IBM: We’re on the cusp of the Quantum Computing revolutionPosted by _MD_ on Feb 29, 2012 in Web News | 2 comments
Technology’s holy grail is the development of a “perfect” Quantum Computer. Traditional computers recognize information as bits: binary information representing “On” or “Off” states. A quantum computer uses qubits: operating in superposition, a qubit exists in all states simultaneously — not just “On” or “Off,” but every possible state in-between. It would theoretically be able to instantly access every piece of information at the same time, meaning that a 250 qubit computer would contain more data than there are particles in the universe. IBM thinks it’s closer than ever to realizing this dream and if you want to know more, click ‘read more’.
The system has serious ramifications in the fields of science, technology, medicine and security — the latter because it can try every conceivable password to access a system within a second. However, for now, this computer remains science fiction rather than science fact. In the same way that you understand the Copenhagen interpretation of Quantum Physics, qubits are negatively affected by both observation and interaction — the vulnerability of these materials to interference from heat, radiation and defective materials means you can’t trust the answers it provides, called quantum decoherence. Being able to produce a qubit of sufficient “integrity” that you can trust the results is what has eluded scientists for decades.
In a few short hours, however, IBM is going to present three brand-new records to the American Physical Society that could change all of that. Using its R&D know-how, and some of the world’s most powerful freezers, it’s developed methods of easily building, maintaining and even increasing the integrity of a qubit to the point that it’s now very close to the minimum standard required by the research community. David DiVincenzo, professor at the Institute of Quantum Information thinks that the company is “nearly at the tipping point.”
Taking technology developed at Yale, its three dimensional superconducting qubit was able to extend the duration of each qubit’s quantum state to up to 100 microseconds: a short time for you and me, but a lifetime for a computer that theoretically knows everything. The papers, entitled “Superconducting qubit in waveguide cavity with coherence time approaching 0.1ms” and “Complete universal quantum gate set approaching fault-tolerant thresholds with superconducting qubits” will be made available after the presentation later this morning and it’s hoped that scientists can now concentrate upon error correction schemes to further enhance the technology. Part of the revelation is that IBM built the qubits using traditional commercial chip fabrication technology: meaning that if the final ceiling is breached, it would be possible to mass-produce the technology very rapidly at scale.