Towards large scale quantum computation

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In general, they span a range of subfields, and are not focused on quantum computing exclusively. Several pieces of legislation for a national quantum initiative have been introduced and advanced in the U. Senate and House of Representatives. The potential for building a quantum computer that could efficiently perform tasks that would take lifetimes on a classical computer—even if far off, and even though not certain to be possible—is a highly compelling prospect. As QCs mature, they will be a direct test of the theoretical predictions of how they work, and of what kind of quantum control is fundamentally possible.

For example, the quantum supremacy experiment is a fundamental test of the theory of quantum mechanics in the limit of highly complex systems.

More fundamentally, development of elements of the theories of quantum information and quantum computation have already begun to affect other areas of physics. For example, the theory of quantum error correction, which must be implemented in order to achieve fault-tolerant QCs, has proven essential to the study of quantum gravity and black holes [ 23 ].

Furthermore, quantum information theory and quantum complexity theory are directly applicable to—and have become essential for—quantum many-body physics, the study of the dynamics of systems of a large-number of quantum particles [ 24 ]. Advances in this field are critical for a precise understanding of most physical systems. Advances in QC theory and devices will require contributions from many fields beyond physics, including mathematics, computer science, materials science, chemistry, and multiple areas of engineering.

Integrating the knowledge required to build and make use of QCs will require collaboration across traditional disciplinary boundaries; this cross-fertilization of ideas and perspectives could generate new ideas and reveal additional open questions, stimulating new areas of research. In particular, work on the design of quantum algorithms required to make use of a quantum computer can help to advance foundational theories of computation. To date, there are numerous examples of quantum computing research results leading directly to advances in classical computing via several mechanisms.

First, approaches used for developing quantum algorithms have in some cases turned out to be translatable.

Progress in technology has always gone hand-in-hand with foundational research, as the creation of new cutting-edge tools and methods provides scientists access to regimes previously not accessible, leading to new discoveries. For example, consider how advances in cooling technologies led to the discovery of superconductivity; the engineering of high-end optical interferometers at LIGO enabled the observation of gravitational waves; the engineering of higher-performance particle accelerators enabled the discovery of quarks and leptons.

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These in turn enable future advances in technology. As with all foundational science and engineering, the future impacts of this work are not easily predictable, but they could potentially offer transformational change and significant economic benefits. In another instance, properties of quantum computers were critical to proving the power of certain types of classical computers Aaronson, These results in turn spurred improvement of the quantum approach, although the classical approaches remain more efficient.

In another example, an undergraduate student discovered a classical algorithm whose performance matched that of an important quantum algorithm, providing exponential speedup over all previous classical approaches. Hartnett, As with all foundational scientific research, discoveries in this field could lead to transformative new knowledge and applications. The same types of qubits currently being explored for applications in quantum computing are being used to build precision clocks, magnetometers, and inertial sensors—applications that are likely to be achievable in the near term.

Quantum communication, important both for intra- and intermodule communication in a quantum computer, is also a vibrant research field of its own; recent advances include entanglement distribution between remote qubit nodes mediated by photons, some over macroscopic distances for fundamental scientific tests, and others for establishing quantum connections between multiple quantum computers.

Work toward larger-scale quantum computers will require improvements in methods for quantum control and measurement, which will also likely have benefits for other quantum technologies.

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For example, advanced quantum-limited parametric amplifiers in the microwave domain, developed recently for measuring superconducting qubits in QC systems, are used to achieve unprecedented levels of sensitivity for measuring nonclassical states of microwave fields such as squeezed states , which have been explored extensively for achieving sensitivities beyond the standard limit in sensing and metrology [ 36 , 37 ]. In fact, results from quantum computing and quantum information science have already led to techniques of value for other quantum technologies, such as quantum logic spectroscopy [ 38 ] and magnetometry [ 39 ].

Key Finding 7: Although the feasibility of a large-scale quantum computer is not yet certain, the benefits of the effort to develop a practical QC are likely to be large, and they may continue to spill over to other nearer-term applications of quantum information technology, such as qubit-based sensing. Quantum computing research has clear implications for national security.

Even if the probability of creating a working quantum computer was low, given the interest and progress in this area, it seems likely this technology will be developed further by some nation-states. Thus, all nations must plan for a future of increased QC capability. The threat to current asymmetric cryptography is obvious and is driving.

While deploying post-quantum cryptography in government and civilian systems may help protect subsequent communications, it will not protect communications or data that have already been intercepted or exfiltrated by an adversary. Access to prequantum encrypted data in the post-quantum world could be of significant benefit to intelligence operations, although its value would very likely decrease as the time horizon to building a large-scale QC increases.

Furthermore, new quantum algorithms or implementations could lead to new cryptanalytic techniques; as with cybersecurity in general, post-quantum resilience will require ongoing security research. But the national security implications transcend these issues. A larger, strategic question is about future economic and technological leadership.

Quantum computing, like few other foundational research areas, has a chance of causing dramatic changes in a number of different industries. The reason is simple: advances in classical computers have made computation an essential part of almost every industry. This dependence means that any advances in computing could have widespread impact that is hard to match. While it is not certain when or whether such changes will be enabled, it is nonetheless of strategic importance for the United States to be prepared to take advantage of these advances when they occur and use them to drive the future in a responsible way.

IBM aims to scale quantum computing with new center, 53-qubit system

This capability requires strong local research communities at the cutting edge of the field, to engage across disciplinary and institutional boundaries and to capitalize on advances in the field, regardless of where they originate. Thus, building and maintaining strong QC research groups is essential for this goal. Key Finding 8: While the United States has historically played a leading role in developing quantum technologies, quantum information science and technology is now a global field. Given the large resource commitment several non-U. Historically, the unclassified quantum computing community has been collaborative, with results openly shared.

Recently, several user communities have formed to share prototypical gate-based and annealing machines, including through remote or cloud access. Anyone e. Dozens of research papers have already emerged as a result of these collaborations [ 40 ]. Open research and development in quantum computing is not limited to hardware. Many software systems to support quantum computing are being developed and licensed using an open source model, where users are free to use and help improve the code [ 41 ].

There are a number of emerging quantum software development platforms pursuing an open source environment.

Quantum Computing – QuTech Academy

At the same time, the field of quantum computing is becoming increasingly globally competitive. As described in the previous section, several countries have announced large research initiatives or programs to support this work, including China, the UK, the EU, and Australia, and many are aiming to become leaders in this technology. This increased competition among nation-states or private sector entities for leadership in quantum computing could drive the field to be less open in publishing.


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While it is reasonable for companies to desire to retain some intellectual property, and thus not publish all results openly, reducing the open flow of ideas can have a dampening effect on progress in development of practical technologies and human capital. Key Finding 9: An open ecosystem that enables cross-pollination of ideas and groups will accelerate rapid technology advancement.

Quantum computing provides an exciting potential future, but to make this future happen, a number of challenges will need to be addressed. This section looks at the most important ramifications of the potential ability to create a large fault-tolerant quantum computer and will end with a list of the key challenges to achieve this goal.

Defeating bit RSA encryption using the best known classical computing techniques on the best available hardware is utterly infeasible, as the task would require quadrillions of years [ 42 ].

Increasing the volume of systems – and performance

On the other hand, a general-purpose quantum computer with around 2, logical qubits could potentially perform this task in no more than a few hours. As Chapter 4 explained, deploying a new protocol is relatively easy but replacing an old one is very hard, since it can be embedded in every computer, tablet, cell phone, automobile, Wi-Fi access point, TV cable box, and DVD player as well as hundreds of other kinds of devices, some quite small and.

For example, consider the wealth of applications developed by the thriving open-source software community, or the rapid development of the Internet after the launch of NSFNet the original backbone of the civilian Internet and subsequent commercial investments. Since this process can take decades, it needs to be started well before the threat becomes available.

Key Finding Even if a quantum computer that can decrypt current cryptographic ciphers is more than a decade off, the hazard of such a machine is high enough—and the time frame for transitioning to a new security protocol is sufficiently long and uncertain—that prioritization of the development, standardization, and deployment of post-quantum cryptography is critical for minimizing the chance of a potential security and privacy disaster. Our understanding of the science and engineering of quantum systems has improved dramatically over the past two decades, and with this understanding has come an improved ability to control the quantum phenomena that underlie quantum computing.

However, significant work remains before a quantum computer with practical utility can be built. While the committee expects that progress will be made, it is difficult to predict how and how soon this future will unfold: it might grow slowly. Over time, the state of progress in meeting the open technical challenges and the above nontechnical factors may be assessed while monitoring the status of the two doubling metrics defined earlier in this chapter. As with all foundational scientific research, the results yet to be gleaned could transform our understanding of the universe.

Branscomb and P. Linke, S. Johri, C. Figgatt, K. Landsman, A. Matsuura, and C. Friis, O. Marty, C.

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