Back to Table of contents

Primeur weekly 2012-04-16

Exascale supercomputing

Eurotech to receive 1.2 million euro order for Aurora HPC from German Research Centre Jülich

Desktop Grids

BOINC 7.0 released to public

The Cloud

HP delivers Agility without compromise with HP Converged Cloud

IBM sets the stage for the next era of computing

Oracle expands communications portfolio with new Netra x86 servers

European Commission to issue Call for Participation for Research in Future Cloud Computing

IBM, Honda, and PG&E enable smarter charging for electric vehicles

Aimes Grid Services and Keysource to provide next generation Cloud computing data centre infrastructure

Oracle completes acquisition of Taleo

Global IT companies support IBM PureSystems

EuroFlash

First-ever model simulation of the structuring of the observable universe

Securing UK's leadership in climate science

USFlash

Terascala and Intel to showcase storage optimization for high throughput storage appliances at 2012 NAB Show

GE Global Research to partner with Livermore National Lab and Universities on supercomputing project

Groundbreaking research collaboration creates a new economic cornerstone for Canada

Paper co-authored by Indiana University cybersecurity expert among top 20 on HPDC list

Oracle achieves world record two processor result with SPECjEnterprise2010 benchmark

Oracle introduces new Sun x86 servers - the industry's best x86 platform for Oracle applications

Chronopolis earns high marks as Trustworthy Digital Repository in CRL TRAC audit

Opening the gate to robust quantum computing

Quantum computer built inside a diamond

Quantum computer built inside a diamond

4 Apr 2012 Los Angeles - Diamonds are forever - or, at least, the effects of this diamond on quantum computing may be. A team that includes scientists from the University of Southern California has built a quantum computer in a diamond, the first of its kind to include protection against "decoherence" - noise that prevents the computer from functioning properly.

The demonstration shows the viability of solid-state quantum computers, which - unlike earlier gas- and liquid-state systems - may represent the future of quantum computing because they can be easily scaled up in size. Current quantum computers are typically very small and - though impressive - cannot yet compete with the speed of larger, traditional computers.

The multinational team included USC Professor Daniel Lidar and USC postdoctoral researcher Zhihui Wang, as well as researchers from the Delft University of Technology in The Netherlands, Iowa State University and the University of California, Santa Barbara. Their findings will be published on April 5 inNature.

The team's diamond quantum computer system featured two quantum bits (called "qubits"), made of subatomic particles.

As opposed to traditional computer bits, which can encode distinctly either a one or a zero, qubits can encode a one and a zero at the same time. This property, called superposition, along with the ability of quantum states to "tunnel" through energy barriers, will some day allow quantum computers to perform optimization calculations much faster than traditional computers.

Like all diamonds, the diamond used by the researchers has impurities - things other than carbon. The more impurities in a diamond, the less attractive it is as a piece of jewelry, because it makes the crystal appear cloudy. The team, however, utilized the impurities themselves.

A rogue nitrogen nucleus became the first qubit. In a second flaw sat an electron, which became the second qubit. Though put more accurately, the "spin" of each of these subatomic particles was used as the qubit.

Electrons are smaller than nuclei and perform computations much more quickly, but also fall victim more quickly to "decoherence". A qubit based on a nucleus, which is large, is much more stable but slower.

"A nucleus has a long decoherence time – in the milliseconds. You can think of it as very sluggish", stated Daniel Lidar, who holds a joint appointment with the USC Viterbi School of Engineering and the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences.

Though solid-state computing systems have existed before, this was the first to incorporate decoherence protection - using microwave pulses to continually switch the direction of the electron spin rotation.

"It's a little like time travel", Daniel Lidar stated, because switching the direction of rotation time-reverses the inconsistencies in motion as the qubits move back to their original position.

The team was able to demonstrate that their diamond-encased system does indeed operate in a quantum fashion by seeing how closely it matched "Grover's algorithm".

The algorithm is not new - Lov Grover of Bell Labs invented it in 1996 - but it shows the promise of quantum computing.

The test is a search of an unsorted database, akin to being told to search for a name in a phone book when you've only been given the phone number.

Sometimes you'd miraculously find it on the first try, other times you might have to search through the entire book to find it. If you did the search countless times, on average, you'd find the name you were looking for after searching through half of the phone book.

Mathematically, this can be expressed by saying you'd find the correct choice in X/2 tries - if X is the number of total choices you have to search through. So, with four choices total, you'll find the correct one after two tries on average.

A quantum computer, using the properties of superposition, can find the correct choice much more quickly. The mathematics behind it are complicated, but in practical terms, a quantum computer searching through an unsorted list of four choices will find the correct choice on the first try, every time.

Though not perfect, the new computer picked the correct choice on the first try about 95 percent of the time - enough to demonstrate that it operates in a quantum fashion.

This research was funded by the National Science Foundation and the US Army Research Office's Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative.

Source: University of Southern California

Back to Table of contents

Primeur weekly 2012-04-16

Exascale supercomputing

Eurotech to receive 1.2 million euro order for Aurora HPC from German Research Centre Jülich

Desktop Grids

BOINC 7.0 released to public

The Cloud

HP delivers Agility without compromise with HP Converged Cloud

IBM sets the stage for the next era of computing

Oracle expands communications portfolio with new Netra x86 servers

European Commission to issue Call for Participation for Research in Future Cloud Computing

IBM, Honda, and PG&E enable smarter charging for electric vehicles

Aimes Grid Services and Keysource to provide next generation Cloud computing data centre infrastructure

Oracle completes acquisition of Taleo

Global IT companies support IBM PureSystems

EuroFlash

First-ever model simulation of the structuring of the observable universe

Securing UK's leadership in climate science

USFlash

Terascala and Intel to showcase storage optimization for high throughput storage appliances at 2012 NAB Show

GE Global Research to partner with Livermore National Lab and Universities on supercomputing project

Groundbreaking research collaboration creates a new economic cornerstone for Canada

Paper co-authored by Indiana University cybersecurity expert among top 20 on HPDC list

Oracle achieves world record two processor result with SPECjEnterprise2010 benchmark

Oracle introduces new Sun x86 servers - the industry's best x86 platform for Oracle applications

Chronopolis earns high marks as Trustworthy Digital Repository in CRL TRAC audit

Opening the gate to robust quantum computing

Quantum computer built inside a diamond