Category Archives: Quantum Computer

Google claims to have invented a quantum computer, but IBM begs to differ – The Conversation CA

On Oct. 23, 2019, Google published a paper in the journal Nature entitled Quantum supremacy using a programmable superconducting processor. The tech giant announced its achievement of a much vaunted goal: quantum supremacy.

This perhaps ill-chosen term (coined by physicist John Preskill) is meant to convey the huge speedup that processors based on quantum-mechanical systems are predicted to exhibit, relative to even the fastest classical computers.

Googles benchmark was achieved on a new type of quantum processor, code-named Sycamore, consisting of 54 independently addressable superconducting junction devices (of which only 53 were working for the demonstration).

Each of these devices allows the storage of one bit of quantum information. In contrast to the bits in a classical computer, which can only store one of two states (0 or 1 in the digital language of binary code), a quantum bit qbit can store information in a coherent superposition state which can be considered to contain fractional amounts of both 0 and 1.

Sycamore uses technology developed by the superconductivity research group of physicist John Martinis at the University of California, Santa Barbara. The entire Sycamore system must be kept cold at cryogenic temperatures using special helium dilution refrigeration technology. Because of the immense challenge involved in keeping such a large system near the absolute zero of temperature, it is a technological tour de force.

The Google researchers demonstrated that the performance of their quantum processor in sampling the output of a pseudo-random quantum circuit was vastly better than a classical computer chip like the kind in our laptops could achieve. Just how vastly became a point of contention, and the story was not without intrigue.

An inadvertent leak of the Google groups paper on the NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS) occurred a month prior to publication, during the blackout period when Nature prohibits discussion by the authors regarding as-yet-unpublished papers. The lapse was momentary, but long enough that The Financial Times, The Verge and other outlets picked up the story.

A well-known quantum computing blog by computer scientist Scott Aaronson contained some oblique references to the leak. The reason for this obliqueness became clear when the paper was finally published online and Aaronson could at last reveal himself to be one of the reviewers.

The story had a further controversial twist when the Google groups claims were immediately countered by IBMs quantum computing group. IBM shared a preprint posted on the ArXiv (an online repository for academic papers that have yet to go through peer review) and a blog post dated Oct. 21, 2019 (note the date!).

While the Google group had claimed that a classical (super)computer would require 10,000 years to simulate the same 53-qbit random quantum circuit sampling task that their Sycamore processor could do in 200 seconds, the IBM researchers showed a method that could reduce the classical computation time to a mere matter of days.

However, the IBM classical computation would have to be carried out on the worlds fastest supercomputer the IBM-developed Summit OLCF-4 at Oak Ridge National Labs in Tennessee with clever use of secondary storage to achieve this benchmark.

While of great interest to researchers like myself working on hardware technologies related to quantum information, and important in terms of establishing academic bragging rights, the IBM-versus-Google aspect of the story is probably less relevant to the general public interested in all things quantum.

For the average citizen, the mere fact that a 53-qbit device could beat the worlds fastest supercomputer (containing more than 10,000 multi-core processors) is undoubtedly impressive. Now we must try to imagine what may come next.

The reality of quantum computing today is that very impressive strides have been made on the hardware front. A wide array of credible quantum computing hardware platforms now exist, including ion traps, superconducting device arrays similar to those in Googles Sycamore system and isolated electrons trapped in NV-centres in diamond.

These and other systems are all now in play, each with benefits and drawbacks. So far researchers and engineers have been making steady technological progress in developing these different hardware platforms for quantum computing.

What has lagged quite a bit behind are custom-designed algorithms (computer programs) designed to run on quantum computers and able to take full advantage of possible quantum speed-ups. While several notable quantum algorithms exist Shors algorithm for factorization, for example, which has applications in cryptography, and Grovers algorithm, which might prove useful in database search applications the total set of quantum algorithms remains rather small.

Much of the early interest (and funding) in quantum computing was spurred by the possibility of quantum-enabled advances in cryptography and code-breaking. A huge number of online interactions ranging from confidential communications to financial transactions require secure and encrypted messages, and modern cryptography relies on the difficulty of factoring large numbers to achieve this encryption.

Quantum computing could be very disruptive in this space, as Shors algorithm could make code-breaking much faster, while quantum-based encryption methods would allow detection of any eavesdroppers.

The interest various agencies have in unbreakable codes for secure military and financial communications has been a major driver of research in quantum computing. It is worth noting that all these code-making and code-breaking applications of quantum computing ignore to some extent the fact that no system is perfectly secure; there will always be a backdoor, because there will always be a non-quantum human element that can be compromised.

More appealing for the non-espionage and non-hacker communities in other words, the rest of us are the possible applications of quantum computation to solve very difficult problems that are effectively unsolvable using classical computers.

Ironically, many of these problems emerge when we try to use classical computers to solve quantum-mechanical problems, such as quantum chemistry problems that could be relevant for drug design and various challenges in condensed matter physics including a number related to high-temperature superconductivity.

So where are we in the wonderful and wild world of quantum computation?

In recent years, we have had many convincing demonstrations that qbits can be created, stored, manipulated and read using a number of futuristic-sounding quantum hardware platforms. But the algorithms lag. So while the prospect of quantum computing is fascinating, it will likely be a long time before we have quantum equivalents of the silicon chips that power our versatile modern computing devices.

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Google claims to have invented a quantum computer, but IBM begs to differ - The Conversation CA

Xanadu Receives $4.4M Investment from SDTC to Advance its Photonic Quantum Computing Technology – Quantaneo, the Quantum Computing Source

Xanadu, a Canadian quantum hardware and technology company has received a $4.4M investment from Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC). The investment will expedite the development of Xanadu's photonic quantum computers and make them available over the cloud. This project will also further the company's overall progress towards the construction of energy-efficient universal quantum computers.

"Canadian cleantech entrepreneurs are tackling problems across Canada and in every sector. I have never been more positive about the future. The quantum hardware technology that Xanadu is building will develop quantum computers with the ability to solve extremely challenging computational problems, completing chemical calculations in minutes which would otherwise require a million CPUs in a data center," said Leah Lawrence, President and CEO, Sustainable Development Technology Canada.

Despite efforts to improve the power efficiency of traditional computing methods, the rapid growth of data centres and cloud computing presents a major source of new electricity consumption. In comparison to classical computing, quantum computing systems have the benefit of performing certain tasks and algorithms at an unprecedented rate. This will ultimately reduce the requirements for electrical power and the accompanying air and water emissions associated with electricity production.

Xanadu is developing a unique type of quantum computer, based on photonic technology, which is inherently more power-efficient than electronics. Xanadu's photonic approach uses laser light to carry information through optical chips, rather than the electrons or ions used by their competitors. By using photonic technology, Xanadu's quantum computers will one day have the ability to perform calculations at room temperature, and eliminate the bulky and power-hungry cooling systems required by most other types of quantum computers.

The project will be undertaken by Xanadu's team of in-house scientists, with collaboration from the University of Toronto and Swiftride. The project will be carried out over three years and will encompass the development of Xanadu's architecture, hardware, software and client interfaces with the overall goal of expediting the development of the company's technology, and demonstrating the practical benefits of quantum computing for users and customers by the end of 2022.

"We are thrilled by the recognition and support that we are receiving from SDTC for the development of our technology. We firmly believe that our unique, photonic-based approach to quantum computing will deliver both valuable insights and tangible environmental benefits for our customers and partners," said Christian Weedbrook, CEO of Xanadu.

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Xanadu Receives $4.4M Investment from SDTC to Advance its Photonic Quantum Computing Technology - Quantaneo, the Quantum Computing Source

U of T’s Peter Wittek, who will be remembered at Feb. 3 event, on why the future is quantum – News@UofT

In September of 2019, Peter Wittek, an assistant professor at the University of Toronto, went missing during a mountaineering expedition in the Himalayas after reportedly being caught in an avalanche. A search and rescue mission was launched but the conditions were very difficult and Wittek was not found.

Peters loss is keenly felt, said Professor Ken Corts, acting dean of the Rotman School of Management. He was the Founding Academic Director of the CDL Quantum Stream, a valued instructor in the MMA program, data scientist in residence with the TD Management Data and Analytics Lab, an exceptional contributor to Rotman and U of T and a wonderful colleague.

A ceremony to remember Wittek will take place on Feb. 3 from 3 to 4:30 pm in Desautels Hall at the Rotman School of Management.

Quantum computing and quantum machine learning an emerging field that counted Wittek as one of its few experts was the topic of his final interview inRotman Management Magazine. It is reprinted below:

You oversee the Creative Destruction Labs Quantum stream, which seeks entrepreneurs pursuing commercial opportunities at the intersection of quantum computing and machine learning. What do those opportunities look like?

Weve been running this stream for three years now, and we were definitely the first to do this in an organized way. However, the focus has shifted slightly. We are now interested in looking at any application of quantum computing.

These are still very early days for quantum computing. To give you a sense of where we are at, some people say its like the state of digital computing in the 1950s, but Id say its more like the 1930s. We dont even agree yet on what the architecture should look likeand, as a result, we are very limited with respect to the kind of applications we can build.

As a result, focusing on quantum is still quite risky. Nevertheless, so far we have had 45 companies complete our program. Not all of them survived, but a good dozen of them have raised funding. If you look at the general survival rate for AI start-ups, our record is roughly the same and given how new this technology is, that is pretty amazing.

What are the successful start-ups doing? Can you give an example of the type of problems theyre looking to solve?

At the moment I would say the main application areas are logistics and supply chain. Another promising area is life sciences, where all sorts of things can be optimized with this technology. For instance, one of our companies,Protein-Qure, is folding proteins with quantum computers.

Finance is another attractive area for these applications. In the last cohort we had a company that figured out a small niche problem where they had both the data and the expertise to provide something new and innovative; they are in the process of raising money right now. The other area where quantum makes a lot of sense is in material discovery. The reason we ever even thought of building these computers was to understand quantum materials, back in the 1980s. Today, one of our companies is figuring out how to discover new materials using quantum processing units instead of traditional supercomputers.

We have a company calledAgnostic, which is doing encryption and obfuscation for quantum computers. Right nowIBM,Rigetti ComputingandD-Wave Systemsare building quantum computers for individual users. They have access to everything that you do on the computer and can see all the data that youre sending. But if youre building a commercial application, obviously you will want tohide that. Agnostic addresses this problem by obfuscating the code you are running. One application weve seen in the life sciences is a company calledEigenMed, which addresses primary care. They provide novel machine learning algorithms for primary care by using quantum-enhanced sampling algorithms.

We also seed companies that dont end up using quantum computing. They might try out a bunch of things and discover that it doesnt work for the application they have in mind, and they end up being 100 per cent classical.StratumAIis an example of this. It uses machine learning to map out the distribution of ore bodies under the ground. The mining industry is completely underserved by technology, and this company figured out thatto beat the state-of-the-art by a significant margin, it didnt even need quantum. They just used classical machine learning and they already have million dollar contracts.

Which industries will be most affected by this technology?

Life sciences will be huge because, as indicated, it often has complex networks and probability distributions, and these are very difficult to analyze with classical computers. The way quantum computers work, this seems to be a very good fit, so that is where I expect the first killer app to come from. One company,Entropica Labs, is looking at various interactions of several genomes to identify how the combined effects cause certain types of disease. This is exactly the sort of problem that is a great fit for a quantum computer.

You touched on quantum applications in primary care. If I walked into a doctors office, how would that affect me?

Its trickybecause, like mining, primary care is vastly underserved by technology. So, if you were to use any machine learning, you would only do better. But EigenMed was actually founded by an MD. He realized that there are certain machine learning methods that we dont use simply because their computational requirements are too high but that they happen to be a very good fit for primary care, because the questions you can ask the computer are similar to what a GP would ask.

For instance, if a patient walks in with a bunch of symptoms, you can ask, What is the most likely disease? and What are the most likely other symptoms that I should verify to make sure it is what I suspect? These are the kinds of probabilistic questions that are hard to ask on current neural network architectures, but they are exactly the kind of questions that probabilistic graphical models handle well.

Are physicians and other health-care providers open to embracing this technology, or do they feel threatened by it?

First of all, health care is a heavily regulated market, so you need approval for everything. Thats not always easy to getand, as a result, it can be very difficult to obtain data. This is the same problem that any machine learning company faces. Fine, they have this excellent piece of technology and theyve mastered it,but if you dont have any good data, you dont have a company. I see that as the biggest obstacle to machine learning-based progress in health care and life sciences.

You have said that QML has the potential to bring about the next wave of technology shock. Any predictions as to what that might look like?

I think its going to be similar to what happened with deep learning. The academic breakthrough happened about nine years ago, but it took a long time to get into the public discussion. This is currently happening with AI which, at its core, is actually just very simple pattern recognition. Its almost embarrassing how simplistic AI is and yet it is already changing entire industries.

Quantum is next not just quantum machine learning but quantum computing in general. Breakthroughs are happening every day, both on the hardware side and in the kind of algorithms you can build with quantum computers. But its going to take another 10 years until it gets into public discussions and starts to disrupt industries. The companies we are seeding today are going to be the ones that eventually disrupt industries.

Alibaba is one of the companies at the forefront of embracing quantum, having already committed $15 billion to it. What is Alibaba after?

First of all, I want to say a huge thank you toAlibaba becausethe moment it made that commitment, everyone woke up and said, Hey, look: the Chinese are getting into quantum computing! Almost immediately, the U.S. government allocated $1.3 billion to invest in and develop quantum computers, and a new initiative is also coming together in Canada.

The worlds oldest commercial quantum computing company is actually from Canada:D-Wave Systemsstarted in 1999 in British Columbia. Over its 20-year history, it managed to raise over $200 million. Then Alibaba came along and announced it was committing $15 billion to quantumand this completely changed the mindset. People suddenly recognized that theres a lot of potential in this area.

What does Alibaba want from quantum? You could ask the same question ofGoogle, which is also building a quantum computer. For them, its because they want to make their search and advertisement placement even better than it already is. Eventually, this will be integrated into their core business. I think Alibaba is looking to do something similar. As indicated, one of the main application areas for quantum is logistics and supply chain. Alibaba has a lot more traffic thanAmazon. Its orders are smaller, but the volume of goods going through its warehouses is actually much larger. Any kind of improved optimization it can achieve will translate into millions of dollars in savings. My bet is that Alibabas use of quantum will be applied to something that is critical to its core operation.

The mission of CDLs Quantum stream is that, by 2022, it will have produced more revenue-generating quantum software companies than the rest of the world combined. What is the biggest challenge you face in making that a reality?

People are really waking up to all of this. There is already a venture capital firm that focuses exclusively on quantum technologies. So, the competition is steep, but we are definitely leading in terms of the number of companies created. In Canada, the investment community is a bit slow to put money into these ventures. But every year we are recruiting better and better people and the cohorts are more and more focused and, as a result, I think we are going to see more and more success stories.

It seems like everyone is interested in quantum andthey are thinking about investing in it, but they are all waiting for somebody else to make the first move. Im waiting for that barrier to break and, in the meantime, we are making progress.Xanadujust raised $32 million in Series A financing, which indicates that it has shown progress in building its business model and demonstrated the potential to grow and generate revenue. ProteinQure raised a seed of around $4 million dollars. And another company,BlackBrane, raised $2 million. So, already, there are some very decent financing rounds happening around quantum. It will take lots of hard work, but I believe we will reach our goal.

Peter Wittekwas an Assistant Professor at the Rotman School of Management and Founding Academic Director of the Creative Destruction Labs Quantum stream. The author ofQuantum Machine Learning: What Quantum Computing Means to Data Mining(Academic Press, 2016),he was also a Faculty Affiliate at the Vector Institute for Artificial Intelligence and the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics.

This article appeared in theWinter 2020 issueof Rotman ManagementMagazine.Published by the University of Torontos Rotman School of Management,Rotman Managementexplores themes of interest to leaders, innovators and entrepreneurs.

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Quantum Computing Technologies Market 2019, Size, Share, Global Industry Growth, Business Statistics, Top Leaders, Competitive Landscape, Forecast To…

Global Quantum Computing Technologies Market valued approximately USD 75.0 million in 2018 is anticipated to grow with a healthy growth rate of more than 24.0% over the forecast period 2019-2026.

The Quantum Computing Technologies Market is continuously growing in the global scenario at significant pace. As it is recognized as a computer technology based on the principles of quantum theory, which explains the nature and behavior of energy and matter on the quantum level. A Quantum computer follows the laws of quantum physics through which it can gain enormous power, have the ability to be in multiple states and perform tasks using all possible permutations simultaneously. Surging implementation of machine learning by quantum computer, escalating application in cryptography and capability in simulating intricate systems are the substantial driving factors of the market during the forecast period. Moreover, rising adoption & utility in cyber security is the factors that likely to create numerous opportunity in the near future. However, lack of skilled professionals is one of the major factors that restraining the growth of the market during the forecast period.

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The regional analysis of Global Quantum Computing Technologies Market is considered for the key regions such as Asia Pacific, North America, Europe, Latin America and Rest of the World. North America is the leading/significant region across the world in terms of market share due to increasing usage of quantum computers by government agencies and aerospace & defense for machine learning in the region. Europe is estimated to grow at second largest region in the global Quantum Computing Technologies market over the upcoming years. Further, Asia-Pacific is anticipated to exhibit higher growth rate / CAGR over the forecast period 2019-2026 due to rising adoption of quantum computers by BFSI sectors in the region.

The major market player included in this report are:D-Wave Systems Inc.IBM CorporationLockheed Martin CorporationIntel CorporationAnyon Systems Inc.Cambridge Quantum Computing Limited

The objective of the study is to define market sizes of different segments & countries in recent years and to forecast the values to the coming eight years. The report is designed to incorporate both qualitative and quantitative aspects of the industry within each of the regions and countries involved in the study. Furthermore, the report also caters the detailed information about the crucial aspects such as driving factors & challenges which will define the future growth of the market. Additionally, the report shall also incorporate available opportunities in micro markets for stakeholders to invest along with the detailed analysis of competitive landscape and product offerings of key players. The detailed segments and sub-segment of the market are explained below:

By Application:OptimizationMachine LearningSimulation

By Vertical:BFSIIT and TelecommunicationHealthcareTransportationGovernmentAerospace & DefenseOthers

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By Regions:North AmericaU.S.CanadaEuropeUKGermanyAsia PacificChinaIndiaJapanLatin AmericaBrazilMexicoRest of the World

Furthermore, years considered for the study are as follows:Historical year 2016, 2017Base year 2018Forecast period 2019 to 2026

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This Week In Security: Windows 10 Apocalypse, Paypal Problems, And Cablehaunt – Hackaday

Nicely timed to drop on the final day of Windows 7 support, Windows 10 received a fix to an extremely serious flaw in crypt32.dll. This flaw was reported by the good guys at the NSA. (We know it was the good guys, because they reported it rather than used it to spy on us.) Its really bad. If youre running Windows 10, go grab the update now. OK, youre updated? Good, lets talk about it now.

The flaw applies to X.509 keys that use elliptic curve cryptography. Weve discussed ECC in the past, but lets review. Public key encryption is based on the idea that some calculations are very easy to perform and verify, but extremely difficult to calculate the reverse operation.

The historic calculation is multiplying large primes, as its unreasonably difficult to factorize that result by a conventional computer. A true quantum computer with enough qubits will theoretically be able to factorize those numbers much quicker than a classical computer, so the crypto community has been searching for a replacement for years. The elliptic curve is the solution that has become the most popular. An agreed-upon curve and initial vector are all that is needed to perform the ECC calculation.

There are potential weaknesses in ECC. One such weakness is that not all curves are created equal. A well constructed curve results in good cryptography, but there are weak curves that result in breakable encryption.

With that foundation laid, the flaw itself is relatively easy to understand. An X.509 certificate can define its own curve. The Windows 10 implementation doesnt properly check the curve that is specified. A malicious curve is specified that is similar to the expected curve similar enough that the checks in crypt32 dont catch it.

Imagine this scenario. You get an email, click a link, and immediately realize that this isnt the page you thought it was. Close that tab, and all is well, right? You didnt actually fall for the fishing scam. Well, [Alex Birsan] has bad news, in the form of a clever attack based off a Cross-Site Script Inclusion (XSSI) vulnerability in the Paypal login flow.

XSSI is similar to its other cross-site scripting brethren, but rather than running malicious code on a target web page, it runs a script from another web service on a malicious web page. Its pretty common to include a JavaScript script from a different domain. The difference here is that not all JS scripts are intended to be included in other pages. Paypal had such a script. Visiting a malicious web page could load that script in your browser, and if youve ever logged in to Paypal, it would contain a set of valid session keys. The attacker could make a few password attempts using those credentials, which triggered a CAPTCHA request.

That CAPTCHA request is important. When the CAPTCHA form is filled, it launched a self-submitting form that contained the plain text username and password. Yikes! Once a user logged back in to Paypal, that CAPTCHA page could be run again, with the stolen session key, and the username and password easily recovered by the attacker. Thankfully, [Alex] disclosed the vulnerability to Paypal, who fixed it and paid him a nice tidy sum for his work.

Brought to us by Phoronix, Intel is in the process of mitigating a problem in their integrated GPU cores. Even in Intels disclosure, there isnt a whole lot of detail, but it seems to be another information leak in the same vein as Meltdown and Spectre.

The solution, at least in the Linux kernel, is to reset the iGPU between context switches. On 7th generation processors in particular, the performance hit to GPU is pretty severe. Considering the less than stellar video performance of those chips, losing 50% performance to this mitigation is quite the blow.

Use a cable modem? Theres a decent chance it has a Broadcom chip in it, and is vulnerable to Cablehaunt. A group of researchers found a way to download the current modem settings, which started a hunt for vulnerabilities. They found a spectrum analyzer page that responds to JSON requests. Naturally, the JSON parser isnt written defensively. A long enough value in a request overflows the buffer, and the processor and microkernel that system runs doesnt have any modern mitigation. Getting from access to the open port to malicious modification is a nearly trivial task. Check out the page for more details, as well as instructions for how to test your modem.

At this point, if you have any Cisco equipment you can put your hands on, unplug it now before the long weekend of patching that you have ahead of you. [Steven Seeley] did an audit of the Cisco Data Center Network Manager. While he found multiple security problems, the glaring issue is a hardcoded authentication key. Yes, another Cisco product had a backdoor left in a production unit. There are deserialization bugs, SQL injection vulnerabilities, and plenty more to wade through, so go check it out if you want the gritty details.

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This Week In Security: Windows 10 Apocalypse, Paypal Problems, And Cablehaunt - Hackaday

Kitchener’s Angstrom Engineering is making a quantum leap with its next-generation technology – TheRecord.com

KITCHENER Some of the world's top quantum researchers are using equipment developed in Kitchener as they pursue the next-generation technology.

Angstrom Engineering specializes in systems that deposit thin films of various materials onto another material known as a substrate. The equipment can be used in the development of a range of products, from solar cells and solid-state batteries, to display technologies such as micro-LED and OLED.

In the quantum field, the Angstrom systems are used to produce microscopic, thin-film devices called Josephson junctions, which consist of two superconductors separated by a nonsuperconducting layer. They're an integral part of the superconducting quantum circuits that are seen as a forerunner among the different ways a quantum computer may be built.

If you this all seems entirely too complex, you're not alone. Even the people who work within the quantum realm admit it can be a baffling place. "We don't know the whole story with quantum," said Chris Haapamaki, a project manager at Angstrom. "It goes against what we were taught classically."

As the prospects for quantum technologies emerged in recent years among them, the promise of far-faster computers that can solve problems traditional computers never could Angstrom recognized that deposition systems it was producing for other fields could prove valuable in the quantum world.

"We kind of got wind that there was growing demand for it in about 2016," said marketing manager Andrew Goodwin. "We've been able to take it to the wider market, and we've had good success across the board."

Researchers at schools including the University of Waterloo, the University of Southern California, and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem are among those using Angstrom systems.

Angstrom is part of the Quantum Alliance, launched in December by a UW-led research initiative called Transformative Quantum Technologies. The program aims to bring together researchers and industry partners.

The firm's quantum systems have also been acquired by commercial clients; Angstrom prefers to call its customers partners, a nod to the extent to which the systems are customized. "We're working together with the customer to the point it's a collaboration," Goodwin said. "We don't have a catalogue," added Haapamaki.

Angstrom was founded in 1992 by Andrew Bass, who retired in 2012. It's now co-owned by Andrew Campbell and Dave Pitts, and is based out of a Trillium Drive facility that employs about 75 people.

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Kitchener's Angstrom Engineering is making a quantum leap with its next-generation technology - TheRecord.com

Xanadu Receives $4.4M Investment from SDTC to Advance its Photonic Quantum Computing Technology – Yahoo Finance

Xanadu's unique photonic approach to quantum computing will be much more energy efficient than traditional computing methods, thereby saving energy and emissions from power generation.

TORONTO, Jan. 16, 2020 /PRNewswire/ - Xanadu, a Canadian quantum hardware and technology company has received a $4.4M investment from Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC). The investment will expedite the development of Xanadu's photonic quantum computers and make them available over the cloud. This project will also further the company's overall progress towards the construction of energy-efficient universal quantum computers.

Xanadu (CNW Group/Xanadu)

"Canadian cleantech entrepreneurs are tackling problems across Canada and in every sector. I have never been more positive about the future. The quantum hardware technology that Xanadu is building will develop quantum computers with the ability to solve extremely challenging computational problems, completing chemical calculations in minutes which would otherwise require a million CPUs in a data center," said Leah Lawrence, President and CEO, Sustainable Development Technology Canada.

Despite efforts to improve the power efficiency of traditional computing methods, the rapid growth of data centres and cloud computing presents a major source of new electricity consumption. In comparison to classical computing, quantum computing systems have the benefit of performing certain tasks and algorithms at an unprecedented rate. This will ultimately reduce the requirements for electrical power and the accompanying air and water emissions associated with electricity production.

Xanadu is developing a unique type of quantum computer, based on photonic technology, which is inherently more power-efficient than electronics. Xanadu's photonic approach uses laser light to carry information through optical chips, rather than the electrons or ions used by their competitors. By using photonic technology, Xanadu's quantum computers will one day have the ability to perform calculations at room temperature, and eliminate the bulky and power-hungry cooling systems required by most other types of quantum computers.

The project will be undertaken by Xanadu's team of in-house scientists, with collaboration from the University of Toronto and Swiftride. The project will be carried out over three years and will encompass the development of Xanadu's architecture, hardware, software and client interfaces with the overall goal of expediting the development of the company's technology, and demonstrating the practical benefits of quantum computing for users and customers by the end of 2022.

"We are thrilled by the recognition and support that we are receiving from SDTC for the development of our technology. We firmly believe that our unique, photonic-based approach to quantum computing will deliver both valuable insights and tangible environmental benefits for our customers and partners," said Christian Weedbrook, CEO of Xanadu.

About XanaduXanadu is a photonic quantum hardware company. We build integrated photonic chips that can be used in quantum computing, communication and sensing systems. The company's mission is to build quantum computers that are useful and available to people everywhere, visitwww.xanadu.ai or follow us on Twitter @XanaduAI.

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Xanadu Receives $4.4M Investment from SDTC to Advance its Photonic Quantum Computing Technology - Yahoo Finance

‘How can we compete with Google?’: the battle to train quantum coders – The Guardian

There is a laboratory deep within University College London (UCL) that looks like a cross between a rebel base in Star Wars and a scene imagined by Jules Verne. Hidden within the miles of cables, blinking electronic equipment and screens is a gold-coloured contraption known as a dilution refrigerator. Its job is to chill the highly sensitive equipment needed to build a quantum computer to close to absolute zero, the coldest temperature in the known universe.

Standing around the refrigerator are students from Germany, Spain and China, who are studying to become members of an elite profession that has never existed before: quantum engineering. These scientists take the developments in quantum mechanics over the past century and turn them into revolutionary real-world applications in, for example, artificial intelligence, self-driving vehicles, cryptography and medicine.

The problem is that there is now what analysts call a quantum bottleneck. Owing to the fast growth of the industry, not enough quantum engineers are being trained in the UK or globally to meet expected demand. This skills shortage has been identified as a crucial challenge and will, if unaddressed, threaten Britains position as one of the worlds top centres for quantum technologies.

The lack of access to a pipeline of talent will pose an existential threat to our company, and others like it, says James Palles-Dimmock, commercial director of London- and Oxford-based startup Quantum Motion. You are not going to make a quantum computer with 1,000 average people you need 10 to 100 incredibly good people, and thatll be the case for everybody worldwide, so access to the best talent is going to define which companies succeed and which fail.

This doesnt just matter to niche companies; it affects everyone. If the UK is to remain at the leading edge of the world economy then it has to compete with the leading technological and scientific developments, warns Professor Paul Warburton, director of the CDT in Delivering Quantum Technologies. This is the only way we can maintain our standard of living.

This quantum bottleneck is only going to grow more acute. Data is scarce, but according to research by the Quantum Computing Report and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, on one day in June 2016 there were just 35 vacancies worldwide for commercial quantum companies advertised. By December, that figure had leapt to 283.

In the UK, Quantum Motion estimates that the industry will need another 150200 quantum engineers over the next 18 months. In contrast, Bristol Universitys centre for doctoral training produces about 10 qualified engineers each year.

In the recent past, quantum engineers would have studied for their PhDs in small groups inside much larger physics departments. Now there are interdisciplinary centres for doctoral training at UCL and Bristol University, where graduates in such subjects as maths, engineering and computer science, as well as physics, work together. As many of the students come with limited experience of quantum technologies, the first year of their four-year course is a compulsory introduction to the subject.

Rather than work with three or four people inside a large physics department its really great to be working with lots of people all on quantum, whether they are computer scientists or engineers. They have a high level of knowledge of the same problems, but a different way of thinking about them because of their different backgrounds, says Bristol student Naomi Solomons.

While Solomons is fortunate to study on an interdisciplinary course, these are few and far between in the UK. We are still overwhelmingly recruiting physicists, says Paul Warburton. We really need to massively increase the number of PhD students from outside the physics domain to really transform this sector.

The second problem, according to Warburton, is competition with the US. Anyone who graduates with a PhD in quantum technologies in this country is well sought after in the USA. The risk of lucrative US companies poaching UK talent is considerable. How can we compete with Google or D-Wave if it does get into an arms race? says Palles-Dimmock. They can chuck $300,000-$400,000 at people to make sure they have the engineers they want.

There are parallels with the fast growth of AI. In 2015, Ubers move to gut Carnegie Mellon Universitys world-leading robotics lab of nearly all its staff (about 50 in total) to help it build autonomous cars showed what can happen when a shortage of engineers causes a bottleneck.

Worryingly, Doug Finke, managing editor at Quantum Computing Report, has spotted a similar pattern emerging in the quantum industry today. The large expansion of quantum computing in the commercial space has encouraged a number of academics to leave academia and join a company, and this may create some shortages of professors to teach the next generation of students, he says.

More needs to be done to significantly increase the flow of engineers. One way is through diversity: Bristol has just held its first women in quantum event with a view to increasing its number of female students above the current 20%.

Another option is to create different levels of quantum engineers. A masters degree or a four-year dedicated undergraduate degree could be the way to mass-produce engineers because industry players often dont need a PhD-trained individual, says Turner. But I think you would be training more a kind of foot soldier than an industry leader.

One potential roadblock could be growing threats to the free movement of ideas and people. Nations seem to be starting to get a bit protective about what theyre doing, says Prof John Morton, founding director of Quantum Motion. [They] are often using concocted reasons of national security to justify retaining a commercial advantage for their own companies.

Warburton says he has especially seen this in the US. This reinforces the need for the UK to train its own quantum engineers. We cant rely on getting our technology from other nations. We need to have our own quantum technology capability.

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'How can we compete with Google?': the battle to train quantum coders - The Guardian

The dark side of IoT, AI and quantum computing: Hacking, data breaches and existential threat – ZDNet

Emerging technologies like the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence and quantum computing have the potential to transform human lives, but could also bring unintended consequences in the form of making society more vulnerable to cyberattacks, the World Economic Forum (WEF) has warned.

Now in it's 15th year, the WEFGlobal Risks Report 2020 produced in collaboration with insurance broking and risk management firm Marsh details the biggest threats facing the world over the course of the next year and beyond.

Data breaches and cyberattacks featured in the top five most likely global risks in both 2018 and 2019, but while both still pose significant risks, they're now ranked at sixth and seventh respectively.

"I wouldn't underestimate the importance of technology risk, even though this year's report has a centre piece on climate," said John Drzik, chairman of Marsh & McLennan Insights.

SEE: A winning strategy for cybersecurity(ZDNet special report) |Download the report as a PDF(TechRepublic)

The 2020 edition of the Global Risks Report puts the technological risks behind five different environmental challenges: extreme weather, climate change action failure, natural disasters, biodiversity loss, and human-made environmental disasters.

But that isn't to say cybersecurity threats don't pose risks; cyberattacks and data breaches are still in the top ten and have the potential to cause big problems for individuals, businesses and society as a whole, with threats ranging from data breaches and ransomwareto hackers tampering with industrial and cyber-physical systems.

"The digital nature of 4IR [fourth industrial revolution] technologies makes them intrinsically vulnerable to cyberattacks that can take a multitude of formsfrom data theft and ransomware to the overtaking of systems with potentially large-scale harmful consequences," warns the report.

"Operational technologies are at increased risk because cyberattacks could cause more traditional, kinetic impacts as technology is being extended into the physical world, creating a cyber-physical system."

The report warns that, for many technology vendors, "security-by-design" is still a secondary concern compared with getting products out to the market.

Large numbers of Internet of Things product manufacturers have long had a reputation for putting selling the products ahead of ensuring they're secure and the WEF warns that the IoT is "amplifying the potential cyberattack surface", as demonstrated by the rise in IoT-based attacks.

In many cases, IoT devices collect and share private data that's highly sensitive, like medical records, information about the insides of homes and workplaces, or data on day-to-day journeys.

Not only could this data be dangerous if it falls into the hands of cyber criminals if it isn't collected and stored appropriately, the WEF also warns about the potential of IoT data being abused by data brokers. In both cases, the report warns the misuse of this data could be to create physical and psychological harm.

Artificial intelligence is also detailed as a technology that could have benefits as well as causing problems, with the report describing AI as "the most impactful invention" and our "biggest existential threat". The WEF even goes so far as to claim we're still not able to comprehend AI's full potential or full risk.

The report notes that risks around issues such as generating disinformation and deepfakes are well known, but suggests that more investigation is needed into the risks AI poses in areas including brain-computer interfaces.

A warning is also issued about the unintended consequences of quantum computing, should it arrive at some point over the course of the next decade, as some suggest. While, like other innovations, it will bring benefits to society, it also creates a problem for encryption in its current state.

SEE:Cybersecurity in an IoT and Mobile World (ZDNet sepcial report)

By dramatically reducing the time required to solve the mathematical problems that today's encryption relies on to potentially just seconds, it will render cybersecurity as we know it obsolete. That could have grave consequences for re-securing almost every aspect of 21st century life, the report warns especially if cyber criminals or other malicious hackers gain access to quantum technology that they could use to commit attacks against personal data, critical infrastructure and power grids,

"These technologies are really reshaping industry, technology and society at large, but we don't have the protocols around these to make sure of a positive impact on society," said Mirek Dusek, deputy head of the centre for geopolitical and regional affairs at member of the executive committee at the World Economic Forum.

However, it isn't all doom and gloom; because despite the challenges offered when it comes to cyberattacks, the World Economic Forum notes that efforts to address the security challenges posed by new technologies is "maturing" even if they're still sometimes fragmented.

"Numerous initiatives bring together businesses and governments to build trust, promote security in cyberspace, assess the impact of cyberattacks and assist victims," the report says.

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The dark side of IoT, AI and quantum computing: Hacking, data breaches and existential threat - ZDNet

IBM heads US patent list for 27th consecutive year – Technology Decisions

IBM is celebrating its 27th year atop the annual US patent recipient list, having earned 9262 US patents in 2019 alone.

The technology giant was awarded more than 2500 cloud technology patents and 1800 AI patents, along with a number of blockchain, security and quantum computing patents, according to IBM.

Notable inventions include a method for teaching AI systems how to understand and deduce the nuances and implications behind certain text or phrases of speech by analysing other related content as well as a signature-based approach to homomorphic message encoding functions, which helps ensure data authenticity. Homomorphic encryption allows users to operate on encrypted data without decrypting it first, IBM explained.

The company also highlighted a method for scaling a quantum computer to support additional qubits and a technique to help blockchain users resist replay attacks where an attacker copies and uses signature information from one blockchain transaction to perform other, unauthorised transactions.

In addition, IBM inventors developed a method for jointly managing cloud and non-cloud computing platforms. Using a unified portal, the technique is designed to receive, organise and streamline incoming cloud and non-cloud tasks and requests, which could help organisations easily migrate to hybrid cloud platforms, IBM said.

The pace of innovation continues to accelerate and reach unprecedented levels, especially in IBMs Labs. Technology advances whether AI, cloud or quantum computing will all contribute to solving the biggest challenges facing business and society, IBM Executive Vice President Dr John E Kelly III said.

IBM sees no reason for technology development to slow down in or out of its labs, with the company recently joining the LOT Network a non-profit group of companies that builds a protective barrier for its members against patent assertion entities (PAEs). By preventing PAEs from acquiring patents from third parties and trying to make money through litigation against potential infringements, the LOT Network and IBM supports industry-wide open innovation. Currently over 80,000 IBM patents and patent applications are protected through the LOT Network.

Image credit:stock.adobe.com/au/Andrei

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IBM heads US patent list for 27th consecutive year - Technology Decisions