What Will Quantum Computers Be Able To Do

5 min read

What Will Quantum Computers Be Able To Do – At the heart of IBM’s quantum computer is a chip no bigger than a quarter. These unusual machines promise to solve difficult problems associated with today’s best classic computers. The chip itself is only one piece of the larger puzzle. Unlike the portable laptops that people use in their daily lives, a quantum chip powering the computing infrastructure is a Rube-Goldberg-like contraption layered like a Russian doll with complex interconnections.

However, despite its complex construction and amazing design, a quantum computer is still a machine that performs operations using hardware and software. Some of these actions are similar to those performed by conventional computers. Wondering how they work?

What Will Quantum Computers Be Able To Do

What Will Quantum Computers Be Able To Do

He visited IBM’s Yorktown Heights Quantum Center on the New York campus. Take a closer look at what’s going on inside – start with what’s called a qubit (more on that in a moment) and zoom in.

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For objects to exhibit quantum properties, they must be very small or very cold. For IBM, this layered, chandelier-like structure that looks like a golden steampunk wedding cake upside down is called a liquefaction refrigerator. It keeps their qubits cool and stable, and it’s the infrastructure the company has built for this 50-qubit chip. It consists of many plates, which gradually cool as they get closer to the Earth. Each plate is at a different temperature, with the top layer at room temperature.

The quantum processor is mounted on the lowest and coldest plate of the liquid freezer, which is 10-15 milli-kelvins, about -460 degrees F. In the first stage of cooling, large pieces of copper are removed. As part of a closed-loop helium cryocooler in the top layer connected to the cold heads. Several feeding tubes on the lower surface represent another closed loop of cryogenic material composed of mixtures of helium isotopes.

The supporting infrastructure for the chandelier is hidden behind the housing structure. This includes the gas handling system that supports the cryogenic infrastructure, as well as pumps and temperature monitors. And then there are the custom-made classic control electronics. When users run an application through IBM’s Quantum Cloud service, they effectively configure a series of gates and their circuits. These are converted into microwave pulses, which are precisely tuned, modulated and distributed to the qubit control system. And the read pulses get the state of the qubits, which are converted into binary values ​​and returned to the user.

Classical computers represent information using one or zero binary bits. In the quantum state, information is represented by qubits, which can come in any combination of zeros and ones. This is a phenomenon known as superposition. “In the real world, you always have a superposition. Music, for example, is a superposition of frequencies,” says Zaira Nazario, technical lead for theory, algorithms and applications at IBM Quantum. Since it’s a waveform, it gives amplitudes of zero and one. This means that it is in phase and like all waves can interfere with each other.

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The moving qubits sit on a chip and are packaged on something that looks like a printed circuit board. Wires and coaxial cables for input and output signals exit the printed circuit board. For new, high-qubit chip models, IBM is working on more compact solutions that include cabling and embedded components to save space. Less clutter means it’s easier to cool ingredients. Currently, it takes about 48 hours for a quantum computer to fully cool down to the required temperature.

For a quantum computer to function properly, each board must be thermally protected and insulated so that it is not affected by blackbody radiation. Engineer vacuum-seal the entire device to block unwanted photons and other electromagnetic radiation and magnetic fields.

The qubits are controlled by microwave signals between 4 and 7 GHz. Conventional electronics generate microwave pulses that travel along cables to carry input signals to the chip and return signals back. As the signal passes through the transducer, it passes through components such as filters, attenuators and amplifiers.

What Will Quantum Computers Be Able To Do

IBM works exclusively with superconducting qubits. These are small pieces of metal that sit on the wafer used to make the chip. Metals consist of superconducting materials such as niobium, aluminum, and tantalum. A Josephson junction, made by sandwiching a very thin insulator between two superconducting materials, provides the fundamental nonlinearity needed to convert a superconducting circuit into a qubit.

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“What we’re building are quantum prototypes of oscillators,” says Jerry Chu, IBM’s director of quantum infrastructure. Oscillators convert direct current from an energy source (in this case, microwave photons) into alternating current or waves.

Chu says that unlike conventional harmonic oscillators, a nonlinear oscillator provides an uneven distribution of energy levels. “Once you get that, you can separate the two minimums to act as your quantum zero and quantum.

Imagine a hydrogen atom. In physical terms, it has a set of energy levels. The right wavelength of light hitting this atom can cause it to go into different states. When a microwave hits a qubit, it does something like this. “You actually have this synthetic atom,” Chu explains. “We have energy quanta, we put the right amount of microwave photons in a certain pulse for a certain amount of time, and we excite that amount of energy in this nonlinear microwave oscillator, or try to.”

A classic computer has an on (one) and an off (zero) state. For a quantum computer, the off-state is the ground state of an artificial atom. Adding a pulse of specific microwave photon energy excites it and amplifies it in one direction. If the qubit is hit again by this pulse, it will return to its ground state. Say 5 gigahertz takes 20 nanoseconds to drive a qubit fully into an excited state—if you halve the energy or halve the time, you can actually drive a superposition state. Cho says. This means that if you measure the state of the qubit with a resonator, there is a 50% chance that it will be zero and a 50% chance that it will be one.

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Users can connect, switch, or perform conditional operations on electrical elements, pulse frequency, duration, and energy between different qubits, such as combining individual qubit operations to create entangled conditions and universal across the device. Perform calculations. When the waves collide with each other, it can amplify or distort the message.

The practical use of quantum computers has advanced over the past few years. “If I look at what people have done with the system between 2016, 2017, 2018, it’s using quantum to study quantum … condensed matter physics, particle physics and things like that,” Cathy Pizzolatto, Director of Strategy and Applications says. Research on IBM Quantum. “A key part of that will be the use of classical sources and their quantum awareness. We need to bring in experts in their field to understand where quantum applies, but not quantum experts.”

IBM’s interest in quantitative problems for its machines can be divided into three groups: chemistry and materials, machine learning, and optimization (finding the best solution to a problem from a set of possible options). The key is not to use a quantum computer on every part of the problem, but on the most difficult parts.

What Will Quantum Computers Be Able To Do

The IBM team was constantly looking for real-world problems that were difficult to solve with classical computers because of their structure or mathematics. And there are many interesting places to find them.

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Classical computers solve basic mathematical problems using circuit components such as binary logic and addition. However, quantum computers are very good at linear algebra – multiplying matrices and representing vectors in space. This is due to the unique features of their design. This allows them to perform tasks such as factoring relatively easily – a problem that is very difficult for a classical computer because of the large number of variables and parameters and the interactions between them. “Within this factoring problem, there are structures that allow you to take advantage of all the things that you get with these devices, confusion. So it’s different,” says Pizzolato.

With problems involving chemistry and materials, qubits are better at simulating properties such as bonds and bound electrons.

“We’re thinking about what kinds of things you can show in quantum circuits that can’t be replicated classically, and then what to do with them,” says Pizzolato. “There’s a lot of discussion about the algorithm, how I use the basic mechanics of this device. How do you map high-dimensional spaces and how do you use the correlation and multiplication of these variables to get the answer?

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