers. Rigettilike Google, IBM, and Intelpreaches the idea that this advance will bring about a wild new phase of the cloud computing revolution. Data centers stuffed with quantum processors will be rented out to companies freed to design chemical processes and drugs more quickly, or deploy powerful new forms of machine learning.

But for now, the quantum computing chips in existence are too small to do things conventional computers can’t. IBM recently announced one with 16 qubitsthe components needed to build a quantum computerand Google is gunning for around 50 qubits this year. Rigetti has made chips with 8 qubits; it says the new fab will speed up the experimentation needed to increase that number. No one knows for sure, but its estimated youd need hundreds of qubits or more to do useful work on chemistry problems, which seem to be the lowest-hanging fruit for quantum computers.

Rigettis new cloud platform, Forest, is supposed to put the time it will take to get to that point to good use. The idea is to prime the pump, getting coders to practice writing programs for quantum processors now so they’re ready to release killer apps when the technology becomes practical. Forest is designed to support programs that use a quantum processor to give new powers to conventional software, a bit like a computer might have a graphics card, a hybrid model Rigetti claims will be vital to making the technology practical. The platform allows coders to write quantum algorithms for a simulation of a quantum chip with 36 qubits. Select partners can access Rigetti’s early quantum chips through Forest today, similar to how IBM has put its own quantum chips online.

All that might sound like Apple deciding to open the App Store before the iPhone even existed, but Rigetti argues that with a technology this different, people will need plenty of time to adjust. Building a community of people who understand and know how to use the hardware is just as important as the hardware itself to have a successful product, says Andrew Bestwick, the company’s director of engineering.

Quantum equipment at Rigetti Computings Berkeley, California, office.


Rigetti will need time, more money, and some hard science to get to that successful product. There has been a genuine acceleration of progress on quantum hardware recently, says Michael Biercuk , a professor who works on quantum computing at the University of Sydney, and previously advised DARPA on the technology. But theres still a lot to be figured out. The entry of commercial players and startups has not changed the fundamental challenges in the field, he says. One of the most difficult is getting qubits to work reliably when packed together into larger groups, says Biercuk. Quantum states are very delicate, and making qubits less flaky at holding onto information they encode is a major preoccupation for researchers in the field.

Despite all the confident talk of products and future customers, Rigettis founder doesnt dodge when asked about the challenges. No-ones built this technology before and so as a field, and community, and company we just don’t know how long things are going to take, he says.

Vijay Pande, a general partner with venture capitalists Andreessen Horowitz who led the firms investment in Rigetti, says he isnt worried. He sees the startup bringing in some revenue even before its chips are ready to do real work, because some organizations and companies will pay to access them for R&D purposes. Rigetti is already talking to NASA, which believes quantum computers could help plan missions more efficiently, for example. And besides, this startup isn’t held to the same standards as one building a consumer mobile app. This is old school, classic venture capital, with a high upside, says Pande. Its part of Silicon Valleys own laws of physics. When theres a really big potential payoff dangling somewhere up ahead, different rules apply.

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The Quantum Computer Factory That’s Taking on Google and IBM … – WIRED

USC to lead project to build super-speedy quantum computers – USC News

USC has been selected to lead a consortium of universities and private companies to build quantum computers that are at least 10,000 times faster than the best state-of-the-art classical computers.

USC will lead the effort among various universities and private contractors to design, build and test 100 qubit quantum machines. Such high-powered machines could help facilitate the solution of some of the most difficult optimization problems such as machine learning for image recognition, resolving scheduling conflicts in events with many participants, as well as sampling for improved prediction of random events. Pending continued success, theIntelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA)contract is worth up to $45 million in funding.

The effort includes the USC Center for Quantum Information Science and Technology in the USC Viterbi School of Engineering, and the Center for Quantum Computing at the Information Sciences Institute, a unit of the Viterbi School. Quantum computing expert Daniel Lidar, director of the USC Center for Quantum Information Science & Technology and the Viterbi Professor of Engineering, will serve as the principal investigator of the multi-institutional effort and Professor Stephen Crago of the Information Sciences Institute will serve as the program/technical manager.

This project has the potential to reshape the landscape of quantum computing.

Daniel Lidar

This project has the potential to reshape the landscape of quantum computing, and I could not have asked for a better team to pursue this exciting goal, Lidar said.

Prem Natarajan, the Michael Keston Executive Director of the Information Sciences Institute, said IARPAs Quantum Enhanced Optimization programpromises to propel the U.S. into a clear leadership position in the worldwide race to develop a quantum computer at scale.

Other institutions participating in the five-year research initiative are: theMassachusetts Institute of Technology; Caltech; Harvard University; University of California, Berkeley; University College London; University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada; Saarland University, Saarland, Germany; Tokyo Institute of Technology; Lockheed Martin; and Northrop Grumman. MIT Lincoln Labs will provide government furnished capability, while NASA Ames and Texas A&M University will serve as government test and evaluation teams.

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USC to lead project to build super-speedy quantum computers – USC News

Google on track for quantum computer breakthrough by end of 2017 – New Scientist

Ramping up the qubits

Julian Kelly/Google

By Matt Reynolds

Google is leading the pack when it comes to quantum computing. The company is testing a 20-qubit processor its most powerful quantum chip yet and is on target to have a working 49-qubit chip by the end of this year.

Qubits, or quantum bits, can be a mixture of 0 and 1 at the same time, making them potentially more powerful than classical bits.

And if everything goes to plan, the 49-qubit chip will make Google the first to build a quantum computer capable of solving certain problems that are beyond the abilities of ordinary computers. Google set itself this ambitious goal, known as quantum supremacy, in a paper published last July.

Alan Ho, an engineer in Googles quantum AI lab, revealed the companys progress at a quantum computing conference in Munich, Germany. His team is currently working with a 20-qubit system that has a two-qubit fidelity of 99.5 per cent a measure of how error-prone the processor is, with a higher rating equating to fewer errors.

For quantum supremacy, Google will need to build a 49-qubit system with a two-qubit fidelity of at least 99.7 per cent. Ho is confident his team will deliver this system by the end of this year. Until now, the companys best public effort was a 9-qubit computer built in 2015.

Things really have moved much quicker than I would have expected, says Simon Devitt at the RIKEN Center for Emergent Matter Science in Japan. Now that Google and other companies involved in quantum computing have mastered much of the fundamental science behind creating high-quality superconducting qubits, the big challenge facing these firms is scaling these systems and reducing their error rates.

It is important not to get carried away with numbers of qubits, says Michele Reilly, CEO at Turing Inc, a quantum start-up. Its impossible to really harness the power of these machines in a useful way without error correction, she says a technique that mitigates the fickle nature of quantum mechanics.

Ho says it will be 2027 before we have error-corrected quantum computers, so useful devices are still some way off. But if Google can be the first to demonstrate quantum supremacy, showing that qubits really can beat regular computers, it will be a major scientific breakthrough.

Read more: Revealed: Googles plan for quantum computer supremacy

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Google on track for quantum computer breakthrough by end of 2017 – New Scientist

Dow Chemical, 1QBit Ink Quantum Computing Development Deal – Zacks.com

The Dow Chemical Company (DOW – Free Report) and 1QB Information Technologies (1QBit”) entered into a collaborative pact to develop quantum computing tools for the chemicals and materials science technology spaces. Financial terms of the deal remain undisclosed.

Dow Chemicals unique innovation capabilities combined with 1QBits leading expertise in the development of applications for quantum computing will speed up the deployment of quantum computing across a number of applications related to the chemical sector.

The partnership will also enhance Dow Chemicals discovery process by building strong fundamental understanding of new chemicals and materials.

1QBit intends to apply breakthroughs in computation to machine intelligence and optimization science through a broadly accessible, hardware-agnostic software platform. The company has been developing new methods for machine learning, sampling, and optimization for the last four years based on reformulating problems to meet the unique requirements of interfacing with quantum computers and leveraging their capabilities.

With this agreement in place, both the companies plan to develop strong capabilities in the quantum computing space and advance their world-class innovation capabilities.

Dow Chemical has outperformed the Zacks categorized Chemicals-Diversified industry over a year. The companys shares have moved up around 18.7% over this period, compared with roughly 16.8% gain recorded by the industry.

Dow Chemical is witnessing signs of positive economic momentum globally, amid sustained geopolitical risks and volatility. The company is also seeing early signs of gradual improvements in consumer-led markets in Latin America. The company believes that the strength of its portfolio along with its focus on consumer-led markets will continue to bode well.

The company is expected to gain from productivity management actions as well as focus on consumer-led markets. Dow Chemical should also benefit from cost synergies associated with Dow Corning Silicones business and its strategic investments in the U.S. Gulf Coast and the Middle East. The planned merger with DuPont (DD – Free Report) is also expected to create significant synergies.

However, Dow Chemicals agriculture business remains affected by weak crop commodity prices and depressed demand in North America. The company also faces feedstock cost pressure and headwinds associated with higher start-up and maintenance costs.

Dow Chemical Company (The) Price and Consensus

Zacks Rank & Stocks to Consider

Dow Chemical currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

Some top-ranked stocks in the chemical space include BASF SE (BASFY – Free Report) and The Chemours Company (CC – Free Report) . Both the companies sport a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of todays Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

BASF has expected long-term growth of 8.9%.

Chemours has expected long-term growth of 15.5%.

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Dow Chemical, 1QBit Ink Quantum Computing Development Deal – Zacks.com