Commercial Quantum Computer?

Quantum computers could revolutionize the way we tackle problems that stump even the best classical computers.
Single atom transistor recently introduced has been seen as a tool that could lead the way to building a quantum computer. For general introduction how quantum computer work, read A tale of two qubits: how quantum computers work article.

D-Wave Announces Commercially Available Quantum Computer article tells that computing company D-Wave has announced that they’re selling a quantum computing system commercially, which they’re calling the D-Wave One. D-Wave system comes equipped with a 128-qubit processor that’s designed to perform discrete optimization operations. The processor uses quantum annealing to perform these operations.

D-Wave is advertisting a number of different applications for its quantum computing system, primarily in the field of artificial intelligence. According to the company, its system can handle virtually any AI application that can be translated to a Markov random field.


Learning to program the D-Wave One blog article tells that the processor in the D-Wave One – codenamed Rainier – is designed to perform a single mathematical operation called discrete optimization. It is a special purpose processor. When writing applications the D-Wave One is used only for the steps in your task that involve solving optimization problems. All the other parts of your code still run on your conventional systems of choice. Rainier solves optimization problems using quantum annealing (QA), which is a class of problem solving approaches that use quantum effects to help get better solutions, faster. Learning to program the D-Wave One is the first in a series of blog posts describing the algorithms we have run on D-Wave quantum computers, and how to use these to build interesting applications.

But is this the start of the quantum computers era? Maybe not. D-Wave Announces Commercially Available Quantum Computer article comments tell a story that this computer might not be the quantum computer you might be waiting for. It seem that the name “quantum computer” is a bit misleading for this product. There are serious controversies around the working and “quantumness” of the machine. D-Wave has been heavily criticized by some scientists in the quantum computing field. First sale for quantum computing article tells that uncertainty persists around how the impressive black monolith known as D-Wave One actually works. Computer scientists have long questioned whether D-Wave’s systems truly exploit quantum physics on their products.

Slashdot article D-Wave Announces Commercially Available Quantum Computer comments tell that this has the same central problem as before. D-Wave’s computers haven’t demonstrated that their commercial bits are entangled. There’s no way to really distinguish what they are doing from essentially classical simulated annealing. Recommended reading that is skeptical of D-Wave’s claims is much of what Scott Aaronson has wrote about them. See for example, although interestingly after he visited D-Wave’s labs in person his views changed slightly and became slightly more sympathetic to them

So it is hard to say if the “128 qubits” part is snake oil or for real. If the 128 “qubits” aren’t entangled at all, which means it is useless for any of the quantum algorithms that one generally thinks of. It seem that this device simply has 128 separate “qubits” that are queried individually, and is, essentially an augmented classical computer that gains a few minor advantages in some very specific algorithms (i.e. the quantum annealing algorithm) due to this qubit querying, but is otherwise indistinguishable from a really expensive classical computer for any other purpose. This has the same central problem as before: D-Wave’s computers haven’t demonstrated that their commercial bits are entangled.

Rather than constantly adding more qubits and issuing more hard-to-evaluate announcements, while leaving the scientific characterization of its devices in a state of limbo, why doesn’t D-Wave just focus all its efforts on demonstrating entanglement, or otherwise getting stronger evidence for a quantum role in the apparent speedup? There’s a reason why academic quantum computing groups focus on pushing down decoherence and demonstrating entanglement in 2, 3, or 4 qubits: because that way, at least you know that the qubits are qubits! Suppose D-Wave were marketing a classical, special-purpose, $10-million computer designed to perform simulated annealing, for 90-bit Ising spin glass problems with a certain fixed topology, somewhat better than an off-the-shelf computing cluster. Would there be even 5% of the public interest that there is now?


  1. Tomi Engdahl says:

    How much faster is a quantum computer than your laptop?
    Supercomputing chaps talk qubits and more with Dan Olds

    It turns out that there are three broad categories of problem where your best bet is a quantum computer. The first is a Monte Carlo type simulation, the second is machine learning, and the third is optimization problems that would drive a regular computer nuts – or, at least, take a long time for it to process.

    An example of this type of optimization problem is this: Consider the approximately 2,000 professional hockey players in North America. Your task is to select the very best starting line-up from that roster of guys.

    There are a lot of variables to consider.

    When you start adding variables like this, the problem gets exponentially more difficult to solve.

    But it’s right up the alley of a quantum computer. A D Wave system would consider all of the possible solutions at the same time, then collapse down to the optimal set of player. It’s more complicated than I’m making out, of course, but it’s a good layman-like example.

    So how much faster can quantum computers perform than their digital counterparts? Before purchasing their own D Wave system a few years back, Google put it through its paces and found that when the problem size got to the 500 qubit size range, the D Wave system outperformed its binary cousins by 10,000 times – a solid win in anyone’s book.

    More recently, Google and NASA found that a D Wave 2 system with 1,097 qubits outperformed existing supercomputers by more than 3,600 times (and personal computers by 100 million x) on an optimization problem, solving it in mere seconds.

    These performance numbers I’m citing are from corner cases that hit right on the quantum sweet spot.

  2. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Shor’s Algorithm In Five Atoms

    If you want to factor a number, one way to do it is Shor’s algorithm. That’s a quantum algorithm and finds prime factors of integers. That’s interesting because prime factorization is a big deal of creating or breaking most modern encryption techniques.

    Back in 2001, a group at IBM factored 15 (the smallest number that the algorithm can factor) using a 7 qubit system that uses nuclear magnetic resonance. Later, other groups duplicated the feat using photonic qubits. Typical implementations take 12 qubits. However, recent work at MIT and the University of Innsbruck can do the same trick with 5 atoms caught in an ion trap. The researchers believe their implementation will easily scale to larger numbers.

    Each qubit is an atom and LASER pulses perform the logic operations.

    The beginning of the end for encryption schemes?
    New quantum computer, based on five atoms, factors numbers in a scalable way.

    What are the prime factors, or multipliers, for the number 15? Most grade school students know the answer — 3 and 5 — by memory. A larger number, such as 91, may take some pen and paper. An even larger number, say with 232 digits, can (and has) taken scientists two years to factor, using hundreds of classical computers operating in parallel.

    Because factoring large numbers is so devilishly hard, this “factoring problem” is the basis for many encryption schemes for protecting credit cards, state secrets, and other confidential data. It’s thought that a single quantum computer may easily crack this problem, by using hundreds of atoms, essentially in parallel, to quickly factor huge numbers.

    In 1994, Peter Shor, the Morss Professor of Applied Mathematics at MIT, came up with a quantum algorithm that calculates the prime factors of a large number, vastly more efficiently than a classical computer. However, the algorithm’s success depends on a computer with a large number of quantum bits. While others have attempted to implement Shor’s algorithm in various quantum systems, none have been able to do so with more than a few quantum bits, in a scalable way.

    Now, in a paper published today in the journal Science, researchers from MIT and the University of Innsbruck in Austria report that they have designed and built a quantum computer from five atoms in an ion trap. The computer uses laser pulses to carry out Shor’s algorithm on each atom, to correctly factor the number 15. The system is designed in such a way that more atoms and lasers can be added to build a bigger and faster quantum computer, able to factor much larger numbers. The results, they say, represent the first scalable implementation of Shor’s algorithm.

  3. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Ion Trap Makes Programmable Quantum Computer

    The Joint Quantum Institute published a recent paper detailing a quantum computer constructed with five qubits formed from trapped ions. The novel architecture allows the computer to accept programs for multiple algorithms.

    Quantum computers make use of qubits and trapped ions–ions confined with an electromagnetic field–are one way to create them. In particular, a linear radio frequency trap and laser cooling traps five ytterbium ions with a separation of about 5 microns. To entangle the qubits, the device uses 50 to 100 laser pulses on individual or pairs of ions. The pulse shape determines the actual function performed, which is how the device is programmable. The operations depend on the sequence of laser pulses that activate it.

    Ion-trap quantum computer is programmable and reconfigurable

    Five-ion trap

    Chris Monroe’s group at the Joint Quantum Institute and the Joint Center for Quantum Information and Computer Science, at the University of Maryland in the US, uses trapped ions as qubits. In this technique, information is stored in the atomic-ions’ states. Electromagnetically confining a number of such ions, or “trapping” them, the particles can then be entangled by applying appropriate laser beams. The finely tuned laser light manipulates each ion in a specific way, depending upon its state. “In this way, the collective motion of the chain of ions behaves as a data bus that allows qubits to talk to each other,” say Monroe.

    While small ion-trap quantum computers have previously been built, each was a single-purpose device, capable of running a particular algorithm or generating a fixed entangled state. Now though, Monroe, together with Shantanu Debnath and colleagues, has demonstrated that the device can be programmed with multiple algorithms.

  4. Tomi Engdahl says:

    D-Wave’s 2,000-Qubit Quantum Annealing Computer Now 1,000x Faster Than Previous Generation

    D-Wave, a Canadian company developing the first commercial “quantum computer,” announced its next-generation quantum annealing computer with 2,000 qubits, which is twice as many as its previous generation had. One highly exciting aspect of quantum computers of all types is that beyond the seemingly Moore’s Law-like increase in number of qubits every two years, their performance increases much more than just 2x, unlike with regular microprocessors. This is because qubits can hold a value of 0, 1, or a superposition of the two, making quantum systems able to deal with much more complex information. If D-Wave’s 2,000-qubit computer is now 1,000 faster than the previous 1,000-qubit generation (D-Wave 2X), that would mean that, for the things Google tested last year, it should now be 100 billion times faster than a single-core CPU.

    Last year, Google said that D-Wave’s 1,000 qubit computer proved to be 100 million times faster than a classical computer with a single core: “We found that for problem instances involving nearly 1,000 binary variables, quantum annealing significantly outperforms its classical counterpart, simulated annealing. It is more than 10^8 times faster than simulated annealing running on a single core,” said Hartmut Neven, Google’s Director of Engineering.

    D-Wave’s 2,000-Qubit Quantum Annealing Computer Now 1,000x Faster Than Previous Generation,32768.html

  5. Tomi Engdahl says:

    System Bits: Oct. 25
    Quantum 3D wiring; special-purpose computer; inexact computing.

    Scalable quantum computers
    In what they say is a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer, researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits.

    The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses 3D based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits, they said, and which connects classical electronics with quantum circuits, extendable far beyond current limits, from one to possibly a few thousand qubits.

    The team used microwave pulses to control and measure superconducting qubits, typically sent from dedicated sources and pulse generators through a network of cables connecting the qubits in the cryostat’s cold environment to the room-temperature electronics.

    New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

  6. Tomi Engdahl says:

    D-Wave goes public with open-source quantum-classical hybrid software
    Search the universe with qbsolv

    Want to fool around with some quantum-ish computing? D-Wave has open sourced a software tool that prepares optimisation problems to run on its hardware.

    You can think of the software, qbsolv, as a D-Wave-specific compiler: in the white paper it’s posted along with the tool at GitHub, the company’s Michael Booth, Steven Reinhardt and Aidan Roy explain its role.

    Qbsolv is “a tool that solves large quadratic unconstrained binary optimisation (QUBO) problems” for execution on a D-Wave computer, a task that has to be handled with care because the problem has to be partitioned to match the number of qubits on the target chip.

  7. Tomi Engdahl says:

    D-Wave’s $15 million quantum computer runs a staggering 2,000 qubits
    D-Wave’s 2000Q quantum computer will ship to select customers but could ultimately be available to others via the cloud

    For D-Wave, the path to quantum computers being widely accepted is similar to the history of today’s computers. The first chips came more than 30 years ago, and Microsoft’s Basic expanded the software infrastructure around PCs.

    Quantum computers are a new type of computer that can be significantly faster than today’s PCs. They are still decades away from replacing PCs and going mainstream, but more advanced hardware and use models are still emerging.

    D-Wave is the only company selling a quantum computer. It sold its first system in 2011 and is now pushing the speed limits with a new quantum computer called the D-Wave 2000Q, which has 2,000 qubits.

    The 2000Q is twice the size of its current 1,000-qubit D-Wave 2X

    The 2000Q is thousands of times faster than its predecessor

    D-Wave’s quantum computers are being already used by the Los Alamos National Laboratory, Google, NASA, and Lockheed Martin. D-Wave’s goal is to upgrade all those systems.

    The ultimate goal is to develop a universal quantum computer that could run all computing applications, much like PCs, but researchers agree that type of quantum computer still decades away.

    There are many types of quantum computers under development, and D-Wave’s system is based on the paradigm of quantum annealing. The computer delivers possible outcomes to a problem by deploying a magnetic field to perform qubit operations.

    The annealer was a quick way to quantum computing
    The company’s view is similar to using different types of chips like CPUs, GPUs, and FPGAs for different workloads, with each of them having their own benefits, Brownell said.

    IBM is working on a different type of quantum computer based on the gate model, which is considered advanced but more complicated to achieve. Microsoft is trying to make a quantum computer based on a new topology and a particle that is yet to be discovered.

  8. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Quantum computer ‘construction plan’ drawn up

    Physicists have drawn up construction plans for a large-scale quantum computer.

    These super-fast machines promise to revolutionise computing, harnessing the world of quantum mechanics to solve problems that are beyond reach for even the most advanced “classical” ones.

    But the challenges of building practical, large-scale models have kept quantum computers confined to the lab.

    The new blueprint, based on a modular design appears in Science Advances.

    “We have produced a construction plan – a real blueprint to actually build a large-scale quantum computer,” Winfried Hensinger, from the University of Sussex, told BBC News.

    Blueprint for a microwave trapped ion quantum computer

    The modules control all operations as stand-alone units, are constructed using silicon microfabrication techniques, and are within reach of current technology. To perform the required quantum computations, the modules make use of long-wavelength radiation–based quantum gate technology. To scale this microwave quantum computer architecture to a large size, we present a fully scalable design that makes use of ion transport between different modules, thereby allowing arbitrarily many modules to be connected to construct a large-scale device.

  9. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Binary hyper-drive. It’s computing but not as we know it captain

    Thought your laptop was fast. Well try to imagine a computer that is 100 million times faster. This leap into binary hyper-drive is now considered a possibility with the construction of a huge quantum computer that could be just a few years away.

    For a quantum computer to work it has to have circuits that can operate at On and Off states simultaneously. This is based on the laws of quantum mechanics which allow very small particles to exist in a number of “superposition” states until they are observed or disturbed.

    While a normal computer has bits made up of zeros and ones, a quantum computer has quantum bits (qubits) which can take on the value of zero or one or both at the same time.

    The qubit is the unit of quantum information. In a conventional computer a bit has to be in one of two states. Quantum mechanics however allows the qubit to be in a superposition which means it can be in both states at the same time. According to quantum law the particle then enters a superposition of states.

    A team at the University of Sussex has created a practical blueprint for constructing a giant quantum computer and a proof-of-concept prototype is planned within two years.

    The new concept from the team at the University of Sussex introduces electronic field connections that allow charged atoms, or ions, to be transported from one module to another.

  10. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Quantum Molecules Compute
    NIST Cracks Command/Control

    The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has been using lasers to super-cool atoms to create the world’s most accurate atomic clocks using quantum mechanical principles. Now they have extended that research, showing how to use lasers to control the quantum properties of entire molecular ions, clearing the way to future quantum computers.

    The NIST solution, published today in Nature magazine, enables the quantum logic operations that drive their latest atomic clock with lasers to control the molecules of future quantum computers

    Since the technique uses the lasers to super-cool the molecules, their probing and quantum manipulation is so gentle that it does not disturb their delicate quantum states. So far, they have been able to transfer that state from one molecule to another, via a intermediary atom, and hope to construct more sophisticated architectures that can amplify signals, measure the “shape” of electrons, boost control of chemical reactions and other next-generation quantum information processing steps.

  11. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Quantum Computing Uses Standard Hardware
    Software Simulations Now

    Quantum annealing hardware like D-Wave’s latest $15 million 2048-Qubit unit will not fit the real world problems at supply chain optimization software vendor ServicePower, according to Alex Syrichas, a research scientist there and a doctoral candidate under research professor Alan Crispin at Manchester Metropolitan University. Their problems routinely use from 10,000 to as many as 1 million variables — each represented by a virtual Qubit — and Syrichas has found a way to simulate their quantum annealing using parallelization on standard server farms to make up for the slower speed compared to D-Wave’s specialized hardware.

    Syrichas, whose doctoral thesis is on using software simulations of quantum annealing, found commercial success with ServicePower, where CEO Marne Martin recruited him to adapt it to field service and logistics applications even before finishing his thesis.

  12. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Even Ordinary Computer Users Could Access Secret Quantum Computing

    You may not need a quantum computer of your own to securely use quantum computing in the future. For the first time, researchers have shown how even ordinary classical computer users could remotely access quantum computing resources online while keeping their quantum computations securely hidden from the quantum computer itself.

    Tech giants such as Google and IBM are racing to build universal quantum computers that could someday analyze millions of possible solutions much faster than today’s most powerful classical supercomputers. Such companies have also begun offering online access to their early quantum processors

  13. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Mark Bergen / Bloomberg:
    Sources: Google’s offering some science labs and AI experts early cloud access to its quantum computers, following IBM’s similar effort to spur app development — Company offers early access to its machines over the internet — IBM began quantum computing cloud service earlier this year

    Google’s Quantum Computing Push Opens New Front in Cloud Battle

    Company offers early access to its machines over the internet
    IBM began quantum computing cloud service earlier this year

    For years, Google has poured time and money into one of the most ambitious dreams of modern technology: building a working quantum computer. Now the company is thinking of ways to turn the project into a business.

    Alphabet Inc.’s Google has offered science labs and artificial intelligence researchers early access to its quantum machines over the internet in recent months. The goal is to spur development of tools and applications for the technology, and ultimately turn it into a faster, more powerful cloud-computing service, according to people pitched on the plan.

    “They’re pretty open that they’re building quantum hardware and they would, at some point in the future, make it a cloud service,” said Peter McMahon, a quantum computing researcher at Stanford University.

  14. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Quintuple: a Python 5-qubit quantum computer simulator to facilitate cloud quantum computing

    In May 2016 IBM released access to its 5-qubit quantum computer to the scientific community, its “IBM Quantum Experience” since acquiring over 25,000 users from students, educators and researchers around the globe. In the short time since the “IBM Quantum Experience” became available, a flurry of research results on 5-qubit systems have been published derived from the platform hardware. Quintuple is an open-source object-oriented Python module implementing the simulation of the “IBM Quantum Experience” hardware.


    This is an implementation of IBM’s Quantum Experience in simulation; a 5-qubit quantum computer with a limited set of gates. Please cite me if you end up using this academically.

  15. Tomi Engdahl says:

    IEEE Drives Definitions for Quantum Computing

    The IEEE Standards Association (IEEE-SA), the global standards-setting body within IEEE, is taking the lead to establish standard definitions for quantum computing.

    Dubbed IEEE P7130, the organization’s Standard for Quantum Computing Definitions project is pursuing the loft goal of making quantum computing more accessible to a larger group of contributors, including developers of software and hardware, materials scientists, mathematicians, physicists, engineers, climate scientists, biologists and geneticists.

    In an interview with EE Times, IEEE Quantum Computing Working Group chair William Hurley said IEEE P7130 will define terms related to the physics of quantum computing, including quantum tunneling, super position, quantum entanglement, as well as other related terms and terminology that will be updated as technological advances are made. As the growth and advancement ramps up in quantum computing, the industry is fragmented and lacks a communications framework, he said.

    IEEE P7130 is pulling together players from across the quantum computing space — including IBM, which has more than three decades of working with quantum information under its belt — as well as Canadian startup 1Qbit, which develops general purpose algorithms for quantum computing hardware and works with a variety of classical, quantum and otherwise non-standard processors. Academia is also represented through the Tokyo Institute of Technology, said Hurley, and participants will continue to be added as they express interest.

  16. Tomi Engdahl says:

    IBM Simulates Complex Chemistry with Quantum Computing

    A novel algorithm developed by IBM scientists is improving the understanding of complex chemical reactions and optimizing quantum computing.

    The scientists have developed a new approach to simulate molecules on a quantum computer using a seven-qubit quantum processor to address the molecular structure problem for beryllium hydride (BeH2), which is the largest molecule simulated on a quantum computer to date, according to IBM. The results are significant as they could lead to practical applications such as the creation of novel materials, development of personalized drugs and discovery of more efficient and sustainable energy sources

  17. Tomi Engdahl says:

    IBM Makes Breakthrough in Race to Commercialize Quantum Computers
    Research paves way for possible advances in chemistry, material science

    Researchers at International Business Machines Corp. have developed a new approach for simulating molecules on a quantum computer.

    The breakthrough, outlined in a research paper to be published in the scientific journal Nature Thursday, uses a technique that could eventually allow quantum computers to solve difficult problems in chemistry and electro-magnetism that cannot be solved by even the most powerful supercomputers today.

  18. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Microsoft makes play for next wave of computing with quantum computing toolkit
    Microsoft wants to be ready for a quantum computing world.

    At its Ignite conference today, Microsoft announced its moves to embrace the next big thing in computing: quantum computing. Later this year, Microsoft will release a new quantum computing programming language, with full Visual Studio integration, along with a quantum computing simulator. With these, developers will be able to both develop and debug quantum programs implementing quantum algorithms.

    Quantum computing uses quantum features such as superposition and entanglement to perform calculations. Where traditional digital computers are made from bits, each bit representing either a one or a zero, quantum computers are made from some number of qubits (quantum bits). Qubits represent, in some sense, both one and zero simultaneously (a quantum superposition of 1 and 0). This ability for qubits to represent multiple values gives quantum computers exponentially more computing power than traditional computers.

    Microsoft’s quantum programming language—as yet unnamed—offers a more familiar look to programming quantum computers, borrowing elements from C#, Python, and F#. Developers will still need to use and understand quantum logic gates and their operations, but they’ll be able to use them to write functions, with variables and branches and other typical constructs. As an example, a program to perform quantum teleportation is offered as a kind of “Hello, World!” for quantum computing:

    The language is integrated into Visual Studio. This means not only color coding support, but also other Visual Studio features, such as debugging, are supported. Debugging programs means, of course, that you have to be able to run them. With quantum computers something of a rarity these days, Microsoft is also going to release two versions of a quantum simulator. One version will run locally; the other version will run on Azure. The simulator will be able to run quantum programs and offer something comparable to the traditional Visual Studio debugging experience so that algorithms can be inspected as they run.

  19. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Finland is building a quantum computer – one million euros

    Aalto University starts building a quantum computer. Docent Mikko Möttönen has received funding from the 100th Anniversary Foundation of the Technology Industry and Jane and Aatos Erkko Foundation for a total of EUR 950,000. The group applied for funding through the Foundation’s Future Factors funding program, where foundations are looking for new, bold exploratory studies.


  20. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Intel Accelerates Its Quantum Computing Efforts With 17-Qubit Chip

    Intel says it is shipping an experimental quantum computing chip to research partners in The Netherlands today. The company hopes to demonstrate that its packaging and integration skills give it an edge in the race to produce practical quantum computers.

    The chip contains 17 superconducting qubits—the quantum computer’s fundamental component. According to Jim Clarke, Intel’s director of quantum hardware, the company chose 17 qubits because it’s the minimum needed to perform surface code error correction, an algorithm thought to be necessary to scaling up quantum computers to useful sizes.

  21. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Commercial Quantum Computing Pushes On

    Intel Labs has announced 17-qubit CMOS superconducting demonstration platform that it says brings quantum computing closer to commercial development. Intel delivered the prototype this week to research partner QuTech (Delft, Netherlands), which will test it on a suite of quantum algorithms to prove the design’s commercial relevance.

    Intel entered the quantum computer race in 2015, when it invested $50 million to advance quantum computing in a collaborative development effort with QuTech. The researchers aim to accelerate the development of commercially useful quantum computers by pairing Intel’s CMOS design and manufacturing expertise with QuTech’s expertise in connecting, controlling, and measuring multiple, entangled qubits.

    At this year’s International Solid-State Circuits Conference (ISSCC 2017), the collaborators demonstrated key circuit blocks for an integrated cryogenic-CMOS control system that cools to 20 milli-Kelvin (250 times colder than deep space),

  22. Tomi Engdahl says:

    IBM Simulates a 56-Qubit Machine

    Quantum computers can, in theory, vastly outperform conventional computers using components known as qubits. Now IBM says it has simulated a 56-qubit quantum computer on an old-fashioned supercomputer, a task some had previously suggested was beyond the capabilities of conventional machines.
    These findings do not mean that Google and others should abandon their quantum computer projects, the researchers add. Instead, they suggest that conventional supercomputers could help make sure quantum computers actually work by double-checking their results.

  23. Tomi Engdahl says:

    A Data Bus for Quantum Computers

    Quantum physicists are now laying the groundwork for a “quantum bus,” which can teleport quantum information between the memory and processor components of future quantum computers.

  24. Tomi Engdahl says:

    IBM makes 20 qubit quantum computing machine available as a cloud service

    IBM has been offering quantum computing as a cloud service since last year when it came out with a 5 qubit version of the advanced computers. Today, the company announced that it’s releasing 20-qubit quantum computers, quite a leap in just 18 months. A qubit is a single unit of quantum information.

  25. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Ron Miller / TechCrunch:
    IBM will make 20-qubit quantum computing machine available as a cloud service by end of 2017 and unveils 50-qubit quantum computing prototype — IBM has been offering quantum computing as a cloud service since last year when it came out with a 5 qubit version of the advanced computers.

    IBM makes 20 qubit quantum computing machine available as a cloud service

  26. Tomi Engdahl says:

    IBM’s Quantum Computer Goes Commercial

    IBM’s quantum computer — free online as IBM’s Q — is going commercial at the Supercomputing Conference 2017 this week in Denver.

    Q’s now time-proven capabilities, attained from the free trial period, will still be cloud hosted with a ready-to-go 20-qubit version and a 50-qubit prototype that demonstrates how to solve NP Hard (non-deterministic polynomial-time hard) problems impossible for the fastest supercomputer today.

    IBM will also provide an open-source quantum information software kit (QIS-Kit). The key to its QIS-Kit is you don’t need a quantum computer to compose and debug your quantum application software, but can prove its correctness first on a conventional computer. Once debugged, the software can be assured to achieve its desired goals with NP-Hard problems. In fact, IBM claims over 60,000 users have beta-tested and debugged their QIS-Kit on over 1.7 million quantum application programs.

  27. Tomi Engdahl says:

    IBM Edges Closer to Quantum Supremacy with 50-Qubit Processor

    “We have successfully built a 20-qubit and a 50-qubit quantum processor that works,” Dario Gil, IBM’s vice president of science and solutions, told engineers and computer scientists at IEEE Rebooting Computing’s Industry Forum last Friday. The development both ups the size of commercially available quantum computing resources and brings computer science closer to the point where it might prove definitively whether quantum computers can do something classical computers can’t.

    “It’s been fundamentally decades in the making, and we’re really proud of this achievement,” said Gil.

  28. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Two New Simulators Tease Future of Quantum Computing

    A universal quantum computer capable of outperforming today’s classical computers in solving many different problems remains the biggest future prize for many engineers and researchers. One possible path toward that goal comes from two U.S. research groups that have demonstrated some of the largest quantum simulators ever built. Such specialized devices are much less versatile than the vision for universal quantum computers, but share architectural similarities that could pave the way for the latter.

    Quantum simulators are designed to tackle very specific problems in scientific fields such as high-energy physics and chemistry. These devices have mostly consisted of small arrays of five or 10 quantum bits (qubits) that can each represent multiple states of information simultaneously. In recent work, one research group used lasers as optical tweezers to assemble a 51-qubit array of so-called Rydberg atoms. A second group showed how to build a 53-qubit “trapped ion” device using electric fields to control a string of charged atoms

  29. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Announcing the Microsoft Quantum Development Kit

    The Microsoft Quantum Development Kit, preview available here, includes the following three key components:

    Fully integrated quantum-focused programming language Q# (Q-sharp)
    Local & Azure quantum simulators
    Rich libraries and samples as building blocks

  30. Tomi Engdahl says:

    New silicon structure opens the gate to quantum computers

    In a major step toward making a quantum computer using everyday materials, a team led by researchers at Princeton University has constructed a key piece of silicon hardware capable of controlling quantum behavior between two electrons with extremely high precision. The study was published Dec. 7 in the journal Science.

  31. Tomi Engdahl says:

    IBM Quantum Woos Fortune 500

    Fortune 500 companies, academic institutions and national research labs are signing up to use IBM’s quantum computers — called IBM Q — hosted in the cloud.

    JPMorgan Chase, Daimler AG, Samsung, JSR Corp., Barclays, Hitachi Metals, Honda, Nagase, Keio University, Oak Ridge National Lab, Oxford University and University of Melbourne are the first commercial members of the IBM Q cloud based pay-as-you-go IBM Q Network service.

    Already publicly available as the IBM Q Experience, IBM has freely made quantum computing available to more than 60,000 users who have run more than 1.7 million quantum experiments which resulted in more than 35 third-party scholarly publications. IBM’s open source quantum software and developer tools are also made freely available to users.

  32. Tomi Engdahl says:

    System Bits: Dec. 19
    Controlling qubits; quantum interactions; AI for underwater vehicles.

    In a major step toward making a quantum computer using everyday materials, a team led by researchers at Princeton University has reported they’ve constructed a key piece of silicon hardware capable of controlling quantum behavior between two electrons with extremely high precision.

    The team said they have constructed a gate that controls interactions between the electrons in a way that allows them to act as the quantum bits of information, or qubits, necessary for quantum computing. The demonstration of this nearly error-free, two-qubit gate is an important early step in building a more complex quantum computing device from silicon, the same material used in conventional computers and smartphones.

  33. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Quantum computing also got a shout-out, as Intel flagged that its new Tangle Lake 49-qubit quantum computing test chip is now being shared with research partner QuTech


  34. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Intel Rolls Out 49 Qubits

    With a backdrop of security and stock trading news swirling, Intel’s [Brian Krzanich] opened the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show with a keynote where he looked to future innovations. One of the bombshells: Tangle Lake; Intel’s 49-qubit superconducting quantum test chip. You can catch all of [Krzanch’s] keynote in replay and there is a detailed press release covering the details.

    This puts Intel on the playing field with IBM who claims a 50-qubit device and Google, who planned to complete a 49-qubit device. Their previous device only handled 17 qubits. The term qubit refers to “quantum bits” and the number of qubits is significant because experts think at around 49 or 50 qubits, quantum computers won’t be practical to simulate with conventional computers. At least until someone comes up with better algorithms. Keep in mind that — in theory — a quantum computer with 49 qubits can process about 500 trillion states at one time. To put that in some apple and orange perspective, your brain has fewer than 100 billion neurons.

    2018 CES: Intel Advances Quantum and Neuromorphic Computing Research

  35. Tomi Engdahl says:

    New entrepreneurs for quantum machines

    The future prospects of quantum technology also attract new entrepreneurs to the field. One of them is Rigetti Computing, which in June launched a specialized quantum integration circuit manufacturing line in Fremont, California. There they produced their first 8-cubic circuit and in December they released a 19-kbit band.

    For example, Intel’s and IBM’s fewer choices were compensated by hybrid technology combining classical computer and quantum machine technology. The company has already developed its own forest-quantum development environment based on a hybrid approach. Its base is the Quil command line.

    However, quantum computing titles were stolen at Intel Las Vegas CES, where it introduced the latest 49-bit test circuit. The previous 17-cubit was introduced only a few months ago.

    The new circuit is named Tangle Lak and it contains 49 supra-conductor cubic circuits. Among them, Intel’s partner QuTech and several other smaller companies are going to develop and test different hardware or software components for quantum computing.

    The publication is linked to a race where IBM and Google are aiming for a 50-bit quantum circuit. Such a number of kubs could already evaluate and improve debugging techniques and simulate computational problems.


  36. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Intel Unveils Prototype Neuromorphic Chip for AI on the Edge

    At CES 2018 Intel unveiled a prototype chip, Loihi, that mimics the architecture of the human brain for adaptable AI processing on the edge.

    Intel isn’t letting controversy over a series of processor bugs stop it from continuing to push innovation in processors. 2018 is already looking to be the year that competition in the artificial intelligence processor space really heats up. And at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) Intel made its first major chip announcement of the year by unveiling a new prototype neuromorphic chip, codenamed Loihi (pronounced low-ee-hee), which it says will enable devices to perform advanced deep learning processing on the edge with new levels of power efficiency.

    “This has been a major research effort by Intel and today we have a fully functioning neuromorphic research chip,” Intel CEO Brian Krzanich said during his keynote at CES 2018. “This incredible technology adds to the breadth of AI solutions that Intel is developing.” Krzanich added that Intel has already used Loihi successfully in image recognition tests in its own labs.

    In a video from Intel shown as part of the keynote, Mike Davis, the director of Intel’s Neuromorphic Computing Lab further explained: “Traditional computing rests on this basic idea that you have two computing elements – a CPU and a memory. Neuromorphic computing is throwing that out and starting from a completely different point on the architectural spectrum.”

    With Loihi engineers will be able to build a network, feed it data, and that data will change the network, much in the same way that new information changes the brain. The chip can learn and infer on its own without the add of any sort of external update from the cloud or other source. And it does all of this while using fewer resources than a general compute chip. According to Intel, Loihi is up to 1,000 times more energy-efficient than the general purpose computing that is typically used for training neural networks. Ultimately this could mean creating devices that can adapt and modify their own performance in real time.

    Of course these chips won’t be able to just pick up any new task like a human. Like any neural network they will still have to be initially trained. Neuromorphic chips are also generally slower than general-purpose CPUs. There advantages come in their specialization and their ability to adapt from their training.

    2018 CES: Neuromophic Computing Mimics the Human Brain

  37. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Intel presents Neuromorphic Computing at CES 2018

    Intel’s CEO Brian Krzanich speaks on Neuromorphic Computing and Intel’s own Drone within CES 2018 Keynote

  38. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Philip Ball / Quanta Magazine:
    How the current state of quantum computing needs to overcome inherent physics and error correction challenges to make quantum computers truly powerful

    The Era of Quantum Computing Is Here. Outlook: Cloudy

    Quantum computers should soon be able to beat classical computers at certain basic tasks. But before they’re truly powerful, researchers have to overcome a number of fundamental roadblocks.

  39. Tomi Engdahl says:

    The Era of Quantum Computing Is Here. Outlook: Cloudy
    January 24, 2018

    Quantum computers should soon be able to beat classical computers at certain basic tasks. But before they’re truly powerful, researchers have to overcome a number of fundamental roadblocks.

  40. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Not even IBM is sure where its quantum computer experiments will lead
    But it will be fun to find out.

    Despite the hype and hoopla surrounding the burgeoning field of quantum computing, the technology is still in its infancy. Just a few years ago, researchers were making headlines with rudimentary machines that housed less than a dozen qubits — the quantum version of a classical computer’s binary bit. At IBM’s inaugural Index Developer Conference held in San Francisco this week, the company showed off its latest prototype: a quantum computing rig housing 50 qubits, one of the most advanced machines currently in existence.

    “People aren’t going to just wake up in three or four years, and say, ‘Oh okay, now I’m ready to use quantum, what do I have to learn,’” Bob Sutor, VP of IBM Q Strategy and Ecosystem at IBM Research, told Engadget.

    These systems rely on the “spooky” properties of quantum physics, as Einstein put it, and their operation is radically different from how today’s computers work. “What you’re basically doing is you’re replacing the notion of bits with something called qubits,” Sutor said. “Ultimately when you measure a qubit it’s zero or one, but before that there’s a realm of freedom of what that can actually be. It’s not zero and one at the same time or anything like this, it just takes on values from a much, much larger mathematical space.

    “The basic logic gates [AND, OR, NOT, NOR, etc], those gates are different for quantum,”

    This efficiency, however, is tempered by the system’s frailty. Currently, a qubit’s coherence time tops out at 90 microseconds before decaying. That is, if a qubit is designated as a 1, it’ll only remain a 1 for 0.0009 seconds. “After that all bets are off. You’ve got a certain amount of time in which to actually use this thing reliably,” Sutor said. “Any computations you’re going to do with a qubit have to come within that period.”

    As such quantum computers are highly sensitive to interference from temperature, microwaves, photons, even the electricity running the machine itself. S


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