D-Wave’s 5,000-qubit quantum computing platform handles 1 million variables

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D-Wave Advantage System

D-Wave today launched its next-generation quantum computing platform available via its Leap quantum cloud service. The company calls Advantage “the first quantum computer built for business.” In that vein, D-Wave today also debuted Launch, a jump-start program for businesses that want to begin building hybrid quantum applications.

“The Advantage quantum computer is the first quantum computer designed and developed from the ground up to support business applications,” D-Wave CEO Alan Baratz told VentureBeat. “We engineered it to be able to deal with large, complex commercial applications and to be able to support the running of those applications in production environments. There is no other quantum computer anywhere in the world that can solve problems at the scale and complexity that this quantum computer can solve problems. It really is the only one that you can run real business applications on. The other quantum computers are primarily prototypes. You can do experimentation, run small proofs of concept, but none of them can support applications at the scale that we can.”

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Top 10 digital transformation trends for 2021

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No one could have predicted where 2020 would take us: The last six months alone have produced more digital transformation than the last decade, with every transformation effort already underway finding itself accelerated, and at scale. While many of my digital transformation predictions from a year ago benefited from this shift, others were displaced by more urgent needs, like 24/7 secure and reliable connectivity. What does this mean for 2021? Will core technologies like AI and data analytics still dominate headlines, or will we see newer, previously emerging technologies take the lead? Only time will tell, but here are my top ten digital transformation predictions for 2021.

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IBM publishes its quantum roadmap, says it will have a 1,000-qubit machine in 2023

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IBM Quantum Hummingbird

IBM today, for the first time, published its road map for the future of its quantum computing hardware. There is a lot to digest here, but the most important news in the short term is that the company believes it is on its way to building a quantum processor with more than 1,000 qubits — and somewhere between 10 and 50 logical qubits — by the end of 2023.

Currently, the company’s quantum processors top out at 65 qubits. It plans to launch a 127-qubit processor next year and a 433-qubit machine in 2022. To get to this point, IBM is also building a completely new dilution refrigerator to house these larger chips, as well as the technology to connect multiple of these units to build a system akin to today’s multi-core architectures in classical chips.

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New research advances U.S. Army’s quest for ultra-secure quantum networking

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Two U.S. Army research projects at the University of Chicago advance quantum networking, which will play a key role in future battlefield operations.

 Quantum networks will potentially deliver multiple novel capabilities not achievable with classical networks, one of which is secure quantum communication. In quantum communication protocols, information is typically sent through entangled photon particles. It is nearly impossible to eavesdrop on quantum communication, and those who try leave evidence of their tampering; however, sending quantum information via photons over traditional channels, such as fiber-optic lines, is difficult – the photons carrying the information are often corrupted or lost, making the signals weak or incoherent.

In the first project, the University of Chicago research team, funded and managed by the U.S. Army’s Combat Capability Development’s Army Research Laboratory’s Center for Distributed Quantum Information, demonstrated a new quantum communication technique that bypasses those traditional channels. The research linked two communication nodes with a channel and sent information quantum-mechanically between the nodes—without ever occupying the linking channel.

“This result is particularly exciting not only because of the high transfer efficiency the team achieved, but also because the system they developed will enable further exploration of quantum protocols in the presence of variable signal loss,” said Dr. Sara Gamble, program manager at the lab’s Army Research Office and co-manager of the Center for Distributed Quantum Information. “Overcoming loss is a key obstacle in realizing robust quantum communication and quantum networks.”

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The quest for quantum-proof encryption just made a leap forward

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Quantum computers could make encryption a thing of the past, but 15 contenders are trying to prove they have what it takes to safeguard your data.

Many of the things you do online every day are protected by encryption so that no one else can spy on it. Your online banking and messages to your friends are likely encrypted, for example—as are government secrets. But that protection is under threat from the development of quantum computers, which threaten to render modern encryption methods useless.

Quantum machines work in a fundamentally different way from the classical computers we use today. Instead of using traditional binary code, which represents information with 0s and 1s, they use quantum bits, or qubits. The unusual properties of qubits make quantum computers far more powerful for some kinds of calculations, including the mathematical problems that underpin much of modern encryption.

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MIT engineers use ‘artificial atoms’ to make the world’s largest quantum chip of its kind

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Quantum chips have proved somewhere between difficult and impossible to manufacture

Researchers at MIT have developed a way to manufacturer “artificial atoms” to produce what they claim is the world’s largest quantum chip of its kind.

The atoms have been created in microscopically thin slices of diamond.

The accomplishment “marks a turning point” in the field of quantum processors, said Dirk Englund, associate professor at MIT’s Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, in a statement.

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New research advances U.S. Army’s quest for ultra-secure quantum networking

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Two U.S. Army research projects at the University of Chicago advance quantum networking, which will play a key role in future battlefield operations.

Two U.S. Army research projects advance quantum networking, which will likely play a key role in future battlefield operations.

Quantum networks will potentially deliver multiple novel capabilities not achievable with classical networks, one of which is secure quantum communication. In quantum communication protocols, information is typically sent through entangled photon particles. It is nearly impossible to eavesdrop on quantum communication, and those who try leave evidence of their tampering; however, sending quantum information via photons over traditional channels, such as fiber-optic lines, is difficult – the photons carrying the information are often corrupted or lost, making the signals weak or incoherent.

In the first project, the University of Chicago research team, funded and managed by the U.S. Army’s Combat Capability Development’s Army Research Laboratory’s Center for Distributed Quantum Information, demonstrated a new quantum communication technique that bypasses those traditional channels. The research linked two communication nodes with a channel and sent information quantum-mechanically between the nodes—without ever occupying the linking channel.

“This result is particularly exciting not only because of the high transfer efficiency the team achieved, but also because the system they developed will enable further exploration of quantum protocols in the presence of variable signal loss,” said Dr. Sara Gamble, program manager at the lab’s Army Research Office and co-manager of the Center for Distributed Quantum Information. “Overcoming loss is a key obstacle in realizing robust quantum communication and quantum networks.”

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Meet Silq: The first intuitive programming language for quantum computers

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The creation of the C programming language was a massive milestone for classical computing. Developed by Dennis Ritchie and Ken Thompson at AT&T Bell Laboratories in the early 1970s, C was an easy programming language for would-be computer coders to learn. At the time, most computer programs were written in what is called assembly language, which communicates directly with the computer’s hardware. But while assembly programs gave users unparalleled control over their machines, they were long, complex, and difficult to debug. C was different. It was easy, intuitive, and helped open up computer programming to an entirely new audience. It was nothing short of a revolution in computing.

Now, nearly 50 years after C was created, computer scientists have reached a similar milestone: A new programming language that brings the same level of coding simplicity to quantum computing.

Drawing parallels between the development of classical computers and the state of quantum computing today is difficult. Quantum computers, for those unfamiliar with them, represent the future of computing as we know it. Unlike a classical computer, which encodes information as a series of ones and zeroes, the “qubits” in a quantum computer can be either a one, a zero, or both at the same time. Quantum computers operate under different, quantum rules to classical computers — and promise to eventually be almost unimaginably fast when it comes to crunching data and carrying out calculations.

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The best applications for Quantum Computing

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One of the areas that I have been researching is what applications can best make use of the power of quantum computing. Although this is a work in progress, I am providing a preliminary assessment for my readers based upon discussions with various experts and other research I have done so far. The list below is shown in a priority order based upon the combination of three factors that I have reviewed: Progress-to-Date, Difficulty, and Payoff. One thing to note is that the successful implementations for most, if not all, of these application areas will probably be based upon a hybrid platform that combines classical and quantum computing in a cloud environment to achieve the best of both worlds. So here’s the list.

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Honeywell claims to have world’s highest performing quantum computer according to IBM’s benchmark

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The chamber housing the ion trap in Honeywell’s quantum computer system.

Honeywell said JP Morgan Chase and other customers are using its quantum computer in production, which it claims is the most powerful currently in use based on a benchmark established last year by IBM.

Industrial giant Honeywell on Thursday said it is now live with a quantum computer running client jobs that uses six effective quantum bits, or qubits, and a resulting “volume” of compute that it claims makes the system the most powerful quantum machine currently in production.

The announcement fulfills a vow the company made in March to offer a machine with a quantum volume of 64, as related on March 3rd by ZDNet’s Lawrence Dignan in a conversation with Honeywell’s head of quantum, Tony Uttley, who is president of the division Honeywell Quantum Solutions.

“In March we said within the next three months we’re going to be releasing the world’s highest-performing quantum computer, and so this is a case of Honeywell did what it said it was going to do,” Uttley told ZDNet in a telephone call.

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Quantum computing will (eventually) help us discover vaccines in days

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The coronavirus is proving that we have to move faster in identifying and mitigating epidemics before they become pandemics because, in today’s global world, viruses spread much faster, further, and more frequently than ever before.

If COVID-19 has taught us anything, it’s that while our ability to identify and treat pandemics has improved greatly since the outbreak of the Spanish Flu in 1918, there is still a lot of room for improvement. Over the past few decades, we’ve taken huge strides to improve quick detection capabilities. It took a mere 12 days to map the outer “spike” protein of the COVID-19 virus using new techniques. In the 1980s, a similar structural analysis for HIV took four years.

But developing a cure or vaccine still takes a long time and involves such high costs that big pharma doesn’t always have incentive to try.

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New recipe for single-atom transistors may enable quantum computers with unparalleled memory and processing power

 

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Single-Atom Transistor

 Linking multiple copies of these devices may lay the foundation for quantum computing.

Once unimaginable, transistors consisting only of several-atom clusters or even single atoms promise to become the building blocks of a new generation of computers with unparalleled memory and processing power. But to realize the full potential of these tiny transistors — miniature electrical on-off switches — researchers must find a way to make many copies of these notoriously difficult-to-fabricate components.

Now, researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and their colleagues at the University of Maryland have developed a step-by-step recipe to produce the atomic-scale devices. Using these instructions, the NIST-led team has become only the second in the world to construct a single-atom transistor and the first to fabricate a series of single electron transistors with atom-scale control over the devices’ geometry.

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