Physicists Create City-Sized Ultrasecure Quantum Network

By Sierra Mitchell

Quantum cryptography promises a future in which computers communicate with one another over ultrasecure links using the razzle-dazzle of quantum physics. But scaling up the breakthroughs in research labs to networks with a large number of nodes has proved difficult. Now an international team of researchers has built a scalable city-wide quantum network to share keys for encrypting messages.

The network can grow in size without incurring an unreasonable escalation in the costs of expensive quantum hardware. Also, this system does not require any node to be trustworthy, thus removing any security-sapping weak links.

“We have tested it both in the laboratory and in deployed fibers across the city of Bristol” in England, says Siddarth Koduru Joshi of the University of Bristol. He and his colleagues demonstrated their ideas using a quantum network with eight nodes in which the most distant nodes were 17 kilometers apart, as measured by the length of the optical fiber connecting them. The team’s findings appeared in Science Advances on September 2.

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Photonic Link Could Spark an All-Silicon Quantum Internet, Scalable Quantum Devices


UNIVERSITY RESEARCH NEWS — Researchers at the Simon Fraser University report on research, published in Nature today, that they say could pave the way toward an all-silicon quantum internet and quantum computers that can tackle real-world computational challenges. That internet theoretically will be much more secure and much more powerful than today’s version.

In the study, the scientists describe their observations of silicon ‘T centre’ photon-spin qubits, an important milestone that unlocks immediate opportunities to construct massively scalable quantum computers and the quantum internet that will connect them.

Quantum computing has enormous potential to provide computing power well beyond the capabilities of today’s supercomputers, which could enable advances in many other fields, including chemistry, materials science, medicine and cybersecurity. In order to make this a reality, it is necessary to produce both stable, long-lived qubits that provide processing power, as well as the communications technology that enables these qubits to link together at scale.

Past research has indicated that silicon can produce some of the most stable and long-lived qubits in the industry. Now the research published by Daniel Higginbottom, Alex Kurkjian, and co-authors provides proof of principle that T centres, a specific luminescent defect in silicon, can provide a ‘photonic link’ between qubits.

This comes out of the SFU Silicon Quantum Technology Lab in SFU’s Physics Department, co-led by Stephanie Simmons, Canada Research Chair in Silicon Quantum Technologies and Michael Thewalt, Professor Emeritus.  “This work is the first measurement of single T centres in isolation, and actually, the first measurement of any single spin in silicon to be performed with only optical measurements,” says Stephanie Simmons.

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Breakthrough in Silicon Qubits, Photonics Accelerates Quantum Internet

Reusing existing fiber optic infrastructure is (almost) as big a deal as it gets.

By Francisco Pires

A render for a single T centre qubit in the silicon lattice, which supports the first single spin to ever be optically observed in silicon. The constituents of the T centre (two carbon atoms and a hydrogen atom) are shown as orange, and the optically-addressable electron spin is in shining pale blue. (Image credit: Photonics)

Researchers from Simon Fraser University may have just released the photonic springs that accelerate the quantum internet. In a paper published in Nature, the researchers demonstrated an emergent capacity in silicon qubits to produce a “photonic link” between each other. Furthermore, this same photonic capability may be easily integrated with the existing fiber optic infrastructure that already carries data across a reasonable (yet still insufficient) portion of society. That is bound to provide immense savings on deploying a quantum internet – and as we all know, the cost is (mostly) king.

The authors’ paper describes observations carried on particular types of qubits: “T-center” photon-spin qubits, a kind of qubit that takes advantage of a specific luminescent defect in silicon – more specifically, InGaAs (Indium gallium arsenide), also explored in CPU manufacturing technologies. Silicon qubits have already shown remarkable coherence times – which relate to how resistant qubits are to outside interferences that would cause them to collapse and lose their information in the process, becoming unusable for the workload at hand.

And with more fantastic coherence times – and the comparative ease with which these “T center” qubits can be linked – comes the capability to perform more and more significant calculations. In their experiment, the researchers observed the effect in over 1,500 T Center qubits, ensuring they can replicate it – a healthy indicator for the potential scalability of their solution.

“This work is the first measurement of single T centers in isolation, and actually, the first measurement of any single spin in silicon to be performed with only optical measurements,” said Stephanie Simmons, Canada Research Chair in Silicon Quantum Technologies.  

“An emitter like the T center that combines high-performance spin qubits and optical photon generation is ideal to make scalable, distributed, quantum computers,” she continued, “because they can handle the processing and the communications together, rather than needing to interface two different quantum technologies, one for processing and one for communications.”

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By Frederic Lardinois

D-Wave made a name for itself with its early annealing quantum computers and even though the company recently announced its efforts to also build a superconducting gate-model quantum computer, it’s not abandoning its quantum annealing technology. Case in point: The company today made the first prototype of its next-gen Advantage2 annealing quantum computer available in its cloud. This is not the full system, which will feature 7,000 qubits when it launches in 2023 or 2024, but a small 500+ qubit version that is meant to showcase the company’s new qubit design and its Zephyr topology (PDF) with 20-way inter-qubit connectivity.

“The Advantage2 prototype is designed to share what we’re learning and gain feedback from the community as we continue to build towards the full Advantage2 system,” said Emile Hoskinson, director, Quantum Annealing Products, D-Wave. “Our current Advantage quantum computer was completely re-engineered from the ground up. With Advantage2, we’re pushing that envelope again — demonstrating that connectivity and reduction in noise will be a delivery vehicle for even greater performance once the full system is available. The Advantage2 prototype is an opportunity for us to share our excitement and give a sneak peek into the future for customers bringing quantum into their applications.”


World First Room Temperature Quantum Computer Installed in Australia

A quantum-HPC integration serving more than 4,000 researchers.

By Francisco Pires 

The world’s first on-premises, room-temperature quantum computer has just been installed in Pawsey’s Supercomputing Research Centre, in Australia. Developed by Australian start-up Quantum Brilliance, the quantum accelerator doesn’t require any exotic cooling methods to maintain quantum coherence, and has even been developed for installation in a typical rack system. The new quantum accelerator will thus be taken for a spin in tandem with Pawsey’s new, state-of-the-art Setonix, its HPE Cray Ex supercomputer.

The room-temperature achievement was unlocked due to Quantum Brilliance’s approach to quantum computing; instead of the more common ion chains, silicon quantum dots, or superconducting transmon qubits, Quantum Brilliance took advantage of specifically implanted nitrogen-vacancy centers in synthetic diamonds (where a carbon atom is replaced by a nitrogen one).

These vacancy centers amount to defects in the diamond’s structure, which feature a photoluminescence capability that allows for the qubits’ spin states to be read based on the emitted light’s characteristics, without directly interacting with the qubits. A number of techniques, such as magnetic or electric fields, microwave radiation, or light (Quantum Brilliance uses a green laser technology for this purpose) can be used to directly manipulate the nitrogen-vacancy center’s qubits. Quantum Brilliance’s qubits are described by the company as being in the “middle of the pack” for coherence times and performance, being slower than superconducting qubits, but faster than the trapped-ion approach of some other providers.

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Unveiling IonQ Forte: The First Software-Configurable Quantum Computer

Photograph of IonQ Forte (front left) in our quantum data center in College Park, MD.

Introducing IonQ Forte

Today, the IonQ team is proud to unveil our next generation quantum computer – IonQ Forte. This latest generation quantum computer (Figure 1) represents a leap forward in flexibility, precision and performance. IonQ Forte uses ytterbium ions, and integrates highly specialized acousto-optic deflectors (AODs) to direct laser beams at individual qubits in the ion chain to apply logic gates among the qubits. This approach provides unprecedented precision and stability to the laser beams contributing to both higher fidelity and reliability by minimizing noise and unintended residual light on neighboring qubits.

Compared to our previous systems, IonQ Forte decouples the qubit arrangement in space from a fixed optical addressing system, leading to higher performance, the support of more qubits, and more software-driven flexibility. In fact, our goal is to deliver quantum computers whose architecture is fully controlled through software, from the number of qubits to the entangling gates, connectivity between qubits, error correction and ultimately the entire system performance as measured by the Algorithmic Qubit (#AQ) metric.

IonQ Forte, designed with a capacity of up to 32 qubits like IonQ Aria and further expandable in software, represents a major step in that direction. Once fully characterized (tested and measured), we expect that it will demonstrate superior #AQ results and allow customers to run deeper quantum circuits than ever before. We anticipate that IonQ Forte will be made broadly available in early 2023, with earlier access expected to be provided to select developers, partners, and researchers in 2022 to work alongside IonQ’s scientists in evaluating the full potential of this powerful quantum system.

In this blog post, we will bring you into our development process for IonQ Forte, share our thinking, early results and plans for the future.

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IBM announces plans to deliver 4,000+ qubit system

By Esther Shein 

With a combination of intelligent software, connected architectures and new modular and networked processors, the company is aiming to reach near-term quantum advantage. 

IBM on Tuesday announced it will expand its roadmap for achieving large-scale, practical quantum computing with new modular architectures and networking. This will give IBM’s quantum systems up to hundreds of thousands of qubits, the company said during its annual Think conference.

To enable qubits with the speed and quality necessary for practical quantum computing, they will be orchestrated by what the company characterized as “an increasingly intelligent software layer to efficiently distribute workloads and abstract away infrastructure challenges.”

According to IBM, achieving practical quantum computing will depend upon three pillars: Robust and scalable quantum hardware, cutting-edge quantum software to orchestrate and enable accessible and powerful quantum programs, and a broad global ecosystem of quantum-ready organizations and communities.

The company first announced its quantum roadmap in 2020, starting with “Eagle,” a 127-qubit processor with quantum circuits that cannot be reliably simulated exactly on a classical computer, and whose architecture laid the groundwork for processors with more qubits.

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Photonic quantum computer made in Germany

Everyone is talking about quantum computers. With the help of high interconnection of as many qubits as possible, huge amounts of data are to be processed more easily, quickly and securely in the future.

By Kiera Sowery

In the PhoQuant project, a consortium led by the quantum startup Q.ANT is researching photonic quantum computer chips – made in Germany – which can also be operated at room temperature. One of the 14 consortium partners is the Dresden-based Fraunhofer Institute for Photonic Microsystems IPMS.

In the project “PhoQuant” many years of experience in cutting-edge research and business come together to bring quantum technology to industry. Many quantum computers still operate at extremely low temperatures close to absolute zero (- 273.15 °C). Cooling requirements are correspondingly high, and direct on-chip coupling with classical computer architectures is not possible. In order to ensure a symbiosis of quantum computer chips and conventional mainframe computers, the new photonic chip process is being applied in the “PhoQuant” research project.

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Bank of Canada Using Quantum Computing to Simulate Crypto Adoption Scenarios

The researchers’ model can complete in half an hour what would take a regular PC longer than a human lifetime.

By Stacy Elliott

The Bank of Canada has become the first G7 country to turn to quantum computing to simulate scenarios where cryptocurrency and fiat currency can coexist.

This week, Multiverse Computing, the startup leading Canada’s research, hit a milestone: Its model can evaluate more than 1 octillion possible scenarios in 30 minutes. An octillion is a 10 followed by 30 zeros.

That means Multiverse Computing has completed its proof-of-concept, which combines blockchain data from stablecoin Tether (USDT), whose tokens are pegged to the U.S. dollar, and public data from up to 10 major financial institutions. It also consulted with experts from two major Canadian banks to come up with realistic parameters. 

Multiverse Computing chose Tether for its model because the stablecoin, founded in 2014, had endured a variety of market scenarios in its eight years worth of blockchain data.

Most scenarios in the model showed that non-financial institution adoption of the cryptocurrency would be slow, since there was some upfront knowledge and cost associated with converting fiat to a digital asset. It was also able to simulate how banks might respond by reducing wire transfer fees to compete with the very low cost of crypto transactions.

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New quantum storage technique could make quantum networking possible

By California Institute of Technology

Engineers at Caltech have developed an approach for quantum storage.

It could help pave the way for the development of large-scale optical quantum networks.

The new system relies on nuclear spins—the angular momentum of an atom’s nucleus—oscillating collectively as a spin wave.

This collective oscillation effectively chains up several atoms to store information.

The work, which is described in a paper published on February 16 in the journal Nature, utilizes a quantum bit (or qubit) made from an ion of ytterbium (Yb), a rare earth element also used in lasers.

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New Quantum Computing Partnership Makes 100-Qubit Algorithms a Reality

ColdQuanta, a leader in cold atom quantum technology, and Classiq, which provides the leading software platform for Quantum Algorithm Design, today announced a partnership to make 100-qubit quantum circuits a reality for companies and researchers that crave quantum computing solutions to their most pressing problems. The partnership combines the power of two industry-leading platforms: ColdQuanta’s cold atom quantum computers and Classiq’s quantum algorithm design software.

Together, this combined solution provides customers the unique ability to create, simulate and execute unique quantum circuits to address a wide range of finance, material science, supply chain and machine learning challenges.

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