none

FLIP-FLOPS IN QUANTUM COMPUTING

07-09-2017
by 
in 

Researchers from the University of NSW have found a novel way of building quantum computers, which they say would make them dramatically easier and cheaper to produce at scale. 

As computing speed becomes increasingly important in the manufacturing world, having access to powerful and reliable computers becomes a keystone in any large-scale business. 

Quantum computers promise to harness the strange ability of subatomic particles to exist in more than one state at a time to solve problems that are too complex or time-consuming for existing computers. This has been heralded as the "next step" in advanced computing, but the cost involved has been prohibitive. 

Now, a team from UNSW say they have invented a new chip design based on a new type of quantum bit, the basic unit of information in a quantum computer, known as a "qubit".

The new design would allow for a silicon quantum processor to overcome two limitations of existing designs: the need for atoms to be placed precisely, and allowing them to be placed further apart and still be coupled. 

Crucially, says project leader Andrea Morello, this so-called "flip-flop qubit" means the chips can be produced using the same device technology as existing computer chips.

"This makes the building of a quantum computer much more feasible, since it is based on the same manufacturing technology as today's computer industry," Morello said.

That would allow chips for quantum computers to be mass-manufactured, a goal that has so far eluded other researchers.

IBM's quantum computer in the United States has 16 qubits, meaning it can only perform basic calculations. Google's computer has nine qubits.  

A desktop computer runs at gigaflops. The world’s fastest supercomputer, China’s Sunway TaihuLight, runs at 93 petaflops, but relies on 10 million processing cores and uses massive amounts of energy.

In theory, even a small 30-qubit universal quantum computer could run at the equivalent of a classic computer operating at 10 teraflops.          

The researchers' paper was published in Nature Communications. 

Laszlo Kish, a professor at Texas A&M University, said it was too early to say if the research was a breakthrough "but it may be a step in the proper direction" in solving some of the key obstacles to quantum computing. 

The university has set up a company, Silicon Quantum Computing Pty Ltd, with investments from Telstra, Australia’s Commonwealth Bank and the federal and New South Wales governments.

The $83 million company plans to build a 10-qubit prototype silicon quantum integrated circuit – the first step in building the world’s first quantum computer in silicon - by 2022.

Related news & editorials

  1. 20.11.2018
    20.11.2018
    by      In
    Traditionally, Industry Update has published a Christmas Gift Guide at this time of year. But this year we thought it might be time for all of us to think of those less fortunate. So here’s the 2018 Industry Update Giving Guide.
    These charities need your support more than ever at this time of year... Read More
  2. 19.11.2018
    19.11.2018
    by      In
    Leading engineering technology and systems innovation consultancy Frazer-Nash has tripled the size of its Adelaide headquarters, with SA premier Steven Marshall officiating at the recent opening ceremony.
    The company’s Australian Director, Jonathan Armstrong said: “We’ve created 40 high value jobs... Read More
  3. 19.11.2018
    19.11.2018
    by      In
    Following the success of this year’s Electronex at Rosehill Gardens in Sydney, the show organiser has announced that the 2019 Expo will be held in the new extension of the Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre on the 11th and 12th September next year.
    The Sydney event was judged an... Read More
  4. 15.11.2018
    15.11.2018
    by      In
    It’s less than a year since Lapp Australia started trading, but the company has swiftly established itself in the local market, with significant penetration in sectors such as food and beverage, manufacturing, solar, sound and stage production, electrical contracting, machine building and... Read More