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  • richardmitnick 8:24 pm on June 13, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Exascale supercomputing still to come, , NQI- Congress's National Quantum Initiative, , Quantum Computing,   

    From Science Magazine: “Quantum physics gets attention—and brighter funding prospects—in Congress” 

    From Science Magazine

    Jun. 13, 2018
    Gabriel Popkin

    Ions trapped between gold blades serve as information-carrying qubits in a prototype quantum computer.

    Many members of Congress admit they find quantum physics mind-boggling, with its counterintuitive account of the subatomic world. But that isn’t stopping U.S. lawmakers, as well as policymakers in President Donald Trump’s administration, from backing an emerging effort to better organize and boost funding for quantum research, which could reshape computing, sensors, and communications.

    ORNL IBM AC922 SUMMIT supercomputer just launched by OLCF at ORNL, and there is more to come as we approach exascale supercomputing

    In the coming weeks, the science committee of the House of Representatives is expected to introduce legislation calling for a new, 10-year-long National Quantum Initiative (NQI). The White House, for its part, is scheduled to formally launch a new panel that will guide the federal government’s role in quantum science. Key science agencies are calling on Congress to accelerate spending on quantum research. And the Senate supports a boost for the field: Last week, it approved a mammoth defense policy bill that includes a provision directing the Pentagon to create a new $20 million quantum science program.

    A yearlong push by a coalition of academic researchers and technology firms helped trigger this flurry of activity. Proponents argue the United States needs a better plan for harvesting the potential fruits of quantum research—and for keeping up with global competitors.

    LLNL IBM Sierra ATS2 supercomputer still to come

    Depiction of ANL ALCF Cray Shasta Aurora supercomputer still to come

    The European Union has launched a decadelong quantum research initiative, and China is said to be investing heavily in the field. The United States is “kind of the only major country that’s not doing something [?],” says Chris Monroe, a physicist at the University of Maryland in College Park and co-founder of a startup developing quantum computers, which could outstrip conventional computers on certain problems. [I guess what is depicted below is someone’s idea of nothing.]

    Quantum computing – IBM I

    IBM Quantum Computing

    Last June, a small group of academics, executives, and lobbyists that includes Monroe released a white paper calling for an NQI; they issued a blueprint for the effort in April. Meanwhile, the House science committee held a hearing on the topic last October and plans to release a bill later this month that draws extensively from the blueprint.

    “We must ensure that the United States does not fall behind other nations that are advancing quantum programs,” Science committee chair Lamar Smith (R–TX) said yesterday in a statement about the bill.

    The legislation will authorize the Department of Energy (DOE) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) to create new research centers at universities, federal laboratories, and nonprofit research institutes, according to a committee spokesperson. These research hubs would aim to build alliances between physicists doing fundamental research, engineers who can build devices, and computer scientists developing quantum algorithms. The centers could give academics seeking to develop commercial technologies access to expertise and expensive research tools, says physicist David Awschalom of the University of Chicago in Illinois, one of the blueprint’s authors. “The research needs rapidly outpace any individual lab,” he says.

    The proposal “sounds really promising,” says Danna Freedman, a chemist at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, who did not contribute to the proposal. But Freedman, who synthesizes materials that could be used to build new kinds of quantum computer components, says her enthusiasm “depends to what extent the government decides to prescribe the research.”

    The blueprint recommends that the hubs focus on three areas: developing ultraprecise quantum sensors for biomedicine, navigation, and other applications; hack-proof quantum communication; and quantum computers. The bill will likely leave it up to federal agencies, the new White House quantum panel, and an outside advisory group to determine the initiative’s focus. Backers also say the effort could help advance the development of software for quantum computers—a major hurdle. Right now, just “tens or hundreds of people” can program quantum computers, says William Zeng of Rigetti Computing, a startup in Berkeley, California, seeking to build a quantum computer and offer quantum computing services. “That’s not going to be able to support building the full potential of the tech.”

    It’s not yet known how much funding the House bill, which Republicans on the science panel are crafting, will recommend. The blueprint envisions channeling $800 million over 5 years to the NQI, but even if the bill endorses that figure, congressional appropriators will have the final say. Also uncertain is whether Democrats will sign on and help ensure passage through the full House, and whether the Senate will support the idea.

    In the meantime, lawmakers and the Trump administration are moving to shore up federal spending on quantum science, which analysts in 2016 estimated at about $200 million a year. Adding to the $20 million boost approved by the Senate (but not yet by the entire Congress), Trump’s 2019 budget request would create a new $30 million “Quantum Leap” initiative at NSF and boost DOE’s quantum research programs to $105 million.

    The United States, long seen as a leader, is facing growing global competition in the quantum field, says Walter Copan, director of the National Institutes of Standards and Technology in Gaithersburg, Maryland, which has long played a role in quantum research. “It is the equivalent of a space race now,” says Copan, who met last week with Smith. Focusing federal resources on the field, Copan adds, “has phenomenal promise for the country—if it’s done right.”

    See the full article here .


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  • richardmitnick 6:38 pm on June 5, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: A regular quantum computer — one without non-Abelian anyons — would require error correction, Abelian anyons behave more or less like conventional fermions, , But an even more powerful computational platform would come from what’s known as parafermions which have been theorized but not yet shown to exist. Perhaps their existence could also be proven with , Eliminate error correction which is a major stumbling block in the development of quantum computers, For one useful quantum bit of information you need multiple additional quantum bits to correct errors that arise from random fluctuations in the system, Non-Abelian anyons are for lack of a better way of saying it completely insane. They have very strange properties that could be used in quantum computing or more specifically for what’s known as top, Non-Abelian anyons- quantum quasi-particles that retain a “memory” of their relative positions in the past, Quantum Computing, Quantum Hall liquid, This work suggests that a particular entity known as a Majorana particle is at work in the particular system that we studied. And that suggests that a Majorana-based quantum computer is possible., topological quantum computing — which requires the presence of non-Abelian anyons — is unique in that it doesn’t need error correction to make the quantum bits useful,   

    From Brown University: “New research hints at ‘insane’ particles useful in quantum computing” 

    Brown University
    From Brown University

    June 5, 2018
    Kevin Stacey

    Quantum heat. An image of the experimental setup used to produce evidence of strange quasi-particles called non-Abelian anyons.
    A new measurement of heat conduction in an exotic state of matter points to the presence of strange particles that could be useful in quantum computers.

    In a paper published this week in the journal Nature, a research team including a Brown University physicist has characterized how heat is conducted in a matter state known as a quantum Hall liquid, in which electrons are confined to two dimensions. The findings suggest the presence of non-Abelian anyons, quantum quasi-particles that retain a “memory” of their relative positions in the past. Theorists have suggested that the ability of these particles to retain information could be useful in developing ultra-fast quantum computing systems that don’t require error correction, which is a major stumbling block in the development of quantum computers.

    The research was led by an experimental group at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel.

    Weizmann Institute Campus

    Dmitri Feldman, a professor of physics at Brown, was part of the research group. He discussed the findings in an interview.

    Q: Could you explain more about what you and your colleagues found?

    A: We were looking at thermal conductance — which simply means the flow of heat from a higher temperature to a lower temperature — in what’s known as a 5/2 quantum Hall liquid. Quantum Hall liquids are not ‘liquids’ in the conventional sense of the word. The term refers to the behavior of electrons inside certain materials when the electrons become confined in two dimensions in a strong magnetic field.

    What we found was that the quantized heat conductance — meaning a fundamental unit of conductance — in this system is fractional. In other words, the value was not an integer, and that has interesting implications for what’s happening in the system. When the quantum thermal conductance is not an integer, it means that quasi-particles known as non-Abelian anyons are present in this system.

    Q: Can you explain more about non-Abelian anyons?

    A: In the Standard Model of particle physics, there are only two categories of particles: fermions and bosons.

    The Standard Model of elementary particles (more schematic depiction), with the three generations of matter, gauge bosons in the fourth column, and the Higgs boson in the fifth.

    Standard Model of Particle Physics from Symmetry Magazine

    That’s all there is in the world we experience on a daily basis. But in two-dimensional systems like quantum Hall liquids, there can be other types of particles known as anyons. Generally speaking, there are two types of anyons: Abelian anyons and non-Abelian anyons. Abelian anyons behave more or less like conventional fermions, but non-Abelian anyons are, for lack of a better way of saying it, completely insane. They have very strange properties that could be used in quantum computing, or more specifically, for what’s known as topological quantum memory.

    Q: What’s the connection between non-Abelian anyons and quantum computing?

    A: A regular quantum computer — one without non-Abelian anyons — would require error correction. For one useful quantum bit of information, you need multiple additional quantum bits to correct errors that arise from random fluctuations in the system. That’s extremely demanding and a big problem in quantum computing. But topological quantum computing — which requires the presence of non-Abelian anyons — is unique in that it doesn’t need error correction to make the quantum bits useful. That’s because in a non-Abelian system, you can produce states that are completely indistinguishable locally, but globally the states are completely different. So you can have random perturbations of these local quantum numbers, but it won’t change the global quantum numbers, which means the information is safe.

    Q: Where does this line of research go from here?

    A: This work suggests that a particular entity known as a Majorana particle is at work in the particular system that we studied. And that suggests that a Majorana-based quantum computer is possible. But an even more powerful computational platform would come from what’s known as parafermions, which have been theorized but not yet shown to exist. Perhaps their existence could also be proven with similar experimental tools in the future.

    See the full article here .

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  • richardmitnick 3:46 pm on May 14, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Harvard University and MIT, , Institute of Science and Technology Austria, , Quantum Computing, University of Geneva,   

    From University of Leeds via phys.org: “Deeper understanding of quantum chaos may be the key to quantum computers” 

    U Leeds bloc

    From University of Leeds


    May 14, 2018

    Quantum systems can exist in many possible states, here illustrated by groups of spins, each pointing along a certain direction. Thermalization occurs when a system evenly explores all allowed configurations. Instead, when a “quantum scar” forms (as shown in the figure), some configurations emerge as special. This feature allows scarred systems to sustain memory of the initial state despite thermalization. Credit: Zlatko Papic, University of Leeds

    New research gives insight into a recent experiment that was able to manipulate an unprecedented number of atoms through a quantum simulator. This new theory could provide another step on the path to creating the elusive quantum computers.

    Quantum computing – IBM

    An international team of researchers, led by the University of Leeds and in cooperation with the Institute of Science and Technology Austria and the University of Geneva, has provided a theoretical explanation for the particular behaviour of individual atoms that were trapped and manipulated in a recent experiment by Harvard University and MIT [Nature Physics]. The experiment used a system of finely tuned lasers to act as “optical tweezers” to assemble a remarkably long chain of 51 atoms.

    When the quantum dynamics of the atom chain were measured, there were surprising oscillations that persisted for much longer than expected and which couldn’t be explained.

    Study co-author, Dr. Zlatko Papic, Lecturer in Theoretical Physics at Leeds, said: “The previous Harvard-MIT experiment created surprisingly robust oscillations that kept the atoms in a quantum state for an extended time. We found these oscillations to be rather puzzling because they suggested that atoms were somehow able to “remember” their initial configuration while still moving chaotically.

    “Our goal was to understand more generally where such oscillations could come from, since oscillations signify some kind of coherence in a chaotic environment—and this is precisely what we want from a robust quantum computer. Our work suggests that these oscillations are due to a new physical phenomenon that we called ‘quantum many-body scar’.”

    In everyday life, particles will bounce off one another until they explore the entire space, settling eventually into a state of equilibrium. This process is called thermalisation. A quantum scar is when a special configuration or pathway leaves an imprint on the particles’ state that keeps them from filling the entire space. This prevents the systems from reaching thermalisation and allows them to maintain some quantum effects.

    Dr. Papic said: “We are learning that quantum dynamics can be much more complex and intricate than simply thermalisation. The practical benefit is that extended periods of oscillations are exactly what is needed if quantum computers are to become a reality. The information processed and stored on these computers will be dependent on keeping the atoms in more than one state at any time, it is a constant battle to keep the particles from settling into an equilibrium.”

    Study lead author, Christopher Turner, doctoral researcher at the School of Physics and Astronomy at Leeds, said: “Previous theories involving quantum scars have been formulated for a single particle. Our work has extended these ideas to systems which contain not one but many particles, which are all entangled with each other in complicated ways. Quantum many-body scars might represent a new avenue to realise coherent quantum dynamics.”

    The quantum many-body scars theory sheds light on the quantum states that underpin the strange dynamics of atoms in the Harvard-MIT experiment. Understanding this phenomenon could also pave the way for protecting or extending the lifetime of quantum states in other classes of quantum many-body systems.

    Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2018-05-deeper-quantum-chaos-key.html#jCp

    See the full article here.

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  • richardmitnick 9:38 pm on May 10, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Primed for a quantum leap in research", Quantum Computing,   

    From University of Chicago: “Primed for a quantum leap in research” 

    U Chicago bloc

    From University of Chicago

    Louise Lerner

    UChicago scientists and engineers at forefront of technology revolution.

    Photo courtesy of Kevin Satzinger

    Since being proposed a half-century ago, quantum computing has been confined to science fiction and the daydreams of physicists.

    Then that all changed.

    “In the last decade, the field of quantum information science has rapidly expanded beyond fundamental research toward real-world applications,” said Prof. David Awschalom of the Institute for Molecular Engineering at the University of Chicago.

    Behind the scenes, a number of breakthroughs have made it possible for scientists to encode and manipulate information in quantum systems, which behave according to the strange laws of quantum mechanics. Today, university scientists like those at the IME are fleshing out the fundamental rules of controlling such systems, while Google, IBM, Microsoft and Intel are pouring millions of dollars in a race to build those concepts into working computers.

    Scientists at the University of Chicago’s Institute for Molecular Engineering are exploring a vast new field made possible by the ability to manipulate quantum systems.
    (Video by UChicago Creative)

    Quantum computers should be able to solve certain problems much faster than current computers. Because they naturally process multiple possibilities in parallel, it’s thought they could speed up searches for new pharmaceuticals, improve batteries and find greener ways to make chemicals. (They’re also of significant interest to governments because such computers might be able to factor the large numbers that currently encrypt the world’s financial, political and military secrets.)

    But computing isn’t the only way to tap quantum quirks. Scientists at UChicago are shaping a vast new field made possible by our growing ability to manipulate quantum systems. In fact, of the major quantum technologies, researchers see computers as the furthest out to achieve. Before then, there are possibilities for innately secure communication and precise navigation systems. Quantum sensors might find hidden underground oil pockets, improve earthquake monitoring, unravel the structure of single molecules or peek at the busy dance of proteins inside a cell.

    A UChicago team accidentally discovered a new way of using light to draw and erase quantum circuits. (Artist’s rendition by Peter Allen)

    “The Institute for Molecular Engineering is looking 10 or 15 years down the line,” said Matthew Tirrell, the founding Pritzker Director and dean of the Institute for Molecular Engineering. “While Google and Intel are working to build prototype systems, we need to lay down a scientific foundation of understanding for these quantum technologies, and to do that, we are building an institute that brings together experts with deep knowledge in a variety of adjacent fields.”

    The right ingredients for discovery

    The IME is uniquely positioned to tackle the science from which quantum technologies will emerge. In addition to its state-of-the-art Pritzker Nanofabrication Facility, the institute works closely with UChicago’s two affiliated national laboratories, Argonne National Laboratory and Fermilab; in fact, last year, the IME formed a hub called the Chicago Quantum Exchange to coordinate research among the three institutions. The institute is also tied with UChicago’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation to commercialize breakthroughs.

    The institute is set up to solve problems that span multiple scientific fields—encouraging researchers to leverage the wide range of expertise around them, which is key to quickly realizing the full potential of discoveries made in the lab.


    “You need to lay down a scientific foundation of understanding for these quantum technologies, and to do that, you need a center that combines really deep knowledge in a variety of fields.”

    —Matt Tirrell, the founding Pritzker Director and dean of the Institute for Molecular Engineering

    “In the last decade, the field of quantum information science has rapidly expanded beyond fundamental research toward real-world applications.”

    —Prof. David Awschalom


    For example: A few years ago, Awschalom’s research group discovered quantum behavior in a common material called silicon carbide. No one had expected to see it there; and no one could explain why it was happening. So they reached out to fellow researchers, including Giulia Galli, the Liew Family Professor of Electronic Structure and Simulations at the Institute for Molecular Engineering.

    “We met with Giulia, who is a theoretical physicist. Within a few months, she and her students came up with some clever modeling to explain the underlying behavior we observed,” Awschalom said. “Now we are collaborating with Andrew Cleland next door to start incorporating these quantum states into hybrid devices. There are now hundreds of potential ways to develop these materials into useful systems.”

    The result of all this is research that can more quickly spin up to become part of our lives. “Ultimately, we think quantum technologies will impact the world in many ways beyond computing,” said Awschalom.

    Asst. Prof. Jonathan Simon makes “quantum Legos” out of photons to explore principles of quantum systems. (Photo by Jean Lachat)

    Leave your intuition at the door

    Quantum mechanics is how scientists describe the behavior of fundamental particles. The theory was built over the 20th century, and some of its central tenets were proposed by Einstein, though he was famously uneasy about their implications. Physicists originally began to test these theories by observing the behavior of particles, such as photons of light, which act both as waves and as particles. Pull on that thread, and you discover a universe that does not square with the world as we’re used to.

    “It’s very hard to develop a good intuition for quantum behavior,” Awschalom said, “because everything behaves so differently from the classical world we know.”

    According to quantum mechanics, objects can occupy different locations at the same time; they can go through walls; and they can be entangled with one another, acting as though they “know” what’s happening miles or even light-years away. And if you measure a quantum state, it can change. So scientists have to build systems that create, manipulate and move these particles, while studiously avoiding interacting with them more than strictly necessary.

    The property that sparked the idea for quantum computers is that particles can exist in two positions at the same time, a concept called “superposition.” You might be familiar with the binary language that underwrites all of today’s computers, which contains just two options: 0 and 1. A quantum computer could expand that language by encoding information that exists in more than one state at a time, which lets you attack questions very differently. Since nature behaves quantum-mechanically, at a certain point, we need a quantum computer to simulate those processes. Along with completely new computers comes a need for new algorithms: across the street from the IME, a $10 million NSF project headed by Fred Chong, the Seymour Goodman Professor in the Department of Computer Science, will design hardware and software to help realize the potential of quantum computing more rapidly.

    IME scientists invented a configuration that can flip the state of a quantum bit, from ‘off’ to ‘on,’ 300 percent faster than conventional methods. (Artist’s rendition by Peter Allen)

    There are already some small systems of about five quantum bits (called qubits) that anyone can play with online. Within the year, some of the largest tech companies are expected to unveil working systems with 50 or more qubits.

    “Every time you add a qubit, you double the computer’s power, which gets you enormous power very quickly,” said Andrew Cleland, the John A. MacLean Sr. Professor for Molecular Engineering Innovation and Enterprise. “But it’s very hard to keep them all behaving the way you want.”

    The difficult bit

    Quantum systems are extremely sensitive. They get thrown out of alignment by the tiniest changes in temperature or magnetism, noise or someone walking by. “A major challenge in this field is to preserve the integrity of quantum signals in real-world devices,” Awschalom said.

    “Our really good systems now last for tens of microseconds,” said Asst. Prof. David Schuster. “But you can do a lot in that time.”

    A quantum device known as the “0-Pi” circuit, the first of a new class of protected superconducting qubits being developed at the University of Chicago in the lab of Prof. David Schuster. (Courtesy of Nate Earnest and Abigail Shearrow)

    But quantum’s quirks are what make it interesting. While not being able to read your information without screwing everything up is frustrating, it makes it perfect for designing a hack-proof communication system: If someone eavesdrops, the information will be destroyed.

    Similarly, quantum systems’ tendency to respond to the least disturbances make them perfect sensors. “With quantum sensors, you are dealing with the absolute smallest amounts of energy, so you can sense things that other technologies cannot,” Cleland said.

    They could detect something as small as tiny shifts in gravity that indicate the ground is denser in one area than another—which could detect untapped pockets of oil or minerals or get us closer to predicting earthquakes. They could even potentially detect dark matter.

    Medicine is interested, too. Untangling the structure of proteins and cellular structures is central to making better pharmaceuticals, and it’s thought that quantum sensors could do this much faster and with better sensitivity. It could even one day peer inside the workings of our own cells. “Think of the possibilities for advancing biology and medicine if we can place nano-scale quantum sensors into living cells and observe their behavior in real time,” Awschalom said.

    Yet the applications will only come once scientists understand the underlying principles of how to properly control quantum systems. First they need to understand how to prevent magnetic fields from knocking such systems out quickly; how to make bigger systems hold together; and how to interface them with existing technology.

    “These are important questions for university scientists and engineers, because this underlying physics will ultimately determine the limits of quantum technologies,” Awschalom said. “To answer these questions, we need groups of computer scientists, engineers and physicists working together.”

    And as that science grows into full-fledged technology, the world will need a new generation of quantum engineers, Awschalom said. Another $1.5 million from NSF will fund an innovative program, headed by Awschalom and Harvard’s Evelyn Hu, that pairs graduate students to tackle specific problems along with mentors from both academia and industry.

    The field is exciting to work in, IME researchers said, especially for scientists who’ve seen the field evolving before their eyes. “When I was in grad school, this was all pretty pictures in textbooks, that you knew you couldn’t apply to anything in the real world,” Cleland said. “But the barriers started falling away, and now we’re not only actually doing those textbook examples, but going well beyond them.”

    See the full article here .

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  • richardmitnick 2:05 pm on April 8, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Eight startups selected by IBM to be part of the Q Network, , , Q Network partner ecosystem, QISKitan an open-source software developer kit, Quantum Computing   

    HPC Wire: “IBM Expands Quantum Computing Network” 

    April 5, 2018
    Tiffany Trader


    IBM is positioning itself as a first mover in establishing the era of commercial quantum computing. The company believes in order for quantum to work, taming qubits isn’t enough, there needs to be an engaged ecosystem of partners. As part of its strategy to transition from quantum science to what IBM calls quantum-readiness, Big Blue held the first IBM Q Summit in Palo Alto, California, today (April 5), welcoming a group of startups into its quantum network.

    “Membership in the network will enable these startups to run experiments and algorithms on IBM quantum computers via cloud-based access,” explained Jeff Welser, director, IBM Research – Almaden, in a blog post. “Additionally, these startup members will have the opportunity to collaborate with IBM researchers and technical SMEs on potential applications, as well as other IBM Q Network organizations.”

    The Q Network was launched in December in partnership with both industry and academic and government clients, including JP Morgan Chase, Daimler, Samsung, JSR, Barclays, Keio University, Honda, Oak Ridge National Lab, University of Oxford, University of Melbourne, Hitachi Metals and Nagase. Now IBM has brought in these eight industry-leading startups: Cambridge Quantum Computing (CQC), 1QBit, QC Ware, Q-CTRL, Zapata Computing, Strangeworks, QxBranch, and Quantum Benchmark. (Additional info at end of article.)

    Quantum was a major topic of the inaugural IBM Think conference held in Las Vegas last month, where a number of featured speakers shared an optimistic timeline for establishing production usable applications.

    Arvind Krishna, senior vice president, Hybrid Cloud, and director of IBM Research, said he believes IBM will show a practical quantum advantage within five years and it will have built capable machines for that purpose in three-to-five years.

    Krishna hailed a coming era of practical quantum computing. “Quantum computers will help us solve problems that classical computers never could, in areas such as materials, medicines, transportation logistics, and financial risk,” he said during a keynote address.

    IBM has been focused on making the engineering more stable and robust to enable a broader set of users, outside the physics laboratory. “To exploit and win at quantum, you actually have to have a real quantum computer,” said Krishna.

    The community ecosystem is where IBM is distinguishing itself in the tight landscape of quantum competitors, that includes Google, Intel, Microsoft, early pioneer in quantum annealing D-Wave, and Berkeley-based startup Rigetti.

    IBM has a set of three prototype quantum computers, real quantum devices not simulators, made available through its cloud network, which in just two years has seen 80,000 users run more than 3 million remote executions. There are 5-qubit and 16-qubit quantum systems available to anyone with an internet connection via IBM’s Q Experience platform, and a larger 20-qubit machine for select Q Network partners. IBM has also successfully built an operational prototype 50-qubit processor that will be made available in the next generation IBM Q systems.

    As IBM grows its Q Network partner ecosystem, participating organizations will have various levels of cloud-based access to quantum expertise and resources. This means that not all members will get time on the biggest Q System, but startups in the quantum computing space will get “deeper access to APIs and advanced quantum software tools, libraries and applications, as well as consultation on emerging quantum technologies and applications from IBM scientists, engineers and consultants,” according to Welser.

    The goal of the Q Network is to advance practical applications for business and science and ultimately usher in the commercial quantum era. “We will emerge from this transitional era and enter the era of quantum advantage when we run the first commercial application. It’s not about arbitrary tests or quantum supremacy, it’s very practical,” said Anthony Annunziata, associate director, IBM Q, at last month’s event. “When we can do practical things, we will have achieved the practical era.”

    By making the machines available to a broader community, IBM is seeding the development of a software and user ecosystem. Annunziata stressed the importance of educating and preparing users across organizations for the coming of quantum computing. “It doesn’t matter how much we can abstract away,” he said, “quantum computing is just different. It takes a different mindset and skill set to program a quantum computer, especially to take advantage of it.”

    There are two different ways of programming the IBM Q network machines: a graphical interface with drag-and-drop operations and an open-source software developer kit called QISKit. QISKit, as IBM’s Talia Gershon enthusiastically explained in her keynote talk, makes it possible to entangle two qubits with two lines of code.

    Talia Gershon presenting at IBM Think 2018

    Gershon, senior manager, AI Challenges and Quantum Experiences at IBM, holds that having fundamentally new ways of doing computation will open up a new paradigm in how we approach problems, but first we have to stop “thinking too classically.”

    “Thinking too classically, as my colleague Jay Gambetta says, means you’re trying to apply linear classical logical thinking to understand something quantum and it doesn’t work,” said Gershon. “Thinking too classically is a real problem that hinders progress so how do we get people to change the way they think? Well we start in the classroom. When Einstein first discovered relativity I’m sure nobody intuitively got it and understood why was important and today it’s in every modern physics classroom in the world.

    “Within five years the same thing will happen with quantum computing. Not only will physics departments offer quantum information classes but computer science departments will offer a quantum track. Electrical engineering departments will teach students about quantum circuits and microwave signal processing and chemistry classes will teach students not only how to simulate molecules on a classical machine but also on a quantum computer.”


    Descriptions of the eight startups selected by IBM to be part of the Q Network:

    • Zapata Computing – Based in Cambridge, Mass., Zapata Computing is a quantum software, applications and services company developing algorithms for chemistry, machine learning, security, and error correction.

    • Strangeworks – Based in Austin, Texas, and founded by William Hurley, Strangeworks is a quantum computing software company designing and delivering tools for software developers and systems management for IT Administrators and CIOs.

    • QxBranch – Headquartered in Washington, D.C., QxBranch delivers advanced data analytics for finance, insurance, energy, and security customers worldwide. QxBranch is developing tools and applications enabled by quantum computing with a focus on machine learning and risk analytics.

    • Quantum Benchmark – Quantum Benchmark is a venture-backed software company led by a team of the top research scientists and engineers in quantum computing, with headquarters in Kitchener-Waterloo, Canada. Quantum Benchmark provides solutions that enable error characterization, error mitigation, error correction and performance validation for quantum computing hardware.

    • QC Ware – Based in Palo Alto, Calif., QC Ware develops hardware-agnostic enterprise software solutions running on quantum computers. QC Ware’s investors include Airbus Ventures, DE Shaw Ventures and Alchemist, and it has relationships with NASA and other government agencies. QC Ware won a NSF grant, and its customers include Fortune 500 industrial and technology companies.

    • Q-CTRL – This Sydney, Australia-based startup’s hardware agnostic platform – Black Opal – gives users the ability to design and deploy the most effective controls to suppress errors in their quantum hardware before they accumulate. Q-CTRL is backed by Main Sequence Ventures and Horizons Ventures.

    • Cambridge Quantum Computing (CQC) – Established in 2014 in the UK, CQC combines expertise in quantum information processing, quantum technologies, artificial intelligence, quantum chemistry, optimization and pattern recognition. CQC designs solutions such as a proprietary platform agnostic compiler that will allow developers and users to benefit from quantum computing even in its earliest forms. CQC also has a growing focus in quantum technologies that relate to encryption and security.

    • 1QBit – Headquartered in Vancouver, Canada, and founded in 2012, 1Qbit develops general purpose algorithms for quantum computing hardware. The company’s hardware-agnostic platforms and services are designed to enable the development of applications which scale alongside the advances in both classical and quantum computers. 1QBit is backed by Fujitsu Limited, CME Ventures, Accenture, Allianz and The Royal Bank of Scotland.

    See the full article here .

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  • richardmitnick 1:31 pm on March 29, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Inelastic neutron scattering, Nanomagnets, , , , Quantum Computing, , The possibility of producing qubits from organometallic molecules with a single magnetic ion in each molecule   

    From Niels Bohr Institute: “Neutron scattering brings us a step closer to the quantum computer” 

    Niels Bohr Institute bloc

    Niels Bohr Institute

    29 March 2018

    Mikkel Agerbæk Sørensen,
    Ph.D.-student, Department of Chemistry, University of Copenhagen

    Ursula Bengård Hansen,
    Postdoc, X-ray and Neutron Science
    Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen
    +45 60 47 86 15

    Kim Lefmann,
    Lektor, X-ray and Neutron Science
    Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen
    +45 29 25 04 76

    Jesper Bendix,
    Professor, Kemisk Institut, University of Copenhagen
    +45 35 32 01 01

    Quantum computers:

    A major challenge for future quantum computers is that you have to keep the quantum information long enough to make calculations on it – but the information only has a very short lifespan, often less than a microsecond. Now researchers at the Niels Bohr Institute and the Department of Chemistry at the University of Copenhagen, in collaboration with a team of international researchers, have come closer to a solution. The results are published in the renowned journal Nature Communications.

    PhD student Mikkel Agerbæk Sørensen from the Department of Chemistry and Postdoc Ursula Bengård Hansen from the research group X-ray and Neutron Science at the Niels Bohr Institute shows a 3D model of the studied molecule. By making small changes in the form of the molecule, the tunnelling can be suppressed. In the background Associate Professor Kim Lefmann and Professor Jesper Bendix. Photo: Ola J. Joensen.

    In order to build the quantum computer of the future, you need to be able to store the quantum information – what we call “quantum bits” or “qubits” – (which corresponds to bits and bytes in a traditional computer). Several research groups are experimenting with different ideas for how this can be done in practice.

    A team of chemists and physicists from the Niels Bohr Institute and the Department of Chemistry at the University of Copenhagen, as well as collaborators from Germany, France, Switzerland, Spain and the United States, have studied the possibility of producing qubits from organometallic molecules with a single magnetic ion in each molecule.

    In these “nanomagnets” there is the particular challenge that random movements in the outside world can interfere with the magnetic ions, so that the quantum information is lost before you can manage to perform calculations with it. Even at ultra-low temperatures just above absolute zero (0.05 Kelvin), where all motion “normally” stops, the system can still be subjected to quantum mechanical disturbances, also known as “tunnelling”.

    Mikkel Agerbæk Sørensen, who is the first author of the study, explains that suppressing the tunnelling is considered one of the greatest challenges in the production of new nanomagnets with actual application possibilities: “there are several theoretical models for how to suppress the tunnelling in such molecule-based magnets. With this study, we are the first to have been able to prove the leading model experimentally.”

    Changes in the form of the molecule are part of the solution

    There is still a long way to go to be able to use these nanomagnets in a practical quantum computer, but the researchers have now discovered another “control lever”, namely the geometric form of the molecule that can be used to get closer to the goal. With the construction of the largest neutron facility (ESS) in Lund, Sweden, researchers will have better opportunities to measure and understand tunnelling, thus getting closer to controlling it – and ultimately pave the way for quantum computing.

    In order to understand the quantum behavior of a molecule-based magnet, it is necessary to measure the energy levels of the molecule very accurately. This is best done with the so-called inelastic neutron scattering. Such experiments can only be done using instruments located at major international research facilities. With the performance of ESS, researchers at the University of Copenhagen will have even better opportunities to conduct such studies. Here Mikkel Agerbæk Sørensen at the entrance of the instrument IN6 at the Institute Laue-Langevin in Grenoble.

    See the full article here .

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    The Niels Bohr Institute (Danish: Niels Bohr Institutet) is a research institute of the University of Copenhagen. The research of the institute spans astronomy, geophysics, nanotechnology, particle physics, quantum mechanics and biophysics.

    The Institute was founded in 1921, as the Institute for Theoretical Physics of the University of Copenhagen, by the Danish theoretical physicist Niels Bohr, who had been on the staff of the University of Copenhagen since 1914, and who had been lobbying for its creation since his appointment as professor in 1916. On the 80th anniversary of Niels Bohr’s birth – October 7, 1965 – the Institute officially became The Niels Bohr Institute.[1] Much of its original funding came from the charitable foundation of the Carlsberg brewery, and later from the Rockefeller Foundation.[2]

    During the 1920s, and 1930s, the Institute was the center of the developing disciplines of atomic physics and quantum physics. Physicists from across Europe (and sometimes further abroad) often visited the Institute to confer with Bohr on new theories and discoveries. The Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics is named after work done at the Institute during this time.

    On January 1, 1993 the institute was fused with the Astronomic Observatory, the Ørsted Laboratory and the Geophysical Institute. The new resulting institute retained the name Niels Bohr Institute.

  • richardmitnick 9:05 pm on March 19, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , Quantum Computing,   

    From LLNL: “Breaking the Law: Lawrence Livermore, Department of Energy look to shatter Moore’s Law through quantum computing” 

    Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

    March 19, 2018
    Jeremy Thomas

    Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory physicist Jonathan DuBois, who heads the Lab’s Quantum Coherent Device Physics (QCDP) group, examines a prototype quantum computing device designed to solve quantum simulation problems. The device is kept inside a refrigerated vacuum tube (gold-plated to provide solid thermal matching) at temperatures colder than outer space. Photos by Carrie Martin/LLNL.

    The laws of quantum physics impact daily life in rippling undercurrents few people are aware of, from the batteries in our smartphones to the energy generated from solar panels. As the Department of Energy and its national laboratories explore the frontiers of quantum science, such as calculating the energy levels of a single atom or how molecules fit together, more powerful tools are a necessity.

    “The problem basically gets worse the larger the physical system gets — if you get beyond a simple molecule we have no way of resolving those kinds of energy differences,” said Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) physicist Jonathan DuBois, who heads the Lab’s Quantum Coherent Device Physics (QCDP) group. “From a physics perspective, we’re getting more and more amazing, highly controlled physics experiments, and if you tried to simulate what they were doing on a classical computer, it’s almost at the point where it would be kind of impossible.”

    In classical computing, Moore’s Law postulates that the number of transistors in an integrated circuit doubles approximately every two years. However, there are indications that Moore’s Law is slowing down and will eventually hit a wall. That’s where quantum computing comes in. Besides busting through the barriers of Moore’s Law, some are banking on quantum computing as the next evolutionary step in computers. It’s on the priority list for the National Nuclear Security Administration’s Advanced Simulation and Computing (ASC) program,,which is investigating quantum computing, among other emerging technologies, through its “Beyond Moore’s Law” project. At LLNL, staff scientists DuBois and Eric Holland are leading the effort to develop a comprehensive co-design strategy for near-term application of quantum computing technology to outstanding grand challenge problems in the NNSA mission space.

    Whereas the desktop computers we’re all familiar with store information in binary forms of either a 1 or a zero (on or off), in a quantum system, information can be stored in superpositions, meaning that for a brief moment, mere nanoseconds, data in a quantum bit can exist as either one or zero before being projected into a classical binary state. Theoretically, these machines could solve certain complex problems much faster than any computers ever created before. While classical computers perform functions in serial (generating one answer at a time), quantum computers could potentially perform functions and store data in a highly parallelized way, exponentially increasing speed, performance and storage capacity.

    LLNL recently brought on line a full capability quantum computing lab and testbed facility under the leadership of quantum coherent device group member Eric Holland. Researchers are performing tests on a prototype quantum device birthed under the Lab’s Quantum Computing Strategic Initiative. The initiative, now in its third year, is funded by Laboratory Directed Research & Development (LDRD) and aims to design, fabricate, characterize and build quantum coherent devices. The building and demonstration piece is made possible by DOE’s Advanced Scientific Computing Research (ASCR), a program managed by DOE’s Office of Science that is actively engaged in exploring if and how quantum computation could be useful for DOE applications.

    LLNL researchers are developing algorithms for solving quantum simulation problems on the prototype device, which looks deceptively simple and very strange. It’s a cylindrical metal box, with a sapphire chip suspended in it. The box is kept inside a refrigerated vacuum tube (gold-plated to provide solid thermal matching) at temperatures colder than outer space — negative 460 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s highly superconductive and faces zero resistance in the vacuum, thus extending the lifetime of the superposition state.

    “It’s a perfect electrical conductor, so if you can send an excitation inside here, you’ll get electromagnetic (EM) modes inside the box,” DuBois explained. “We’re using the space inside the box, the quantized EM fields, to store and manipulate quantum information, and the little chip couples to fields and manipulates them, determining the fine splitting in energies between different quantum states. These energy differences are what you use to make changes in quantum space.”

    To “talk” to the box, researchers are using an arbitrary wave form generator, which creates an oscillating signal– the timing of the signal determines what computation is being done in system. DuBois said the physicists are essentially building a quantum solver for Schrödinger’s equation, the bases for almost all physics and the determining factor for the dynamics of a quantum computing system.

    “It turns out that’s actually very hard to solve, and the bigger the system is, the size of what you need to keep track of blows up exponentially,” DuBois said. “The argument here is we can build a system that does that naturally — nature is basically keeping track of all those degrees of freedom for us, and so if we can control it carefully we can get it to basically emulate the quantum dynamics of some problem we’re interested in, a charge transfer in quantum chemistry or biology problem or scattering problem in nuclear physics.”

    Finding out how the device will work is part of the mission of DOE’s Advanced Quantum-Enabled Simulation (AQuES) Testbed Pathfinder program, which is analyzing several different approaches to creating a functional, useful quantum computer for basic science and use in areas such as determining nuclear scattering rates, the electronic structure in molecules or condensed matter or understanding the energy levels in solar panels. In 2017, DOE awarded $1.5 million over three years to a team including DuBois and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory physicists Irfan Siddiqi and Jonathan Carter. The team wants to determine the underlying technology for a quantum system, develop a practical, usable quantum computer and build quantum capabilities at the national labs to solve real-world problems.

    The science of quantum computing, according to DuBois, is “at a turning point.” Within the three-year timeframe, he said, the team should be able to assess what type of quantum system is worth pursuing as a testbed system. The researchers first want to demonstrate control over a quantum computer and solve specific quantum dynamics problems. Then, they want to set up a user facility or cloud-based system that any user could log into and solve complex quantum physics problems.

    “There are multiple competing approaches to quantum computing; trapping ions, semiconducting systems, etc., and all have their quirks — none of them are really at the point where it’s actually a quantum computer,” DuBois said. “The hardware side, which is what this is, the question is, ‘what are the first technologies that we can deploy that will help bridge the gap between what actually exists in the lab and how people are thinking of these systems as theoretical objects?'”

    Quantum computers have come a long way since the first superconducting quantum bit, or “qubit,” was created in 1999. In last nearly 20 years, quantum systems have improved exponentially, evidenced by the life span of the qubit’s superposition, or how long it takes the qubit to decay into 0 or 1. In 1999 that figure was a nanosecond. Currently, systems are up to tens to hundreds of milliseconds, which may not sound like much, but every year, the lifetime of the quantum bit has doubled.

    For the Testbed project, LLNL’s first generation quantum device will be roughly 20 qubits, DuBois said, large enough to be interesting, but small enough to be useful. A system of that size could potentially reduce the time it takes for most current supercomputing systems to perform quantum dynamics calculations from about a day down to mere microseconds, DuBois said. To get to that point, LLNL and LBNL physicists will need to understand how to design systems that can extend the quantum state.

    “It needs to last long enough to be quantum and it needs to be controllable,” DuBois said. “There’s a spectrum to that; the bigger the space is, the more powerful it has to be. Then there’s how controllable it would be. The finest level of control would be to change the value to anything I want. That’s what we’re aiming for, but there’s a competition involved. We want to hit that sweet spot.”

    See the full article here .

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  • richardmitnick 10:33 am on March 11, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Bristlecone, Google moves toward quantum supremacy with 72-qubit computer, Quantum Computing   

    From ScienceNews: “Google moves toward quantum supremacy with 72-qubit computer” 


    March 5, 2018
    Emily Conover

    IBM and Intel recently debuted similarly sized chips.

    QUANTUM UPGRADE Google’s 72-qubit quantum chip (shown) could become the first to perform a calculation impossible for traditional computers. Erik Lucero

    Researchers from Google are testing a quantum computer with 72 quantum bits, or qubits, scientists reported March 5 at a meeting of the American Physical Society — a big step up from the company’s previous nine-qubit chip.

    The team hopes to use the larger quantum chip to demonstrate quantum supremacy for the first time, performing a calculation that is impossible with traditional computers (SN: 7/8/17, p. 28), Google physicist Julian Kelly reported.

    Achieving quantum supremacy requires a computer of more than 50 qubits, but scientists are still struggling to control so many finicky quantum entities at once. Unlike standard bits that take on a value of 0 or 1, a qubit can be 0, 1 or a mashup of the two, thanks to a quantum quirk known as superposition.

    Nicknamed Bristlecone because its qubits are arranged in a pattern resembling a pinecone’s scales, the computer is now being put through its paces. “We’re just starting testing,” says physicist John Martinis of Google and the University of California, Santa Barbara. “From what we know so far, we’re very optimistic.” The quantum supremacy demonstration could come within a few months if everything works well, Martinis says.

    Google is one of several companies working to make quantum computers a reality. IBM announced it was testing a 50-qubit quantum computer in November 2017 (SN Online: 11/10/17), and Intel announced a 49-qubit test chip in January.

    Engineering superconducting qubit arrays for quantum supremacy

    See the full article here .

    Science News is edited for an educated readership of professionals, scientists and other science enthusiasts. Written by a staff of experienced science journalists, it treats science as news, reporting accurately and placing findings in perspective. Science News and its writers have won many awards for their work; here’s a list of many of them.

    Published since 1922, the biweekly print publication reaches about 90,000 dedicated subscribers and is available via the Science News app on Android, Apple and Kindle Fire devices. Updated continuously online, the Science News website attracted over 12 million unique online viewers in 2016.

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  • richardmitnick 8:42 am on March 9, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , MIT’s interdisciplinary Quantum Engineering Group (QEG), Quantum Computing, , Scientists gain new visibility into quantum information transfer   

    From MIT: “Scientists gain new visibility into quantum information transfer” 

    MIT News

    MIT Widget

    MIT News

    March 8, 2018
    Peter Dunn | Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering

    The NMR spectrometer in the Quantum Engineering Group (QEG) lab. Image: Paola Cappellaro.

    Quantum many-body correlations in a spin chain grow from an initial localized state in the absence of disorder, but are restricted to a finite size by disorder, as measured by the average correlation length. Image: Paola Cappellaro.

    Advance holds promise for “wiring” of quantum computers and other systems, and opens new avenues for understanding basic workings of the quantum realm.

    When we talk about “information technology,” we generally mean the technology part, like computers, networks, and software. But information itself, and its behavior in quantum systems, is a central focus for MIT’s interdisciplinary Quantum Engineering Group (QEG) as it seeks to develop quantum computing and other applications of quantum technology.

    A QEG team has provided unprecedented visibility into the spread of information in large quantum mechanical systems, via a novel measurement methodology and metric described in a new article in Physics Review Letters. The team has been able, for the first time, to measure the spread of correlations among quantum spins in fluorapatite crystal, using an adaptation of room-temperature solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) techniques.

    Researchers increasingly believe that a clearer understanding of information spreading is not only essential to understanding the workings of the quantum realm, where classical laws of physics often do not apply, but could also help engineer the internal “wiring” of quantum computers, sensors, and other devices.

    One key quantum phenomenon is nonclassical correlation, or entanglement, in which pairs or groups of particles interact such that their physical properties cannot be described independently, even when the particles are widely separated.

    That relationship is central to a rapidly advancing field in physics, quantum information theory. It posits a new thermodynamic perspective in which information and energy are linked — in other words, that information is physical, and that quantum-level sharing of information underlies the universal tendency toward entropy and thermal equilibrium, known in quantum systems as thermalization.

    QEG head Paola Cappellaro, the Esther and Harold E. Edgerton Associate Professor of Nuclear Science and Engineering, co-authored the new paper with physics graduate student Ken Xuan Wei and longtime collaborator Chandrasekhar Ramanathan of Dartmouth College.

    Cappellaro explains that a primary aim of the research was measuring the quantum-level struggle between two states of matter: thermalization and localization, a state in which information transfer is restricted and the tendency toward higher entropy is somehow resisted through disorder. The QEG team’s work centered on the complex problem of many-body localization (MBL) where the role of spin-spin interactions is critical.

    The ability to gather this data experimentally in a lab is a breakthrough, in part because simulation of quantum systems and localization-thermalization transitions is extremely difficult even for today’s most powerful computers. “The size of the problem becomes intractable very quickly, when you have interactions,” says Cappellaro. “You can simulate perhaps 12 spins using brute force but that’s about it — far fewer than the experimental system is capable of exploring.”

    NMR techniques can reveal the existence of correlations among spins, as correlated spins rotate faster under applied magnetic fields than isolated spins. However, traditional NMR experiments can only extract partial information about correlations. The QEG researchers combined those techniques with their knowledge of the spin dynamics in their crystal, whose geometry approximately confines the evolution to linear spin chains.

    “That approach allowed us to figure out a metric, average correlation length, for how many spins are connected to each other in a chain,” says Cappellaro. “If the correlation is growing, it tells you that interaction is winning against the disorder that’s causing localization. If the correlation length stops growing, disorder is winning and keeping the system in a more quantum localized state.”

    In addition to being able to distinguish between different types of localization (such as MBL and the simpler Anderson localization), the method also represents a possible advance toward the ability to control of these systems through the introduction of disorder, which promotes localization, Cappellaro adds. Because MBL preserves information and prevents it from becoming scrambled, it has potential for memory applications.

    The research’s focus “addresses a very fundamental question about the foundation of thermodynamics, the question of why systems thermalize and even why the notion of temperature exists at all,” says former MIT postdoc Iman Marvian, who is now an assistant professor in Duke University’s departments of Physics and Electrical and Computer Engineering. “Over the last 10 years or so there’s been mounting evidence, from analytical arguments to numerical simulations, that even though different parts of the system are interacting with each other, in the MBL phase systems don’t thermalize. And it is very exciting that we can now observe this in an actual experiment.”

    “People have proposed different ways to detect this phase of matter, but they’re difficult to measure in a lab,” Marvian explains. “Paola’s group studied it from a new point of view and introduced quantities that can be measured. I’m really impressed at how they’ve been able to extract useful information about MBL from these NMR experiments. It’s great progress, because it makes it possible to experiment with MBL on a natural crystal.”

    The research was able to leverage NMR-related capabilities developed under a previous grant from the US Air Force, says Cappellaro, and some additional funding from the National Science Foundation. Prospects for this research area are promising, she adds. “For a long time, most many-body quantum research was focused on equilibrium properties. Now, because we can do many more experiments and would like to engineer quantum systems, there’s much more interest in dynamics, and new programs devoted to this general area. So hopefully we can get more funding and continue the work.”

    See the full article here .

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  • richardmitnick 4:14 pm on March 7, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Quantum Computing, , ,   

    From University of New South Wales: “Seeing is believing – precision atom qubits achieve major milestone” 

    U NSW bloc

    University of New South Wales

    07 Mar 2018
    Deborah Smith

    The unique Australian approach of creating quantum bits from precisely positioned individual atoms in silicon is reaping major rewards, with two of these atom qubits made to “talk” to each other for the first time.

    Scientia Professor Michelle Simmons with a scanning tunnelling microscope. Credit: UNSW

    The unique Australian approach of creating quantum bits from precisely positioned individual atoms in silicon is reaping major rewards, with UNSW Sydney-led scientists showing for the first time that they can make two of these atom qubits “talk” to each other.

    The team – led by UNSW Scientia Professor Michelle Simmons, Director of the Centre of Excellence for Quantum Computation and Communication Technology, or CQC2T – is the only group in the world that has the ability to see the exact position of their qubits in the solid state.

    Simmons’ team create the atom qubits by precisely positioning and encapsulating individual phosphorus atoms within a silicon chip. Information is stored on the quantum spin of a single phosphorus electron.

    The team’s latest advance – the first observation of controllable interactions between two of these qubits – is published in the journal Nature Communications. It follows two other recent breakthroughs using this unique approach to building a quantum computer.

    By optimising their nano-manufacturing process, Simmons’ team has also recently created quantum circuitry with the lowest recorded electrical noise of any semiconductor device.

    And they have created an electron spin qubit with the longest lifetime ever reported in a nano-electric device – 30 seconds.

    “The combined results from these three research papers confirm the extremely promising prospects for building multi-qubit systems using our atom qubits,” says Simmons.

    2018 Australian of the Year inspired by Richard Feynman

    Simmons, who was named 2018 Australian of the Year in January for her pioneering quantum computing research, says her team’s ground-breaking work is inspired by the late physicist Richard Feynman.

    “Feynman said: ‘What I cannot create, I do not understand’. We are enacting that strategy systematically, from the ground up, atom by atom,” says Simmons.

    “In placing our phosphorus atoms in the silicon to make a qubit, we have demonstrated that we can use a scanning probe to directly measure the atom’s wave function, which tells us its exact physical location in the chip. We are the only group in the world who can actually see where our qubits are.

    “Our competitive advantage is that we can put our high-quality qubit where we want it in the chip, see what we’ve made, and then measure how it behaves. We can add another qubit nearby and see how the two wave functions interact. And then we can start to generate replicas of the devices we have created,” she says.

    A scanning tunnelling microscope image showing the electron wave function of a qubit made from a phosphorus atom precisely positioned in silicon. Credit: UNSW

    For the new study, the team placed two qubits – one made of two phosphorus atoms and one made of a single phosphorus atom – 16 nanometres apart in a silicon chip.

    “Using electrodes that were patterned onto the chip with similar precision techniques, we were able to control the interactions between these two neighbouring qubits, so the quantum spins of their electrons became correlated,” says study lead co-author, Dr Matthew Broome, formerly of UNSW and now at the University of Copenhagen.

    “It was fascinating to watch. When the spin of one electron is pointing up, the other points down, and vice versa.

    “This is a major milestone for the technology. These type of spin correlations are the precursor to the entangled states that are necessary for a quantum computer to function and carry out complex calculations,” he says.

    Study lead co-author, UNSW’s Sam Gorman, says: “Theory had predicted the two qubits would need to be placed 20 nanometres apart to see this correlation effect. But we found it occurs at only 16 nanometres apart.

    “In our quantum world, this is a very big difference,” he says. “It is also brilliant, as an experimentalist, to be challenging the theory.”

    UNSW Sydney-led scientists have shown for the first time that they can make two precisely placed phosphorous atom qubits “talk” to each other.

    Leading the race to build a quantum computer in silicon

    UNSW scientists and engineers at CQC2T are leading the world in the race to build a quantum computer in silicon. They are developing parallel patented approaches using single atom and quantum dot qubits.

    “Our hope is that both approaches will work well. That would be terrific for Australia,” says Simmons.

    The UNSW team have chosen to work in silicon because it is among the most stable and easily manufactured environments in which to host qubits, and its long history of use in the conventional computer industry means there is a vast body of knowledge about this material.

    In 2012, Simmons’ team, who use scanning tunnelling microscopes to position the individual phosphorus atoms in silicon and then molecular beam epitaxy to encapsulate them, created the world’s narrowest conducting wires, just four phosphorus atoms across and one atom high.

    In a recent paper published in the journal Nano Letters, they used similar atomic scale control techniques to produce circuitry about 2-10 nanometres wide and showed it had the lowest recorded electrical noise of any semiconductor circuitry. This work was undertaken jointly with Saquib Shamim and Arindam Ghosh of the Indian Institute of Science.

    “It’s widely accepted that electrical noise from the circuitry that controls the qubits will be a critical factor in limiting their performance,” says Simmons.

    “Our results confirm that silicon is an optimal choice, because its use avoids the problem most other devices face of having a mix of different materials, including dielectrics and surface metals, that can be the source of, and amplify, electrical noise.

    “With our precision approach we’ve achieved what we believe is the lowest electrical noise level possible for an electronic nano-device in silicon – three orders of magnitude lower than even using carbon nanotubes,” she says.

    In another recent paper in Science Advances, Simmons’ team showed their precision qubits in silicon could be engineered so the electron spin had a record lifetime of 30 seconds – up to 16 times longer than previously reported. The first author, Dr Thomas Watson, was at UNSW undertaking his PhD and is now at Delft University of Technology.

    “This is a hot topic of research,” says Simmons. “The lifetime of the electron spin – before it starts to decay, for example, from spin up to spin down – is vital. The longer the lifetime, the longer we can store information in its quantum state.”

    In the same paper, they showed that these long lifetimes allowed them to read out the electron spins of two qubits in sequence with an accuracy of 99.8 percent for each, which is the level required for practical error correction in a quantum processor.

    Australia’s first quantum computing company

    Instead of performing calculations one after another, like a conventional computer, a quantum computer would work in parallel and be able to look at all the possible outcomes at the same time. It would be able to solve problems in minutes that would otherwise take thousands of years.

    Last year, Australia’s first quantum computing company – backed by a unique consortium of governments, industry and universities – was established to commercialise CQC2T’s world-leading research.

    Operating out of new laboratories at UNSW, Silicon Quantum Computing Pty Ltd has the target of producing a 10-qubit demonstration device in silicon by 2022, as the forerunner to a silicon-based quantum computer.

    The Australian government has invested $26 million in the $83 million venture through its National Innovation and Science Agenda, with an additional $25 million coming from UNSW, $14 million from the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, $10 million from Telstra and $8.7 million from the NSW Government.

    It is estimated that industries comprising approximately 40% of Australia’s current economy could be significantly impacted by quantum computing. Possible applications include software design, machine learning, scheduling and logistical planning, financial analysis, stock market modelling, software and hardware verification, climate modelling, rapid drug design and testing, and early disease detection and prevention.

    See the full article here .

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    Welcome to UNSW Australia (The University of New South Wales), one of Australia’s leading research and teaching universities. At UNSW, we take pride in the broad range and high quality of our teaching programs. Our teaching gains strength and currency from our research activities, strong industry links and our international nature; UNSW has a strong regional and global engagement.

    In developing new ideas and promoting lasting knowledge we are creating an academic environment where outstanding students and scholars from around the world can be inspired to excel in their programs of study and research. Partnerships with both local and global communities allow UNSW to share knowledge, debate and research outcomes. UNSW’s public events include concert performances, open days and public forums on issues such as the environment, healthcare and global politics. We encourage you to explore the UNSW website so you can find out more about what we do.

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