Scientists and engineers from the Universities of Bristol and Western Australia have developed how to efficiently simulate a "quantum walk" on a new design for a primitive quantum computer.
Quantum computers have significant potential to open entirely new directions for processing information and to overhaul the way that we think about and use the science of computation. Modern computers already play a huge role in society -- they routinely handle and process vast amounts of data and solve calculations at an incredible rate.
However, there are some problems that they just cannot solve in a useful amount of time, no matter how fast they become. The concept of a quantum computer aims to address this, exploring uncharted computation and solving at least some of these problems that classical computers cannot.
The study published today in Nature Communications, reports strong evidence that with this method something meaningful can already be seen with a primitive quantum computer that cannot be seen with a classical computer. The very first steps towards this have been implemented in the lab in Bristol.
Dr Ashley Montanaro, Lecturer in Applied Mathematics and EPSRC Fellow from the University of Bristol's School of Mathematics, said: "A quantum computer is a machine designed to use quantum mechanics to solve problems more efficiently than any possible classical computer.
"We know some algorithms that can run on such machines and it's an open and exciting challenge to find more. But most of the quantum algorithms we know need to be run on a large-scale quantum computer to see a speed up."
Building a large-scale quantum computer is one of the biggest engineering challenges today. There's a growing worldwide effort to develop one and it needs substantial effort from a wide range of expertise - including as part of the UK National Quantum Technologies Programme (UKNQT). The results could be tremendous, offering fast and cheap ways to design new materials and new pharmaceuticals.
But there is a field of research emerging now that can help accelerate understanding how quantum computers will work and how users can apply them. Examining the power of smaller, more primitive designs for quantum computers indicates that sooner than we thought, quantum machines could outperform the capabilities of classical computing for very specific tasks -- "Boson Sampling" is a recent example that is driven by what is experimentally available very soon.
Big questions researchers face include what can these primitive quantum processors do that is useful to someone and how sophisticated do they need to be. The results published in today's paper help to answer this question, by looking at how to simulate particular kinds of a phenomenon called the quantum walk.
The quantum walk at first glance is abstract. But it is the quantum mechanical version of very useful models such as Brownian motion and the "drunken sailor's random walk". The key difference is the particle in the quantum walk is endowed with the principle of quantum superposition. This has enabled other researchers to show they are a new way to think about how full-scale quantum computers might operate and to create useful quantum algorithms.
Xiaogang Qiang, PhD student in the School of Physics who implemented the experiment, said: "It's like the particle can explore space in parallel. This parallelism is key to quantum algorithms, based on quantum walks that search huge databases more efficiently than we can currently."
Dr Jonathan Matthews, EPSRC Early Career Fellow and Lecturer in the School of Physics and the Centre for Quantum Photonics, explained: "An exciting outcome of our work is that we may have found a new example of quantum walk physics that we can observe with a primitive quantum computer, that otherwise a classical computer could not see.
"These otherwise hidden properties have practical use, perhaps in helping to design more sophisticated quantum computers."
'Efficient quantum walk on a quantum processor' [open access] by Xiaogang Qiang, Thomas Loke, Ashley Montanaro, Kanin Aungskunsiri, Xiaoqi Zhou, Jeremy L. O'Brien, Jingbo Wang, Jonathan C. F. Matthews in Nature Communications
Joanne Fryer | EurekAlert!
Climate cycles may explain how running water carved Mars' surface features
02.12.2016 | Penn State
What do Netflix, Google and planetary systems have in common?
02.12.2016 | University of Toronto
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water
In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...
The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.
Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering
02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science
02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy