In a world where we are relying increasingly on computing, to share our information and store our most precious data, the idea of living without computers might baffle most people.
But if we continue to follow the trend that has been in place since computers were introduced, by 2040 we will not have the capability to power all of the machines around the globe, according to a recent report by the Semiconductor Industry Association.
To prevent this, the industry is focused on finding ways to make computing more energy efficient, but classical computers are limited by the minimum amount of energy it takes them to perform one operation.
This energy limit is named after IBM Research Lab’s Rolf Landauer, who in 1961 found that in any computer, each single bit operation must use an absolute minimum amount of energy. Landauer’s formula calculated the lowest limit of energy required for a computer operation, and in March this year researchers demonstrated it could be possible to make a chip that operates with this lowest energy.
It was called a “breakthrough for energy-efficient computing” and could cut the amount of energy used in computers by a factor of one million. However, it will take a long time before we see the technology used in our laptops; and even when it is, the energy will still be above the Landauer limit.
This is why, in the long term, people are turning to radically different ways of computing, such as quantum computing, to find ways to cut energy use.
Quantum computing takes advantage of the strange ability of subatomic particles to exist in more than one state at any time. Due to the way the tiniest of particles behave, operations can be done much more quickly and use less energy than classical computers.
In classical computing, a bit is a single piece of information that can exist in two states 1 or 0. Quantum computing uses quantum bits, or ‘qubits’ instead. These are quantum systems with two states. However, unlike a usual bit, they can store much more information than just 1 or 0, because they can exist in any superposition of these values.
“Traditionally qubits are treated as separated physical objects with two possible distinguishable states, 0 and 1,” Alexey Fedorov, physicist at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology told WIRED.
“The difference between classical bits and qubits is that we can also prepare qubits in a quantum superposition of 0 and 1 and create nontrivial correlated states of a number of qubits, so-called ‘entangled states’.”
A qubit can be thought of like an imaginary sphere. Whereas a classical bit can be in two states – at either of the two poles of the sphere – a qubit can be any point on the sphere. This means a computer using these bits can store a huge amount more information using less energy than a classical computer.
Last year, a team of Google and Nasa scientists found a D-wave quantum computer was 100 million times faster than a conventional computer. But moving quantum computing to an industrial scale is difficult.
IBM recently announced its Q division is developing quantum computers that can be sold commercially within the coming years. Commercial quantum computer systems “with ~50 qubits” will be created “in the next few years,” IBM claims. While researchers at Google, in Nature comment piece, say companies could start to make returns on elements of quantum computer technology within the next five years.
Computations occur when qubits interact with each other, therefore for a computer to function it needs to have many qubits. The main reason why quantum computers are so hard to manufacture is that scientists still have not found a simple way to control complex systems of qubits.
Now, scientists from Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology and Russian Quantum Centre are looking into an alternative way of quantum computing. Not content with single qubits, the researchers decided to tackle the problem of quantum computing another way.
“In our approach, we observed that physical nature allows us to employ quantum objects with several distinguishable states for quantum computation,” Fedorov, one of the authors of the study, told WIRED.
The team created qubits with various different energy “levels”, that they have named qudits. The “d” stands for the number of different energy levels the qudit can take. The term “level” comes from the fact that typically each logic state of a qubit corresponds to the state with a certain value of energy – and these values of possible energies are called levels.
“In some sense, we can say that one qudit, quantum object with d possible states, may consist of several ‘virtual’ qubits, and operating qudit corresponds to manipulation with the ‘virtual’ qubits including their interaction,” continued Federov.
“From the viewpoint of abstract quantum information theory everything remains the same but in concrete physical implementation many-level system represent potentially useful resource.”
Quantum computers are already in use, in the sense that logic gates have been made using two qubits, but getting quantum computers to work on an industrial scale is the problem.
“The progress in that field is rather rapid but no one can promise when we come to wide use of quantum computation,” Fedorov told WIRED.
Elsewhere, in a step towards quantum computing, researchers have guided electrons through semiconductors using incredibly short pulses of light. Inside the weird world of quantum computers
These extremely short, configurable pulses of light could lead to computers that operate 100,000 times faster than they do today. Researchers, including engineers at the University of Michigan, can now control peaks within laser pulses of just a few femtoseconds (one quadrillionth of a second) long. The result is a step towards “lightwave electronics” which could eventually lead to a breakthrough in quantum computing.
A bizarre discovery recently revealed that cold helium atoms in lab conditions on Earth abide by the same law of entropy that governs the behaviour of black holes. What are black holes? WIRED explains
The law, first developed by Professor Stephen Hawking and Jacob Bekenstein in the 1970s, describes how the entropy, or the amount of disorder, increases in a black hole when matter falls into it. It now seems this behaviour appears at both the huge scales of outer space and at the tiny scale of atoms, specifically those that make up superfluid helium.
“It’s called an entanglement area law, explained Adrian Del Maestro, physicist at the University of Vermont. “It points to a deeper understanding of reality and could be a significant step toward a long-sought quantum theory of gravity and new advances in quantum computing.
See the rest here:
quantum computing – WIRED UK
- This Startup Just Raised $21 Million To Bring Quantum ... - April 18th, 2019
- What is Quantum Computing ? Top 18 Quantum Computing ... - April 6th, 2019
- The promise of quantum computing - businessinsider.com - March 27th, 2019
- Quantum computing is coming: Heres why we need to get our ... - March 23rd, 2019
- Quantum computing will break your encryption in a few ... - March 21st, 2019
- Microsoft has formed a coalition to promote quantum computing ... - March 19th, 2019
- Quantum computing for everyone | Michael Nielsen - March 12th, 2019
- Ask a Techspert: What is quantum computing? - blog.google - March 6th, 2019
- IBM hits quantum computing milestone, may see 'Quantum ... - March 6th, 2019
- Its Time You Learned About Quantum Computing | WIRED - March 6th, 2019
- Microsofts quantum computing network takes a giant leap ... - March 2nd, 2019
- When Will Quantum Computing Have Real Commercial Value ... - February 25th, 2019
- The Case Against Quantum Computing - IEEE Spectrum - February 22nd, 2019
- How Does Quantum Computing Work? - ExtremeTech - January 31st, 2019
- Quantum technology - Wikipedia - January 23rd, 2019
- CES 2019: IBM's Q System One Is the Rock Star Quantum ... - January 13th, 2019
- Quantum Computing | The MIT Press - January 11th, 2019
- IBM thinks outside of the lab, puts quantum computer in a box - January 11th, 2019
- IBM unveils its first commercial quantum computer - January 9th, 2019
- A new type of quantum computer has smashed every record ... - December 21st, 2018
- China bet big on quantum computing. Now the US races to ... - October 26th, 2018
- US takes first step toward a quantum computing workforce ... - September 17th, 2018
- China bet big on quantum computing. Now the ... - money.cnn.com - September 17th, 2018
- The reality of quantum computing could be just three years ... - September 12th, 2018
- The quantum computing race the US cant afford to lose - September 3rd, 2018
- Quantum Computing | USRA - August 30th, 2018
- What Is Quantum Computing? The Complete WIRED Guide | WIRED - August 22nd, 2018
- Quantum Computing Market Research Report- Forecast 2022 | MRFR - August 1st, 2018
- Two Quantum Computing Bills Are Coming To Congress - July 5th, 2018
- Senate bills would make quantum computing a priority - June 10th, 2018
- What is quantum computing? - Definition from WhatIs.com - February 5th, 2018
- The Era of Quantum Computing Is Here. Outlook: Cloudy ... - January 26th, 2018
- IBM puts its quantum computer to work in relaxing, nerdy ASMR ... - January 8th, 2018
- Quantum computing is going to change the world. Here's what ... - January 8th, 2018
- Is Quantum Computing an Existential Threat to Blockchain ... - December 25th, 2017
- What is Quantum Computing? | SAP News Center - December 23rd, 2017
- Quantum Computing Explained | What is Quantum Computing? - December 21st, 2017
- New silicon structure opens the gate to quantum computers - December 14th, 2017
- Microsoft offers developers a preview of its quantum ... - December 12th, 2017
- Quantum Computing Is the Next Big Security Risk | WIRED - December 8th, 2017
- Yale Professors Race Google and IBM to the First Quantum ... - November 16th, 2017
- IBM's processor pushes quantum computing ... - engadget.com - November 16th, 2017
- Quantum computing - news.microsoft.com - November 1st, 2017
- Intel Takes First Steps To Universal Quantum Computing - October 13th, 2017
- Qudits: The Real Future of Quantum Computing? - IEEE Spectrum - October 13th, 2017
- quantum computing - engadget.com - October 13th, 2017
- Quantum Computing | Intel Newsroom - October 13th, 2017
- What will you actually use quantum computing for? | ZDNet - October 11th, 2017
- Here's what quantum computing is and why it matters - October 6th, 2017
- Microsoft just upped its multi-million bet on quantum computing - ZDNet - September 7th, 2017
- Microsoft's Aussie quantum computing lab set to scale up next-gen ... - ARNnet - September 7th, 2017
- An Entirely New Type of Quantum Computing Has Just Been Invented - Futurism - September 7th, 2017
- Quantum computing event explores the implications for business - Cambridge Network - August 30th, 2017
- Quantum Computing Is Coming at Us Fast, So Here's Everything You Need to Know - ScienceAlert - August 27th, 2017
- How quantum mechanics can change computing - San Francisco ... - San Francisco Chronicle - August 25th, 2017
- Commonwealth Bank investing in Australia's first quantum computer company - Which-50 (blog) - August 25th, 2017
- How quantum mechanics can change computing - The Conversation US - August 23rd, 2017
- Introducing Australia's first quantum computing hardware company - Computerworld Australia - August 23rd, 2017
- IEEE Approves Standards Project for Quantum Computing ... - insideHPC - August 23rd, 2017
- $495.3 Million Quantum Computing Market 2017 by Revenue Source, Application, Industry, and Geography - Global ... - PR Newswire (press release) - August 18th, 2017
- Physicists Have Made Exotic Quantum States From Light - Futurism - August 16th, 2017
- Machine learning tackles quantum error correction - Phys.Org - August 15th, 2017
- Quantum Internet Is 13 Years Away. Wait, What's Quantum Internet? - WIRED - August 15th, 2017
- Blind quantum computing for everyone - Phys.org - Phys.Org - August 12th, 2017
- Quantum Computing Is Real, and D-Wave Just Open ... - WIRED - August 12th, 2017
- Quantum Computing Market Worth 495.3 Million USD by 2023 | 08 ... - Markets Insider - August 10th, 2017
- China uses a quantum satellite to transmit potentially unhackable data - CNBC - August 10th, 2017
- Physicists Take Big Step Towards Quantum Computing and ... - Universe Today - August 1st, 2017
- Why you might trust a quantum computer with secretseven over ... - Phys.Org - July 12th, 2017
- Quantum-computer node uses two different ion species - physicsworld.com - July 10th, 2017
- Quantum Computers vs Bitcoin How Worried Should We Be? - The Merkle - July 10th, 2017
- Quantum cheques could be a forgery-free way to move money - New Scientist - July 10th, 2017
- Technique for measuring and controlling electron state is a ... - UCLA Newsroom - July 9th, 2017
- Quantum Computers Made Even More Powerful with New microchip generating 'Qudits' - TrendinTech - July 8th, 2017
- Quantum Computing Record Broken - Wall Street Pit - July 8th, 2017
- Alkermes and IBM's quantum computing. Who'll be the big winner? Malcolm Berko - Durham Herald Sun - July 6th, 2017
- Qudits: The Real Future of Quantum Computing? - IEEE Spectrum - IEEE Spectrum - July 1st, 2017
- Google to Achieve "Supremacy" in Quantum Computing by the End of 2017 - Big Think - July 1st, 2017
- Quantum Computing Becomes More Accessible - Scientific American - July 1st, 2017
- Tektronix AWG Pulls Test into Era of Quantum Computing - Electronic Design - June 2nd, 2017