Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Quantum Computer

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This year sees the release of the first fault-tolerant quantum computer in the world, ahead of a 10,000-qubit system in 2026.

With 256 physical qubits and 10 logical qubits at launch, QuEra’s first commercially accessible machine utilizing this technology has significantly lowered the error rate in qubits.

Before the end of the year, the first fault-tolerant quantum computer in the world for commercial use using “logical qubits” could be operational.

By storing the same data in many locations, logical qubits—physical quantum bits, or qubits—connected via quantum entanglement help minimize mistakes in quantum computing. This increases the variety of potential failure sites for computations.

The firm QuEra, which is creating the machine, said in a statement that it will deploy in late 2024. The machine includes 256 physical and 10 logical qubits.

The news comes after researchers from Harvard, QuEra, and numerous other universities showed a working quantum computer with 48 logical qubits, the most logical qubits tested to far. The report was published Dec. 6, 2023, in the journal Nature.

Related: Researchers have constructed a gigantic 1,000-qubit quantum device; therefore, why are they more enthusiastic about a ten-fold smaller one?

In an email to Live Science, research co-author Harry Zhou, a physicist at QuEra and Harvard University, said, “It is the first machine with quantum error correction.”

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Although it lacks the capability to be useful on its own, Zhou stated that this computer offers a platform for software developers to begin testing code for upcoming quantum computers.

Why error-correction is necessary in quantum computing

Because of the principles of quantum physics, qubits—a superposition between 0 and 1—are used by quantum computers instead of bits, which are used by traditional computers to store information.

Quantum entanglement may also be used to weave together qubits so they can exist in several states at once. If you can assemble a sufficient number of them to create a quantum computer, this allows them to execute several computations far more quickly than traditional computers. However, qubits are infamously error-prone because of how readily they may be disrupted. Compared to 1 in 1 billion billion bits in traditional computers, about 1 in 1,000 fail.

If quantum computers were to have millions of qubits, they may surpass the fastest supercomputers; however, the largest quantum computer constructed to date only contains around 1,000 qubits, and potential scale-up is limited by the high failure rate of qubits. Error correction, which might be achieved by constructing logical qubits, could mitigate the failure propensity of qubits.

Logic-based qubits: reducing quantum noise

Data redundancy, or storing the same piece of data in numerous locations, is the foundation of the new error-correction technology, according to Zhou. When one or more physical qubits fail, logical qubits may still conduct the same computations using multiple physical qubits, significantly lowering error rates because the data is still accessible for the calculations.

Researchers combined conventional qubits with error-correcting computer code to create the logical qubit. To entangle the qubits, they next installed logical gates, or circuits, between them. Next, the quantum computer determines the “syndrome,” which is a metric indicating the likelihood of an error occurring or not. The quantum computer uses this data to fix the mistakes and go on to the next phase.

The new qubits are a major improvement over earlier attempts. Quera’s error rate is 0.5% with 48 logical qubits, while the Google Quantum AI Lab revealed a 2.9% error rate with three logical qubits in 2023. The University of Oxford leads the world in error rates under 0.01%, however their accomplishments are limited to two-qubit gates.

Additionally, IBM showcased error-correction technology in its 127-qubit Heron processor last year, which cut mistake rates in half when compared to other chips in the company’s lineup. However, 2029 is when its first fault-tolerant computer for sale is anticipated.

In the upcoming years, QuEra intends to introduce a number of quantum computers. The first will be a 3,000 physical qubit, 30-logical qubit machine that will be released in 2025. Its monster, a device expected to have 100 logical qubits and over 10,000 physical qubits, will be released in 2026. “At 100 logical qubits, the [2026] machine can perform correct calculations that exceed the capability of today’s supercomputers,” Zhou stated.

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