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 Tune your radio: galaxies sing while forming stars
21.02.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Radioastronomie

nachricht Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms
17.02.2017 | Universität Konstanz

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: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Impacts of mass coral die-off on Indian Ocean reefs revealed

21.02.2017 | Earth Sciences

Novel breast tomosynthesis technique reduces screening recall rate

21.02.2017 | Medical Engineering

Use your Voice – and Smart Homes will “LISTEN”

21.02.2017 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>