## First Electronic Quantum Processor Created 205

Posted
by
ScuttleMonkey

from the baby-steps dept.

from the baby-steps dept.

ScienceDaily is reporting that the first rudimentary solid-state quantum processor has been created by a team led by Yale University researchers.

*"Working with a group of theoretical physicists led by Steven Girvin, the Eugene Higgins Professor of Physics & Applied Physics, the team manufactured two artificial atoms, or qubits ('quantum bits'). While each qubit is actually made up of a billion aluminum atoms, it acts like a single atom that can occupy two different energy states. These states are akin to the '1' and '0' or 'on' and 'off' states of regular bits employed by conventional computers. Because of the counterintuitive laws of quantum mechanics, however, scientists can effectively place qubits in a 'superposition' of multiple states at the same time, allowing for greater information storage and processing power."*
## Most Excellent (Score:3, Funny)

## Re: (Score:2)

It's "time travelling police booths"

## Re: (Score:2)

He's talking about this [wikipedia.org], not that. [wikipedia.org]

## Re: (Score:2)

But thats just me...

## Re: (Score:3, Funny)

The "Most Excellent" post title kind of gives it away. But I'll take the bet if you're still offering.

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## I want.. (Score:2)

Google Maps - Traveling Salesmen.

Imagine how much fuel could be saved by UPS or FedEx in a given year.

## Re: (Score:2)

time travelling phone booths

That would be awesome! We could call them Telephone And Restrooms Designed for Intelligent Species!

## Re: (Score:2)

I'm a layperson on the subject but have read extensively, and my understanding is yes, there is a "quantum superposition" and you can prove it by running exactly the same experiment over and over again, and getting different results each time. You take the average of the results and that's the answer to your problem.

Hence, a quantum algorithm only has a probability of arriving at the correct answer. Executing a quantum algorithm several times gives you increasingly better odds in polynomial time, and becaus

## Re: (Score:2)

So the question becomes "does it work?" and the answer is 'yes'. It's a very small pudding but it still tastes like pudding, if you catch my meaning.

## Lab Site & Papers (Score:5, Informative)

## Re:Lab Site & Papers (Score:5, Interesting)

There's a bunch. Shor's is not the only quantum algorithm. For the search the article mentions, maybe they mean this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grover%27s_algorithm [wikipedia.org]

## Re: (Score:2)

According to the first paragraph of the paper (http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/vaop/ncurrent/abs/nature08121.html), the algorithms tested are Grover's search and the Deutsch-Jozsa algorithm.

## Re: (Score:3, Funny)

Grover's algorithm

on a quantum computer, Grover can go over, under, around, and through all at the same time?

## Simulating? (Score:3, Informative)

While each qubit is actually made up of a billion aluminum atoms, it acts like a single atom that can occupy two different energy states.

Does this sound like they're using real atoms to simulate qubits? Perhaps I'm misinterpretting, but it looks like it's still going to take an exponential amount of resources to "make" each additional qubit.

## Re: (Score:2)

Why would it take an exponential amount of resources? One of these qubits only amounts to around 1.66 Ã-- 10e-14 percent of a mole of aluminum. For every mole of aluminum they can create 6 quadrillion qubits. I'm not sure how many qubits would be needed for a quantum computer but I'm doubting it's much more than that.

## Re: (Score:2)

That should be "1.66x10e-14 percent".

## Re: (Score:2)

Well that's my question. Does it scale linearly with the number of qubits? The article is not very clear about that.

## Re: (Score:2)

Well that's my question. Does it scale linearly with the number of qubits? The article is not very clear about that.

I see no indication that the number of atoms per qubit will scale at all in relation to anything but time spent in a quantum state. It's purely speculation (given a single data point) to assume that this number will scale at all just because qubits are added. It's also speculation to assume they won't, but it seems the more logical guess. The obvious correlation would be between number of atoms and ease of reading them.

As for being only 2 qubits, that's just to make the prototype simpler to create.

## Re:Simulating? (Score:5, Funny)

640K qubits ought to be enough for anybody

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## Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

Yea... as I understand it, since a qubit can represent 0 and 1 simultaneously. In a sense a single qubit represents 2 bits, one bit in a 0 state and one bit in a 1 state. Ten qubits, can represent all 2^10 states simultaneously, so in that same sense 10 qubits can represent 1024 normal bits. 640K qubits can represent a HUGE number of classical orientation of bits. (This is about 10^800 times the larger than the number of atoms in the universe [wikipedia.org])

That said... I'd be curious to get some more expert feedback on t

## Re: (Score:2)

It's more complicated than you understand. A qubit can be |0> or |1>, or a superposition over |0> or |1>, OR a probability distribution over |0> or |1> (called mixture). Mixture is directly akin to the probability of a bit being in 0 or 1 state, whereas superposition (which is independent of mixture) can appear similar in certain conditions, but in general is a very different thing.

## Re: (Score:2)

What if they try to crack my 1 Mb encryption key?

## Re:Simulating? (Score:4, Informative)

## Article is incorrect. (Score:3, Insightful)

notmanufacture "two artificial atoms, or qubits". They manufactured two clusters of atoms thatactedas qubits.## Re:Article is incorrect. (Score:5, Informative)

they did not manufacture "two artificial atoms, or qubits". They manufactured two clusters of atoms that acted as qubits.

A qubit [wikipedia.org] is not actually a quantum particle. It is a unit of quantum information. Now, do you consider the qubit to be the system or the state?

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A qubit is not a physical construct, it is a representation of data, just as a "bit" is not a physical construct, but a representation of data.

## Re:Article is incorrect. (Score:5, Funny)

Riiiiight. What's a qubit?

## It's like cutting off Sampson's hair... (Score:3, Funny)

Riiiiight. What's a qubit?

If I tell you, I'll lose my superposition high and collapse.

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## Re: (Score:2, Offtopic)

I am not trying to split hairs. This is actually a rather important point: they did

notmanufacture "two artificial atoms, or qubits". They manufactured two clusters of atoms thatactedas qubits.If the quality of journalism we see for politics or for useless celebrity trivia became just like the quality of journalism we see for technical matters, there would be significant backlashes against it. Joe Sixpack might not care about the distinction between abstract qubits and their physical implementation, but by God they better not misreport how many times $POP_SINGER has been divorced!

Though I'm not so sure that blatantly inaccurate (or misleading) statements are worse than the way more mainstream

## Re: (Score:2)

artificalatoms" (emphasis added). I think that it is a sufficiently accurate description for an article targeted at non-professional audience.## Re: (Score:2)

## Re: (Score:2)

weretwo qubits. And that is simply incorrect. They held two qubits of data... which is a different matter entirely.## Re: (Score:2)

## Direct PDF Link to Original Paper (Score:5, Informative)

(For those with access to Nature through school or work...)

## Re:Direct PDF Link to Original Paper (Score:4, Funny)

(For those with access to Nature through school or work...)The shame of the big city, everyday people losing access to nature unless they happen to be in school or have a job where they can afford to drive to Atlantic City and see it first-hand.

## Re: (Score:2)

Link to PDF version for those without access to Nature. http://arxiv.org/pdf/0903.2030 [arxiv.org]

## Does it run Linux? (Score:3, Funny)

Seriously, I wonder if this comes to pass and we continue on the binary process forever. (IIRC, some mainframes back in the '40s and '50s used decimal processing, which was too slow then, so all switched eventually to binary.)

## Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

Given that there is no real advantage to switching away from binary, why not? Decimal is far slower and less information packed, from the computer's perspective. And since it only takes a cycle or so for the computer to translate for the humans, just let it.

The only really viable alternative is trinary computing, which is slightly less optimal generally. (The actual ideal would be base e, but it's really hard to build a system around irrational numbers.)

## Re: (Score:2)

The actual ideal would be base e, but it's really hard to build a system around irrational numbers.

The mind boggles

## Re:Does it run Linux? (Score:4, Funny)

It was too complex.

..baddum tish!

## Re: (Score:2)

"The actual ideal would be base e"

Interesting. Got a reference for that? This isn't meant to be a snarky "[Citation needed]", I actually want to know. :-)

## Re: (Score:2)

Of course. Windows hasn't been ported yet.

## Re:Does it run Linux? (Score:4, Informative)

## But remember... (Score:5, Funny)

This idea was invented by Shampoo.

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## Quick! (Score:2, Funny)

Feed 42 to it and let us know how it goes!

## Bose-einstein condensate? (Score:4, Insightful)

While each qubit is actually made up of a billion aluminum atoms, it acts like a single atom that can occupy two different energy states.

This sounds a like a bose-einstein condensate, where many atoms will act is if though they are all part of a larger, single atom. Also, it gains some pretty interesting properties, neither of which can be described exactly as solid, liquid or gas.

The article didn't mention anything about near absolute zero temps, though.

## Re:Bose-einstein condensate? (Score:5, Informative)

They go on to mention that the apparatus was cooled to 13 millikelvin using a helium dilution refrigerator. Now, niobium is superconductive to about 9 kelvin in the pure state (and about 23 kelvin in some alloys), so I would assume the extra effort to make it that cold has more to do with preserving the delicate electronic state of the qubits than with merely chilling the superconductors.

## The first, really? (Score:2)

## Re:The first, really? (Score:5, Informative)

Yes the first. The Dwave guys aren't building quantum computers. Their system lacks entanglement between the qubits, which is essential to running quantum algorithms. They have also been less than forthcoming about the coherence in their system.

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## I Will Be Impressed/Unimpressed (Score:2)

## Most Condensed Slashdotism possible (Score:2)

I for one welcome our Linux running Qubit overlords and in full disclousure IANAL but ITFA they had me ROTFL'ing when I pondered Linxu being greated then Micro$oft running in an N-Dimensional space until NYCL told me that my ImaginaryProperty was sold by kdawson to CmdTaco because Truth != Facts != Love != Reality after SCO and the RIAA\MPAA sued Open Source and WON!

Therefore your post sucks and should be deleted.

## This is a breakthrough (Score:2)

## If they did this and we know the NSA did ..? (Score:2)

If they got this far and we know about it then how far has the NSA gotten?

this has serious implications for RSA.

## I know something about QC (Score:5, Interesting)

Quantum Computers

are notsuper-computers. On a bit-for-bit (or qubit-for-qubit) scale, they're not necessarily faster than regular computers, they just process info differently. Since information is stored in a quantum "superposition" of states, as opposed to a deterministic state like regular computers, the qubits exhibit quantum interference around other qubits. Typically, your bit starts in 50% '0' and 50% '1', and thus when you measure it, you get a 50% chance of it being one or the other (and then it assumes that state). But if you don't measure, and push it through quantum circuits allowing them to interact with other qubits, you get the quantum phases to interfere and cancel out. If you are damned smart (as I realized you have to be, to design QC algorithms), you can figure out creative ways to encode your problem into qubits, and use the interference to cancel out the information you don't want, and leave the information you do want.For instance, some calculations will start with the 50/50 qubit above, and end with 99% '0' and 1% '1' at the end of the calculation, or vice versa, depending on the answer. Then you've got a 99% chance of getting the right answer. If you run the calculation twice, you have a 99.99% chance of measuring the correct answer.

However, the details of these circuits which perform quantum algorithms are extremely non-intuitive to most people, even those who study it. I found it to require an amazing degree of creativity, to figure out how to combine qubits to take advantage of quantum interference constructively. But what does this get us?

Well it turns out that quantum computers can run anything a classical computer can do, and such algorithms can be written identically if you really wanted to, but doing so gets the same results as the classical computer (i.e. same order of growth). But, the smart people who have been publishing papers about this for the past 20 years have been finding new ways to combine qubits, to take advantage of nature of certain problems (usually deep, pure-math concepts), to achieve better orders of growth than possible on a classical computer. For instance, factoring large numbers is difficult on classical computers, which is why RSA/PGP/GPG/PKI/SSL is secure. It's order of growth is e^( n^(1/3) ). It's not quite exponential, but it's still prohibitive. It turns out that Shor figured out how to get it to n^2 on a quantum computer (which is the same order of growth as decrypting

withthe private key on a classical computer!). Strangely, trying to guess someone's encryption key, normally O(n) on classical computers (where n is the number of possible keys encryption keys) it's only O(sqrt(n)) on QCs. Weird (but sqrt(n) is still usually too big).There's a vast number of other problems for which efficient quantum algorithms have been found. Unfortunately, a lot of these problems aren't particularly useful in real life (besides to the curious pure-mathematician). A lot of them are better, but not phenomenal. Like verifying that two sparse matrices were mulitplied correctly has order of growth n^(7/3) on a classical computer, n^(5/3) on a quantum computer. You can find a pretty extensive list by googling "quantum algorithm zoo."

Unfortunately [for humanity], there is no evidence yet that quantum computers will solve NP-complete problems efficiently. Most likely, they won't. So don't get your hopes up about solving the traveling salesmen problem any time soon. But there is still a lot of cool stuff we can do with them. In fact, the theory is so far ahead of the technology, that we're anxiously waiting for breakthroughs like this, so we can start plugging problems through known algorithms.

## Re:Love (Score:4, Funny)

Honey, I got you these two solid-state qubits that hold their quantum states for a microsecond and can be used to perform rudimentary algorithms.

## Re:What's up with pseudonyms? (Score:4, Funny)

Why can't people use a real name in Slashdot or Reddit?

I'm sorry you feel that way, Mr. Sybert42.

## Re: (Score:2)

Why can't people use a real name in Slashdot or Reddit?

I don't know Sybert42, why can't they?

## Re:Problem Solved (Score:4, Funny)

So in theory, one of the greatest scientific inquiries can now be solved by a quantum computer.

Which came first? The chicken or the egg.

The answer, of course, is 'Yes'.

## Re: (Score:3, Funny)

## Re: (Score:2, Funny)

The answer, of course, is 'Yes'.

And "No".

The first chicken was named Schrodinger.

## Re: (Score:2)

Nah, the correct answer is: 42

## Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

The question should be: which came first, the chicken or the chicken egg?

## Re: (Score:2)

Which is really just an ambiguous question that becomes easy to answer as soon as you define what you mean by "chicken egg":

If you mean "an egg which, when fertilized appropriately, will produce a chicken" then clearly the chicken egg must have come first.

If you mean "an egg laid by a chicken" then clearly the ch

## Re: (Score:2)

## Re:Problem Solved (Score:4, Informative)

That has been long since solved with evolutionary genetics.

The egg.

What produced it just happened not to be a chicken. Something close, but not quite.

## Re:Problem Solved (Score:5, Funny)

chickenegg? ie Chicken came first (from non-chicken egg), then laid chicken egg.## Re:Problem Solved (Score:4, Informative)

No, no, you've got it backwards.

A non-chicken laid a chicken egg (i.e. the egg's genes were those of a chicken), from which hatched a chicken.

## Re: (Score:2)

## Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

That depends on what makes it a

chickenegg, what's inside it, or what produced it.## Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

What produced it just happened not to be a chicken. Something close, but not quite.Except when posed in evolutionary terms, the whole question comes down to a problem of the human desire for classification versus nature's complete lack of giving a shit about that desire.

What precisely makes a chicken a chicken versus a chicken-minus-one-generation proto-chicken? Given that any population naturally has a degree of genetic variation, there's no "gold standard" for a chicken genome, and it is entirely possibl

## Re: (Score:2)

You're my hero today. Wish I had mod points. :)

## Re: (Score:2)

Your post is better than some stupid karma. :)

## Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

It's obvious the egg came first. Dinosaurs laid eggs. Dinosaurs lived before birds, including chickens, evolved. So eggs existed before chickens did.

## Re:Problem Solved (Score:4, Insightful)

New question: what came first the dinosaur or the egg?

Doesn't change much does it?

## Still Problem Solved (Score:5, Funny)

## Re: (Score:2)

Do you like fishsticks?

## Re: (Score:2)

Your Mom.

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Depends on which one you are looking at.

## Re: (Score:2)

Fish lay eggs.

## Re:Problem Solved (Score:5, Funny)

Neither: It was the Rooster who came first (it happens to every guy once in a while).

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## Re: (Score:3, Funny)

Soon a PC with a Quantum Processor, Holographic Memory and optical storage.

Running Duke Nukem Forever on a three dimensional console inside your flying car as it pilots itself to your workplace ...

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Your

workplace? Snicker. How quaint!## Re: (Score:2)

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And running Windows 9 :(

## Re: (Score:2)

And running Windows 9 :(

...slowly.

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