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Hardware

Researchers Find New Way To Build Quantum Computers (reuters.com) 53

An anonymous reader shares a report: Researchers in Australia have found a new way to build quantum computers which they say would make them dramatically easier and cheaper to produce at scale. Quantum computers promise to harness the strange ability of subatomic particles to exist in more than one state at a time to solve problems that are too complex or time-consuming for existing computers. The team from the University of New South Wales say they have invented a new chip design based on a new type of quantum bit, the basic unit of information in a quantum computer, known as a qubit. The new design would allow for a silicon quantum processor to overcome two limitations of existing designs: the need for atoms to be placed precisely, and allowing them to be placed further apart and still be coupled. Crucially, says project leader Andrea Mello, this so-called "flip-flop qubit" means the chips can be produced using the same device technology as existing computer chips.
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Researchers Find New Way To Build Quantum Computers

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  • by DontBeAMoran ( 4843879 ) on Wednesday September 06, 2017 @11:25AM (#55147855)

    Turns out, you can do that with LEGO bricks!

    • by wonkey_monkey ( 2592601 ) on Wednesday September 06, 2017 @11:49AM (#55147995) Homepage

      There's no way of knowing if one's been left on the floor until you stand on it.

      • From what I've read, they have an idea, but they haven't actually built one of these yet.

        So this is - at present anyway - just handwaving.

        • by Megol ( 3135005 )

          Hate to break this to you but that's how things work. Do you think your modern computer just jumped out perfected from the sweat of the giant Ymir?

          Theory first - practice later. Just doing things without theoretical background is generally a waste of time and money (with a few exceptions).

          • by sheph ( 955019 )
            That's true. But it's hard to get excited just yet. Until the theory is proven it's just another theory. Not insignificant. But not proven success either.
          • Do you think your modern computer just jumped out perfected from the sweat of the giant Ymir?

            Sure, but how many discarded theories went by the wayside on the way to the modern computer? Odds are long for any new theory to pan out in the end. I agree that it will be far more interesting when they demonstrate something. IBM and Microsoft have real, honest to goodness quantum computers working right now - and are apparently on track to get the qubit count up to useful levels.

            • Sure, but how many discarded theories went by the wayside on the way to the modern computer?

              Dunno, I'm still waiting for 640k to be enough for anybody.

            • by Megol ( 3135005 )

              Yes but do you think they (or others) would get funding and/or sponsoring to try out a new idea (which it AFAIK genuinely is) without doing the basic research first?

              Manufacturing chips is expensive especially if one can't use a normal shuttle run, one have to have sponsors to pay for it.

              • Agreed, and it's notable that this group hasn't gotten any funding to make hardware - if that's even a goal for them. I don't think anyone is saying this work isn't a good thing - it's just a little premature to call it "news" when it is much more likely to be a dead-end.

          • Hate to break this to you but that's how things work. Do you think your modern computer just jumped out perfected from the sweat of the giant Ymir?

            Theory first - practice later. Just doing things without theoretical background is generally a waste of time and money (with a few exceptions).

            I hate to break it to you, but I first read about IBM reaching this stage of qubits in a magazine in the mid-nineties. I've been waiting ever since.

            • by Megol ( 3135005 )

              Yes? Don't see how that's relevant? The thing I protested against was the implication that this was just handwaving because they hadn't done physical circuits. This is much more than basic theory as they have simulated systems and tried to make it something that _can_ be manufactured and tested.

              One shouldn't get excited yet but that doesn't imply the research is just hand waving.

      • by tomhath ( 637240 )

        There's no way of knowing if one's been left on the floor until you stand on it.

        Kind of like having a dog...

      • Pain is the Lego Computer's I/O channel.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    VC funding money, news at 11. We now return you to creimer with his next affiliate spam shitposting.

  • >> (Delivers heavy box with "Quantum Computer" printed on the outside.) Here's your new quantum computer!

    How can I be sure it works?

    >> That's what our Global Services are for. Gotta go!
    • You need to let go of this classical thinking as you move into the quantum world. You want to think this either works or it doesn't work but currently this quantum bit flip flop is in an excited quantum state where it both works and doesn't work at the same time. If they were to build it and then observe the result only then would the entangled devices produced all fix into a single state of either working or not working.
    • Well it might work best [newscientist.com] if they don't try to turn it on.

  • Building a quantum computer is easy, you just need to find a reliable source of quantums from which to build.
    • FYI paper already published. Here's the final paper link [nature.com], and the pre-print [arxiv.org]...

      Abstract

      Practical quantum computers require a large network of highly coherent qubits, interconnected in a design robust against errors. Donor spins in silicon provide state-of-the-art coherence and quantum gate fidelities, in a platform adapted from industrial semiconductor processing. Here we present a scalable design for a silicon quantum processor that does not require precise donor placement and leaves ample space for the routing of interconnects and readout devices. We introduce the flip-flop qubit, a combination of the electron-nuclear spin states of a phosphorus donor that can be controlled by microwave electric fields. Two-qubit gates exploit a second-order electric dipole-dipole interaction, allowing selective coupling beyond the nearest-neighbor, at separations of hundreds of nanometers, while microwave resonators can extend the entanglement to macroscopic distances. We predict gate fidelities within fault-tolerance thresholds using realistic noise models. This design provides a realizable blueprint for scalable spin-based quantum computers in silicon.

      Of course they haven't built it yet, so you never know...

      • by mikael ( 484 )

        Then some smartass post grad will discover you can do all of that with the thermal noise of the electrons going through the silicon and than all you then needed was a pure source of randomness and that could be achieved by placing a USB cable into a hot cup of coffee. Confounding the senior big-science researchers who had been trying to solve that problem for decades.

  • Boxes (Score:4, Funny)

    by Dan East ( 318230 ) on Wednesday September 06, 2017 @12:25PM (#55148161) Homepage Journal

    I thought this was going to involve cats in boxes.

  • More info (Score:5, Informative)

    by hord ( 5016115 ) <jhord@carbon.cc> on Wednesday September 06, 2017 @12:51PM (#55148261)

    https://www.eurekalert.org/pub... [eurekalert.org]

    It sounds like what they did is change from magnetic controls to electric controls for manipulating and reading the quantum state of a phosphorous atom. Apparently they can use an electron to actuate spin changes which ripple to the P atom and allow for larger coupling distances. I'm guessing this is what allows them to more easily embed the qubit in silicon. Interesting but I'd still like to see a prototype.

    • Movie [youtu.be] P.S. Anyone able to recommend a bank that offers an app with Post quantum cryptography [wikipedia.org]?
      • Unfortunately lattice-based cryptography [wikipedia.org] is hard to do right and if you screw it up it becomes really easy to break. I don't know much beyond the hand waving level about it but it wouldn't surprise me if we see it start to be incorporated into things in the next few years now that the patent on NTRUEncrypt [wikipedia.org] has expired. The problem is that more effort needs to be spent on attacking and proving its security it as the world of cryptography is very conservative.
      • by Megol ( 3135005 )

        Maybe you should wait until there is at least a theoretical possibility to build a quantum computer capable of breaking standard encryption? We are _far_ away from that point.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    A quantum mechanics superposition joke has already been made in the thread. Please refrain from telling this joke for the billionth time.

All laws are simulations of reality. -- John C. Lilly

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