Reading Time: 5 minutes
If you threw an encyclopedia to be devoured by a black hole, could you ever retrieve its information back again?
Even with todays most powerful supercomputers, there are limitations to the complexity of possible calculations, preventing us from understanding some of the greatest mysteries in particle physics.
In an attempt to bridge the divide, Google LLC claims to have achieved quantum supremacy, using a quantum computer to perform a calculation in 200 seconds it would take the largest supercomputer 10,000 years to complete. Even though industry competitors like IBM dispute Googles claim, no one disputes the future lies in quantum computing.
Computer science researcher Jim Kowalkowski (left) and particle physicist Steve Mrenna (right) work on Fermilabs Quantum Science Program (photo by Kate Zadell)
Jim Kowalkowski transitioned to quantum computing at Fermilab National Laboratory in Batavia, Il. because of the exciting new ways it challenges researchers to think. Fermilab is run by the U.S. Department of Energy, specializing in high-energy particle physics. As part of a national initiative, federal funding has fueled research into quantum computing as part of the labs Quantum Science Program.
After the recent headlines, Kowalkowski was surprised to receive calls from people who never inquire about science. He said Fermilab is not in the process of building a quantum computer, but rather performing physics experiments using different quantum apparatuses to lay the groundwork for the future.
On a regular computer, information bits are in a determinant state of on or off, one or zero, said Kowalkowski. On a quantum computer, a qubit is quantum mechanical and can exist in both states until you observe it. These silicon qubits square the magnitude of how many states you can represent. (However,) current technology has limitations to how many qubits can be added and how big a problem they can solve. Right now, 53 qubits, (number in Google and IBMs quantum computers) isnt big enough to compute the harder problems. Over the next decade, there needs to be a breakthrough in materials science. Theres a lot of research to do before we get there.
The longer researchers can maintain the superposition state (both one and zero), the more time the quantum system has to perform operations. Fermilab uses 3-D-microwave resonators to manipulate electromagnetic fields, establishing the superposition state. According to Fermilab, their superconducting radio-frequency (SRF) resonators enable superposition durations 1,000 times more than the best resonators found in other quantum computers. Researchers aim to develop qubits with even longer superposition durations and string them together into a quantum computing system.
Alex Romanenko, head of quantum technology at Fermilab, inspects a quibit made with accelerator technology (photo provided by Fermilab)
Kowalkowski said a dilution refrigerator is used to cool the superconducting qubits to near absolute zero. Theres a chip located in the bottom containing harmonic oscillators. Using classical computing methods of communication, specific radio frequencies are sent into the chip resulting in the creation of artificial particles because of the quantum principle of particle-wave duality. This establishes temporary artificial atoms.
Unlike a traditional computer, these are probabilistic machines, said Kowalkowski. You have to establish the state over and over again to derive the answers from a large statistical sample. In the next two years, it would be fantastic having a hardware system to create qubits with SRF cavities allowing us to measure increases in how long a state lasts and how long of a calculation we can operate.
(Joey Weslo: inside look into Fermilabs neutrino research)
(Joey Weslo: challenging gender inequality in physics)
Steve Mrenna is a particle physicist at Fermilab who sees quantum computing research as an exciting new opportunity. He believes the limitations of classical computers are a hindrance to solving the more difficult and fascinating problems.
The power of our lab is the ability to bring together people of different skill sets to solve difficult problems of common interests, said Mrenna. A lot of other people in quantum computing work on problems that are more esoteric (toy problems) in interest. We have real problems that were trying to solve to help us understand something about nature. We are still figuring out how to set up quantum computers to solve these problems.
Mrenna said quantum computing can provide breakthroughs both inside and outside the field of physics. The stronger computing power is predicted to help create new medicines as quantum chemists use quantum mechanics to better understand and synthesize molecules. Cryptologists and those in cybersecurity also endeavour to use quantum computers to create encrypted messages that cannot be hacked. Because of the properties of quantum mechanics, once you measure something, the wave function collapses and the coded information is changed or lost.
Eric Holland, deputy head of quantum technology at Fermilab, examines the labs quantum dilution refrigerator (photo provided by Fermilab)
What we are currently doing is optimization problems, said Mrenna. Whats the best way to do something? Whats the minimum energy you would produce by putting things together? Quantum computers give the hope you can solve these problems that appear impossible with classical computers. The goal is to eventually work on quantum mechanical problems like the Schrodinger equation which is seen as the key to understanding quantum mechanical behavior. Better understanding particle wave duality will help calculate what happens when you collide together protons, like at the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland.
Mrenna said they can currently solve the problems they are looking at better with classical methods, but each solution is a stepping stone to progressing quantum computations towards currently unsolvable problems.
Kowalkowski said the strength in quantum computers over supercomputers comes in their systems approach to solving problems of multi-faceted inputs. This is because qubits are synchronized utilizing the quantum principle of entanglement.
Quantum entanglement means you are establishing an intimate relationship between particles, so when you manipulate one part, it has a global effect on the entire system at once, said Kowalkowski. When solving a problem, you take the machine and put its bunch of particles in the state you desire. Then by manipulating them through magnetic fields or radio frequency pulses, the entire system is affected. When youre manipulating a state all at once, it requires a different programming model altogether.
Industry wants to be able to utilize this because scheduling and computing with multiple interactive factors is really difficult, continued Kowalkowski. Weve been working on routing a (hypothetical) traveling salesman through multiple cities while trying to maximize profit and efficiency. With traditional computers doing one manipulation at a time, the increasing number of factors makes the problem almost unsolvable. However, with a small number of qubits, you can represent this complex system. By manipulating the whole state and turning the information into a global problem, you get your solution.
Mrenna said the basic idea of entanglement is some problems have more than one solution. Quantum mechanics tells us the solution is a mixture of the two. One of Fermilabs goals is to one day teleport entangled photons between the lab and Argonne National Laboratory 30 miles away in Lemont along underground fiber optic cables. This will enable the communication of information between two distant objects like the direction of a twin magnets located at each lab. Researchers are currently teleporting entangled photons across buildings at Fermilab. Separation of entangled photons must be done very carefully to maintain the coherent state.
Because of qubits extreme precision, they are very vulnerable to environmental interference. Sound disturbances are removed from the dilution refrigerator as best as possible, but quantum computers still need to operate the same calculation multiple times to identify and quantify impacted solutions. A quirk of this sensitivity is the ability of researchers to detect incredibly fine variations in environmental pressure and temperature. Another side-effect is the systems ability to detect and measure dark matter particle interference. This detection can help explore questions physicists have about the mysterious dark matter which constitutes 27 percent of the Universe compared to normal observable matters 5 percent.
Mrenna said the quantum computing field is so exciting because they are developing new machinery and using tools theyve never been introduced to.
When a science field is new, theres an opportunity to really contribute something foundational to the science, said Mrenna. If you enter a field thats well-established, its harder to carve out your niche. Someday, the technology will allow us to harness quantum computers full potential. Growing up, it seemed like particle physics was the coolest thing out there. It was the biggest questions, with the biggest ideas. Finding the hardest problems to solve has been a drive all throughout my life. If its not the hardest problem, why go after it?
(for Fermilab student internships info visit internships.fnal.gov/)
(Joey Weslo: Stephen Hawkings eternal light (1942-2018)
(Joey Weslo: physicst Brian Greene discusses string theory)
(Joey Weslo: Argonnes new developments with lithium-ion)
Go here to read the rest:
Will quantum computers revolutionize the world? The Courier - The Courier
- Solving problems by working together: Could quantum computing hold the key to Covid-19? - ITProPortal - July 2nd, 2020
- Spain Introduces the World's First Quantum Phase Battery - News - All About Circuits - July 2nd, 2020
- Professor tackles one more mystery about quantum mechanics and times flow - GeekWire - July 2nd, 2020
- This Week's Awesome Tech Stories From Around the Web (Through June 27) - Singularity Hub - June 29th, 2020
- Kudos: Read about faculty, staff and student awards, appointments and achievements - Vanderbilt University News - June 29th, 2020
- This Is the First Universal Language for Quantum Computers - Popular Mechanics - June 21st, 2020
- Universal Quantum raises $4.5 million to build a large-scale quantum computer - VentureBeat - June 17th, 2020
- Ethereum (ETH) Might Not have Quantum Resistance on its Roadmap, the QRL Team Reveals - Crowdfund Insider - June 17th, 2020
- Craig Knoblock Named Michael Keston Executive Director of the USC Information Sciences Institute - USC Viterbi School of Engineering - June 17th, 2020
- European quantum computing startup takes its funding to 32M with fresh raise - TechCrunch - June 11th, 2020
- SKT to expand use of new quantum-powered security solutions - The Korea Herald - June 11th, 2020
- Archer looks to commercialisation future with graphene-based biosensor tech - ZDNet - June 11th, 2020
- Dear NASA, please put a particle collider on the Moon - The Next Web - June 11th, 2020
- Top 10 emerging technologies of 2020: Winners and losers - TechRepublic - June 11th, 2020
- When Will Quantum Computing Come to Mainstream? - Analytics Insight - June 8th, 2020
- University announces 2020 winners of Quantrell and Graduate Teaching Awards - UChicago News - June 8th, 2020
- Physicists Found a Way to Save Schrdingers Cat - Dual Dove - June 8th, 2020
- Physicists hunt for room-temperature superconductors that could revolutionize the world's energy system - The Conversation US - June 3rd, 2020
- Covid 19 Pandemic: Quantum Computing Technologies Market 2020, Share, Growth, Trends And Forecast To 2025 - 3rd Watch News - May 24th, 2020
- Molecular dynamics used to simulate 100 million atoms | Opinion - Chemistry World - May 23rd, 2020
- Highest-performing quantum simulator IN THE WORLD delivered to Japan - TechGeek - May 18th, 2020
- Light, fantastic: the path ahead for faster, smaller computer processors - News - The University of Sydney - May 18th, 2020
- Wiring the quantum computer of the future - Space Daily - April 29th, 2020
- Technologies That You Can Explore Other Than Data Science During Lockdown - Analytics India Magazine - April 29th, 2020
- Will Quantum Computing Really Change The World? Facts And Myths - Analytics India Magazine - April 23rd, 2020
- Google's top quantum computing brain may or may not have quit - Fudzilla - April 23rd, 2020
- On the Heels of a Light Beam - Scientific American - April 23rd, 2020
- Advanced Encryption Standard (AES): What It Is and How It Works - Hashed Out by The SSL Store - Hashed Out by The SSL Store - April 23rd, 2020
- Google's Head of Quantum Computing Hardware Resigns - WIRED - April 21st, 2020
- COVID-19: Quantum computing could someday find cures for coronaviruses and other diseases - TechRepublic - April 21st, 2020
- The future of quantum computing in the cloud - TechTarget - April 21st, 2020
- Quantum computer chips demonstrated at the highest temperatures ever - New Scientist News - April 17th, 2020
- Alex Garland on 'Devs,' free will and quantum computing - Engadget - April 14th, 2020
- RAND report finds that, like fusion power and Half Life 3, quantum computing is still 15 years away - The Register - April 12th, 2020
- Quantum computing: When to expect the next major leap - TechRepublic - April 12th, 2020
- Cambridge Quantum Computing Performs the World's First Quantum Natural Language Processing Experiment - Quantaneo, the Quantum Computing Source - April 12th, 2020
- The Well-matched Combo of Quantum Computing and Machine Learning - Analytics Insight - March 23rd, 2020
- Picking up the quantum technology baton - The Hindu - March 23rd, 2020
- Research by University of Chicago PhD Student and EPiQC Wins IBM Q Best Paper - HPCwire - March 23rd, 2020
- Honeywell Achieves Breakthrough That Will Enable The Worlds Most Powerful Quantum Computer #47655 - New Kerala - March 23rd, 2020
- Is time broken? Physicists filmed a quantum measurement but the 'moment' was blurry - The Next Web - March 5th, 2020
- What Is Quantum Computing? The Next Era of Computational ... - March 3rd, 2020
- Honeywell says it will soon launch the worlds most powerful quantum computer - TechCrunch - March 3rd, 2020
- Majority of Promising AI Startups Are Still Based in the US - Transport Topics Online - March 3rd, 2020
- 10 Revolutionary Technologies To Lookout For In 2020 - Fossbytes - March 3rd, 2020
- Quantum researchers able to split one photon into three - Space Daily - March 3rd, 2020
- Physicists Captured The Moment That An Atom Enters Quantum Measurement - Somag News - February 29th, 2020
- This Week's Awesome Tech Stories From Around the Web (Through February 29) - Singularity Hub - February 29th, 2020
- IC Breakthroughs: Energy Harvesting, Quantum Computing, and a 96-Core Processor in Six Chiplets - News - All About Circuits - February 29th, 2020
- Top 10 Strategic Technology Breakthroughs That Will Transform Our Lives - Analytics Insight - February 29th, 2020
- New Intel chip could accelerate the advent of quantum computing - RedShark News - February 28th, 2020
- Particle accelerator technology could solve one of the most vexing problems in building quantum computers - Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory - February 28th, 2020
- Top 10 breakthrough technologies of 2020 - TechRepublic - February 28th, 2020
- 21st ISQED Conference to Commence With Focus on Quantum Computing, Security, and AI/ML & Electronic Design - PRNewswire - February 25th, 2020
- NTT Research to Collaborate with UCLA and Georgetown on Cryptography and Blockchain - Yahoo Finance - February 25th, 2020
- Should decision makers be concerned by the threat of quantum? - Information Age - February 25th, 2020
- Keeping classified information secret in a world of quantum computing - Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists - February 11th, 2020
- A neural network that learned to predict the behavior of a quantum system - Tech Explorist - February 9th, 2020
- Deltec Bank, Bahamas A combination of Quantum Computing and Blockchain Technology Will Have a huge Impact on Banking - Press Release - Digital... - February 5th, 2020
- Could Photonic Chips Outpace the Fastest Supercomputers? - Singularity Hub - February 5th, 2020
- Google claims to have invented a quantum computer, but IBM begs to differ - The Conversation CA - January 22nd, 2020
- Xanadu Receives $4.4M Investment from SDTC to Advance its Photonic Quantum Computing Technology - Quantaneo, the Quantum Computing Source - January 22nd, 2020
- U of T's Peter Wittek, who will be remembered at Feb. 3 event, on why the future is quantum - News@UofT - January 17th, 2020
- Quantum Computing Technologies Market 2019, Size, Share, Global Industry Growth, Business Statistics, Top Leaders, Competitive Landscape, Forecast To... - January 17th, 2020
- This Week In Security: Windows 10 Apocalypse, Paypal Problems, And Cablehaunt - Hackaday - January 17th, 2020
- Kitchener's Angstrom Engineering is making a quantum leap with its next-generation technology - TheRecord.com - January 17th, 2020
- Xanadu Receives $4.4M Investment from SDTC to Advance its Photonic Quantum Computing Technology - Yahoo Finance - January 16th, 2020
- The dark side of IoT, AI and quantum computing: Hacking, data breaches and existential threat - ZDNet - January 16th, 2020
- 'How can we compete with Google?': the battle to train quantum coders - The Guardian - January 16th, 2020
- IBM heads US patent list for 27th consecutive year - Technology Decisions - January 16th, 2020
- New Technique May Be Capable of Creating Qubits From Silicon Carbide Wafer - Tom's Hardware - January 14th, 2020
- The hunt for the 'angel particle' continues - Big Think - January 13th, 2020
- How to verify that quantum chips are computing correctly - MIT News - January 13th, 2020
- Googles Quantum Supremacy will mark the End of the Bitcoin in 2020 - The Coin Republic - January 13th, 2020
- Bleeding edge information technology developments - IT World Canada - January 13th, 2020
- Jeffrey Epstein scandal: MIT professor put on leave, he 'failed to inform' college that sex offender made donations - CNBC - January 10th, 2020
- The teenager that's at CES to network - Yahoo Singapore News - January 10th, 2020
- AI, ML and quantum computing to cement position in 2020: Alibabas Jeff Zhang - Tech Observer - January 8th, 2020
- Perspective: End Of An Era | WNIJ and WNIU - WNIJ and WNIU - January 8th, 2020
- Volkswagen carried out the world's first pilot project for traffic optimization with a quantum computer - Quantaneo, the Quantum Computing Source - January 6th, 2020