Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Large-scale quantum chip validated

01.07.2013
New research finds that prototype quantum optimization chip operates as hoped

A team of scientists at USC has verified that quantum effects are indeed at play in the first commercial quantum optimization processor.

The team demonstrated that the D-Wave processor housed at the USC-Lockheed Martin Quantum Computing Center behaves in a manner that indicates that quantum mechanics plays a functional role in the way it works. The demonstration involved a small subset of the chip's 128 qubits.

This means that the device appears to be operating as a quantum processor – something that scientists had hoped for but have needed extensive testing to verify.

The quantum processor was purchased from Canadian manufacturer D-Wave nearly two years ago by Lockheed Martin and housed at the USC Viterbi Information Sciences Institute (ISI). As the first of its kind, the task for scientists putting it through its paces was to determine whether the quantum computer was operating as hoped.

"Using a specific test problem involving eight qubits we have verified that the D-Wave processor performs optimization calculations (that is, finds lowest energy solutions) using a procedure that is consistent with quantum annealing and is inconsistent with the predictions of classical annealing," said Daniel Lidar, scientific director of the Quantum Computing Center and one of the researchers on the team, who holds joint appointments with the USC Viterbi School of Engineering and the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences.

Quantum annealing is a method of solving optimization problems using quantum mechanics – at a large enough scale, potentially much faster than a traditional processor can.

Research institutions throughout the world build and use quantum processors, but most only have a few quantum bits, or "qubits."

Qubits have the capability of encoding the two digits of one and zero at the same time – as opposed to traditional bits, which can encode distinctly either a one or a zero. This property, called "superposition," along with the ability of quantum states to "tunnel" through energy barriers, are hoped to play a role in helping future generations of the D-Wave processor to ultimately perform optimization calculations much faster than traditional processors.

With 108 functional qubits, the D-Wave processor at USC inspired hopes for a significant advance in the field of quantum computing when it was installed in October 2011 – provided it worked as a quantum information processor. Quantum processors can fall victim to a phenomenon called "decoherence," which stifles their ability to behave in a quantum fashion.

The USC team's research shows that the chip, in fact, performed largely as hoped, demonstrating the potential for quantum optimization on a larger-than-ever scale.

"Our work seems to show that, from a purely physical point of view, quantum effects play a functional role in information processing in the D-Wave processor," said Sergio Boixo, first author of the research paper, who conducted the research while he was a computer scientist at ISI and research assistant professor at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering.

Boixo and Lidar collaborated with Tameem Albash, postdoctoral research associate in physics at USC Dornsife; Federico M. Spedalieri, computer scientist at ISI; and Nicholas Chancellor, a recent physics graduate at USC Dornsife. Their findings will be published in Nature Communications on June 28.

The news comes just two months after the Quantum Computing Center's original D-Wave processor—known commercially as the "Rainier" chip—was upgraded to a new 512-qubit "Vesuvius" chip. The Quantum Computing Center, which includes a magnetically shielded box that is kept frigid (near absolute zero) to protect the computer against decoherence, was designed to be upgradable to keep up with the latest developments in the field.

The new Vesuvius chip at USC is currently the only one in operation outside of D-Wave. A second such chip, owned by Google and housed at NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California, is expected to become operational later this year.

Next, the USC team will take the Vesuvius chip for a test drive, putting it through the same paces as the Rainier chip.

This research was supported by the Lockheed Martin Corporation; U.S. Army Research Office grant number W911NF-12-1-0523; National Science Foundation grant number CHM-1037992, ARO Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative grant W911NF-11-1-026.

Robert Perkins | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.usc.edu

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht NASA detects solar flare pulses at Sun and Earth
17.11.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

nachricht Pluto's hydrocarbon haze keeps dwarf planet colder than expected
16.11.2017 | University of California - Santa Cruz

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

Im Focus: Researchers Develop Data Bus for Quantum Computer

The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.

Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...

Im Focus: Wrinkles give heat a jolt in pillared graphene

Rice University researchers test 3-D carbon nanostructures' thermal transport abilities

Pillared graphene would transfer heat better if the theoretical material had a few asymmetric junctions that caused wrinkles, according to Rice University...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA detects solar flare pulses at Sun and Earth

17.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

NIST scientists discover how to switch liver cancer cell growth from 2-D to 3-D structures

17.11.2017 | Health and Medicine

The importance of biodiversity in forests could increase due to climate change

17.11.2017 | Studies and Analyses

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>