US intel outfit wants the ultimate quantum qubit

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20 April 2015 | 0

Researchers behind the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) want to gather computer scientists, engineers and physicists to define the challenge of “encoding imperfect physical qubits into a logical qubit that protects against gate errors and damaging environmental influences.”

In the quantum computing, a quantum bit or qubit, is used instead of the usual bits representing 1s or 0s. Ultimately quantum computing efforts will result in super-fast, super secure computers the experts say.

According to IARPA, quantum information processing has witnessed tremendous advances in high-fidelity qubit operations and an increase in the size and complexity of controlled quantum computing systems, “it still suffers from physical-qubit gate and measurement fidelities that fall short of desired thresholds, multi-qubit systems whose overall performance is inferior to that of isolated qubits, and non-extensible architectures—all of which hinder their path toward fault-tolerance.”

That is why a programme to be detailed by IARPA next month called LogiQ, will hopefully build a logical qubit from physical qubits and push for higher fidelity in multi-qubit operations, which will result in the development of vigorous quantum processors.

“In order to capture the full range of issues that impact the development of a larger quantum processor, it is important to focus on improving all of these aspects concurrently. Moreover, it is essential to develop relevant error budgets and statistics that can robustly estimate system performance from isolated performance metrics,” IARPA stated.

In trying to define LogiQ, IARPA listed a number of challenges the programme will address. Among them LogiQ aims to:

  • Experimentally address the true complexity and requirements for encoding quantum information into a logical subspace
  • Ascertain the complete error environment in a system of over ten connected physical qubits
  • Characterise temporal and spatial correlations affecting system performance
  • Choreograph and optimise open loop control of individual qubits throughout gate operations
  • Implement the closed loop feedback needed to compensate for errors and determine 
the required level of synchronicity and operational scheduling
  • Characterise crosstalk and determine the level of mitigation required for high- 
fidelity logical-qubit operations
  • Establish the logical-qubit requirements of classical control infrastructure, 
latencies, speed and fidelity of measurement, etc.
  • Develop classical controllers and measurement devices to manipulate physical 
qubits appropriate for logical-qubit processing
  • Include extensibility in the logical qubit design to provide flexibility for future, more complex systems

It is hoped that the efforts will jump-start quantum computing developments, which many have considered stalled for some time.


Michael Cooney, IDG News Service

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