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Primeur weekly 2016-08-08

Focus

OpenSoC Fabric to create Open Source Network-on-Chip systems for demonstration purposes ...

ExaNoDe project is looking for chiplet solutions stacked on an active silicon interposer ...

Quantum computing

New quantum computer module sets stage for general-purpose quantum computers ...

Diamond-based light sources will lay a foundation for quantum communications of the future ...

Focus on Europe

IBM scientists imitate the functionality of neurons with a phase-change device ...

European Commission issues booklet on e-Infrastructures as the foundation of the European Open Science Cloud ...

Middleware

Bright Computing releases Version 7.3 of Bright Cluster Manager and Bright OpenStack ...

Hardware

HiPEAC community delivers video processing with up to eight times faster edge detection and 50 times faster motion detection ...

AMD open sources professional GPU-optimized photorealistic renderer ...

Curtiss-Wright collaborates with Dolphin Interconnect Solutions to dramatically increase HPEC system fabric speed ...

New UK consortium to explore use of magnetic skyrmions in data storage ...

Smallest photodetector worldwide for optical data transmission ...

Cray reports second quarter 2016 financial results and updates 2016 outlook ...

Panasas introduces ActiveStor 20 ...

World's Highest Density Deep Learning Supercomputer in a Box by Joint Creators Orange and CoCoLink Korea ...

Applications

Rail researchers select liquid cooled computing for Big Data risk analysis ...

SC16 selects industry veteran Katharine Frase as keynote speaker ...

University of Kentucky biology graduate student wins prestigious Blue Waters Fellowship ...

Partnership between University of Maryland and U.S. Army Research Laboratory harnesses the power of defense supercomputing to create opportunities for scientific discovery ...

Personalized virtual brains: Big data - big theory ...

Analysis of metastatic prostate cancers suggests treatment options ...

Penn researchers improve computer modeling for designing drug-delivery nanocarriers ...

The Cloud

5.3 million euro HNSciCloud tender for Hybrid Cloud Platform released ...

IBM captures leadership position in hybrid Cloud environment adoption, according to research firm ...

IBM named leader in private Cloud adoption by market research firm ...

New quantum computer module sets stage for general-purpose quantum computers


4 Aug 2016 College Park - A team of researchers, led by University of Maryland Physics Professor Christopher Monroe, has introduced the first fully programmable and reconfigurable quantum computer module in a paper published as the cover article in the August 4 issue of the journalNature. The new finding represents a leap in the field of quantum computers according to experts, and already is drawing significant scientific attention.

The new device, dubbed a module because of its potential to connect with copies of itself, takes advantage of the unique properties offered by trapped ions to run any algorithm - a computer programme dedicated to solving a particular problem - on five quantum bits, or qubits - the fundamental unit of information in a quantum computer. Quantum computers promise speedy solutions to some difficult problems, but building large-scale, general-purpose quantum devices is a problem fraught with technical challenges.

To date, many research groups have created small, but functional, quantum computers. By combining a handful of atoms, electrons or superconducting junctions, researchers now regularly demonstrate quantum effects and run simple quantum algorithms.

But these laboratory devices are often hard-wired to run one programme or limited to fixed patterns of interactions between their quantum constituents. Making a quantum computer that can run arbitrary algorithms requires the right kind of physical system and a suite of programming tools. Atomic ions - charged atoms, confined by fields from nearby electrodes, are among the most promising platforms for meeting these needs.

"For any computer to be useful, the user should not be required to know what's inside", stated Christopher Monroe, who is also a UMD Distinguished University Professor, the Bice Zorn Professor of Physics, and a fellow of the Joint Quantum Institute and the Joint Center for Quantum Information and Computer Science. "Very few people care what their iPhone is actually doing at the physical level. Our experiment brings high-quality quantum bits up to a higher level of functionality by allowing them to be programmed and reconfigured in software."

The new module builds on decades of research into trapping and controlling ions. It uses standard techniques but also introduces novel methods for control and measurement. This includes manipulating many ions at once using an array of tightly-focused laser beams, as well as dedicated detection channels that watch for the glow of each ion.

"These are the kinds of discoveries that the NSF Physics Frontiers Centers program is intended to enable", stated Jean Cottam Allen, a program director in the National Science Foundation's physics division. "This work is at the frontier of quantum computing, and it's helping to lay a foundation and bring practical quantum computing closer to being a reality."

The Joint Quantum Institute is a research partnership between University of Maryland (UMD) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology, with the support and participation of the Laboratory for Physical Sciences.

The team tested their module on small instances of three problems that quantum computers are known to solve quickly. Having the flexibility to test the module on a variety of problems is a major step forward, said the paper's lead author Shantanu Debnath, a graduate student at UMD and the Joint Quantum Institute. "By directly connecting any pair of qubits, we can reconfigure the system to implement any algorithm", Shantanu Debnath stated. "While it's just five qubits, we know how to apply the same technique to much larger collections."

At the module's heart, though, is something that's not even quantum: A database stores the best shapes for the laser pulses that drive quantum logic gates, the building blocks of quantum algorithms. Those shapes are calculated ahead of time using a regular computer, and the module uses software to translate an algorithm into the pulses in the database.

Every quantum algorithm consists of three basic ingredients. First, the qubits are prepared in a particular state; second, they undergo a sequence of quantum logic gates; and last, a quantum measurement extracts the algorithm's output.

The module performs these tasks using different colours of laser light. One colour prepares the ions using a technique called optical pumping, in which each qubit is illuminated until it sits in the proper quantum energy state. The same laser helps read out the quantum state of each atomic ion at the end of the process. In between, a separate laser strikes the ions to drive quantum logic gates.

These gates are like the switches and transistors that power ordinary computers. Here, lasers push on the ions and couple their internal qubit information to their motion, allowing any two ions in the module to interact via their strong electrical repulsion. Two ions from across the chain notice each other through this electrical interaction, just as raising and releasing one ball in a Newton's cradle transfers energy to the other side.

The re-configurability of the laser beams is a key advantage, Shantanu Debnath stated. "By reducing an algorithm into a series of laser pulses that push on the appropriate ions, we can reconfigure the wiring between these qubits from the outside", he stated. "It becomes a software problem, and no other quantum computing architecture has this flexibility."

To test the module, the team ran three different quantum algorithms, including a demonstration of a Quantum Fourier Transform (QFT), which finds how often a given mathematical function repeats. It is a key piece in Shor's quantum factoring algorithm, which would break some of the most widely-used security standards on the internet if run on a big enough quantum computer.

Two of the algorithms ran successfully more than 90 percent of the time, while the QFT topped out at a 70 percent success rate. The team says that this is due to residual errors in the pulse-shaped gates as well as systematic errors that accumulate over the course of the computation, neither of which appear fundamentally insurmountable. They note that the QFT algorithm requires all possible two-qubit gates and should be among the most complicated quantum calculations.

The team believes that eventually more qubits - perhaps as many as 100 - could be added to their quantum computer module. It is also possible to link separate modules together, either by physically moving the ions or by using photons to carry information between them.

Although the module has only five qubits, its flexibility allows for programming quantum algorithms that have never been run before, Shantanu Debnath said. The researchers are now looking to run algorithms on a module with more qubits, including the demonstration of quantum error correction routines as part of a project funded by the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity.

The paper is titled Demonstration of a small programmable quantum computer with atomic qubits .
Source: University of Maryland

Back to Table of contents

Primeur weekly 2016-08-08

Focus

OpenSoC Fabric to create Open Source Network-on-Chip systems for demonstration purposes ...

ExaNoDe project is looking for chiplet solutions stacked on an active silicon interposer ...

Quantum computing

New quantum computer module sets stage for general-purpose quantum computers ...

Diamond-based light sources will lay a foundation for quantum communications of the future ...

Focus on Europe

IBM scientists imitate the functionality of neurons with a phase-change device ...

European Commission issues booklet on e-Infrastructures as the foundation of the European Open Science Cloud ...

Middleware

Bright Computing releases Version 7.3 of Bright Cluster Manager and Bright OpenStack ...

Hardware

HiPEAC community delivers video processing with up to eight times faster edge detection and 50 times faster motion detection ...

AMD open sources professional GPU-optimized photorealistic renderer ...

Curtiss-Wright collaborates with Dolphin Interconnect Solutions to dramatically increase HPEC system fabric speed ...

New UK consortium to explore use of magnetic skyrmions in data storage ...

Smallest photodetector worldwide for optical data transmission ...

Cray reports second quarter 2016 financial results and updates 2016 outlook ...

Panasas introduces ActiveStor 20 ...

World's Highest Density Deep Learning Supercomputer in a Box by Joint Creators Orange and CoCoLink Korea ...

Applications

Rail researchers select liquid cooled computing for Big Data risk analysis ...

SC16 selects industry veteran Katharine Frase as keynote speaker ...

University of Kentucky biology graduate student wins prestigious Blue Waters Fellowship ...

Partnership between University of Maryland and U.S. Army Research Laboratory harnesses the power of defense supercomputing to create opportunities for scientific discovery ...

Personalized virtual brains: Big data - big theory ...

Analysis of metastatic prostate cancers suggests treatment options ...

Penn researchers improve computer modeling for designing drug-delivery nanocarriers ...

The Cloud

5.3 million euro HNSciCloud tender for Hybrid Cloud Platform released ...

IBM captures leadership position in hybrid Cloud environment adoption, according to research firm ...

IBM named leader in private Cloud adoption by market research firm ...