Documenting the Coming Singularity

Friday, May 04, 2007

Warning! Warning! Quantum Computers Approaching!

Science Daily reports today the successful demonstration of the "world's first quantum bit (qubit) circuit that can control the strength of coupling between qubits. Technology achieving control of the coupling strength between qubits is vital to the realization of a practical quantum computer, and has been long awaited in the scientific field."
The quantum computer, when it is finally brought to fruition, is expected to far surpass the capabilities of even the most modern of today's supercomputers. Actual computing in a quantum computer is carried out by manipulating the quantum state of qubits in time sequence by external controls. To achieve such manipulation, it is necessary to control the: 1. States of individual qubits, 2. States of two qubits (logic operation), and 3. Ability to turn on /off the coupling between qubits.

NEC, JST, and RIKEN have already announced successful development of key technologies for the world's first solid-state qubit and the world's first two-qubit logic gate, based on solid-state technology that excels in its ability to integrate qubits. Following these achievements, the research group addressed the controllable coupling of qubits as the next logical step in realization of a practical quantum computer. Their new research result represents the world's first successful demonstration of controllably coupled qubits.

To date, the coupling of qubits has been difficult to control. In order to realize this control, the research group devised an original mechanism that employs another qubit in between the two qubits for coupling. The coupling qubit functions as a non-linear transformer that is able to turn on and off the magnetic coupling between the two qubits, and on/off control is achieved simply by inputting a microwave. Moreover, coupling operation has been achieved without shortening the lifetime of each qubit. Scalability is also realized through the repetition of coupled two-qubit units - a feature necessary for future quantum computers.
Of course my title, with its reference to the robot's stentorian warning from Lost in Space, is facetious, in that I don't believe that quantum computing is a bad thing. I do want you, the interested reader, to be aware that it is approaching, and that it will bring with it one of the new paradigms for extending the viability of Moore's Law into the foreseeable future, or up until the Singularity. Stay tuned.

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