Quantum computing is promising to be one of the biggest technological revolutions of the modern era. By harnessing the power of quantum mechanics, machines will be able to achieve data processing of speed and complexity unattainable with current computers. Traditional computers are based on a binary model on a system of switches that can be either on or off, represented with a 1 or a 0. Quantum computers are different in that their switches can be in both the on and off positions at the same time, called ‘superpositions.’ This ability to be in two simultaneous states is what makes quantum computers faster. Much faster. Google announced over two years ago that the quantum prototype they possess was 100 million times faster than any other computer in their lab. To put it another way — in the 1990’s IBM built a supercomputer named Deep Blue that defeated world chess champion Garry Kasparov. Deep Blue had an edge over Kasporov because of its ability to calculate … [Read more...] about How quantum computing could wreak havoc on cryptocurrency
Programming quantum computers
YORKTOWN HEIGHTS, NY—I'm in a room with one possible future for computing. The computer itself is completely unimposing, looking like a metal tank suspended from the ceiling. What makes an impression is the noise, a regular metallic ping that dominates the room. It's the sound of a cooling system designed to take hardware to the edge of absolute zero. And the hardware being cooled isn't a standard chip; it's IBM's take on quantum computing. In 2016, IBM made a lot of noise when it invited the public to try out an early iteration of its quantum computer, hosting only five qubits—far too few qubits to do any serious calculations but more than enough for people to gain some real-world experience with programming on the new technology. Amidst some rapid progress, IBM installed more tanks in its quantum computing room and added new processors as they were ready. As the company scaled up the number of qubits to 20, it optimistically announced that 50-qubit hardware was on its … [Read more...] about Quantum computing’s future is almost semi-here—are we ready for it?
Theoretical physics isn’t the easiest field in science to translate into laymen’s terms. Until recently it’s solely been the domain of geniuses like the late Stephen Hawking and fictional characters such as The Big Bang Theory’s Sheldon Cooper. As companies like Google, IBM, and Intel work to build quantum computer systems that offer supremacy over binary computers, it’s a good time to learn some basic terms and concepts. We’ve got you covered fam. Quantum computers are devices capable of performing computations using quantum bits, or qubits. You can learn why they’re important here, and read some fun and wacky facts about them here. Qubits The first thing we need to understand is what a qubit actually is. A “classical computer,” like the one you’re reading this on (either desktop, laptop, tablet, or phone), is also referred to as a “binary computer” because all of the functions it performs are based on either ones … [Read more...] about Understanding quantum computers: The basics
By Adrian ChoMar. 14, 2018 , 3:00 PM Los Angeles, California—For the moment, microwave photons are the keys to many quantum computers: Physicists use them to program, read out, and otherwise manipulate the machines' quantum bits. But microwave technology is bulky, and its quantum states don't last very long. Now, several groups are exploring a new way to talk to a quantum computer: with tiny vibrations, normally carriers of pesky heat and noise. The budding discipline of quantum acoustics could shake up embryonic quantum computers by miniaturizing technologies and producing longer-lasting quantum memories. "We're right on the cusp" of controlling quantum vibrations, says Andrew Cleland, a physicist at the University of Chicago in Illinois, whose group presented its latest work last week here at the annual March meeting of the American Physical Society. Whereas an ordinary computer flips bits that can be set to either zero or one, a quantum computer uses qubits that can be set to … [Read more...] about Weird vibrations poised to control quantum computers
Google has a quantum computer chip, called Bristlecone, and the company thinks it'll outdo the classical computers using today's silicon processor designs.Quantum computers, which stand to revolutionize at least part of the computing industry if anybody can ever figure out how to get them working, are benefiting from heavy investments at Google, IBM, Microsoft, Intel, D-Wave and others. Google detailed some of its plans Monday in a blog post about Bristlecone.For one thing, Google research scientist Julian Kelly said, the Bristlecone quantum computing chip has 72 qubits, the weird memory cells that endow quantum computers with their ability to store an immensely wide range of combinations of ones and zeros. For another, it should be able to outdo Google's earlier 9-qubit device when it comes to the essential technology of quantum error correction, which is key to keeping hypersensitive qubits from getting perturbed."We are cautiously optimistic that quantum supremacy can be achieved … [Read more...] about Ready for “quantum supremacy”? Google’s Bristlecone quantum computing chip could outdo ordinary machines