Physicists Just Invented an Essential Component Needed For Quantum Computers

In 2016, the Nobel Prize in Physics went to three British scientists for their work on superconductors and superfluids, which included the explanation of a rather odd phase of matter.

Now, for the first time, their discovery has a practical application – shrinking an electrical component to a size that will help quantum computers reach a scale that just might make them useful.

 “Such compact circulators could be implemented in a variety of quantum hardware platforms, irrespective of the particular quantum system used,” says the study’s lead author, Alice Mahoney.
Read more at Science Alert
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A PRIMER FOR NATIONAL SECURITY PROFESSIONALS

China recently announced the launch of its Jinan Project, a quantum information effort billed as “the world’s first unhackable computer network.” Building on its launch last year of the world’s first quantum-enabled satellite, China has made significant strides in quantum technology, a field with rapidly increasing relevance to national security. Its satellite has been hailed as a major step toward “unbreakable” encrypted communications.

China is far from the only country interested in quantum technology and its potential applications to national security. Beyond secure communications, quantum computing offers new ways of modelling chemical processes, as well as superior (and artificial intelligence-empowered) targeting and autonomous decision-making systems. Quantum computers may provide the ability to crack existing secure communications, by attacking the security of public key cryptosystems. And they may even augment the performance of “standoff detection” in military settings, in which targets with magnetic or gravitational signatures are detected at a distance, and without contact with the threats themselves.

In truth, however, the full promise of quantum technology is unknown, in national security or any other field. While major claims on the subject sometimes reflect hype more than reality, it’s incontrovertible that governments and companies around the world are investing in it in a serious way. The United States has directed significant defense and intelligence dollars into quantum research. The European Union is devoting over a billion euros to its own quantum technology ecosystem. And it appears Russia may be making quiet investments as well.

Read More at WarOnTheRocks.com

Sweden Enters Quantum Computing

A research initiative is setting Sweden on course to a global top position in quantum technology. The focus is on developing a quantum computer with much greater computing power than the best supercomputers of today.

The initiative is headed up by Professor Per Delsing at Chalmers University of Technology.

The progress of research in quantum technology in recent years has brought the world to the brink of a new technology revolution – the second quantum revolution. Researchers have learnt to control individual quantum systems such as individual atoms, electrons and particles of light, which is opening the door to completely new possibilities. Extremely rapid computers, intercept-proof communications and hyper-sensitive measurement methods are in sight.

Read more at PaceToday.com.au

Use of prototype quantum computer opened up to outsiders

A prototype quantum computer being developed in Japan will be made freely available from Nov. 27 to allow more engineers the chance to improve it.

The National Institute of Informatics and other research agencies hope to commercialize a domestic quantum computer by the end of fiscal 2019 in the face of intensifying global competition.

“We will seek to further improve the prototype so that the quantum computer can eventually tackle the various problems that are out there in society,” said Yoshihisa Yamamoto, the program manager for the research group.

Read More at Asahi.com

What’s a Qubit?

Most people don’t want to be the uncool one to raise their hand and ask a question, but in many cases we really should. These occasional “Raise Your Hand and Ask” posts highlight cool “buzzwords” you may have heard. My aim isn’t just to explain what they mean (that you can look up), but also why they matter.

You may have heard of quantum computing, and the related term qubit, but what is a qubit?

Wikipedia describes a qubit as the quantum analogue of the classical bit (can store a 0 or a 1).  In other words, normal computers have bits, and quantum computers have qubits (can be a 0 or a 1 or both at the same time per quantum mechanics!)

Read More at InfoWorld.com

Quantum Computers Pose Threat To Bitcoin

With so many developments and advances in the tech industry over the years, a lot of them can seem interconnected. In the case of quantum computers and the cryptocurrency market, this is apparently the case, but not all in the ways that are good. In fact, computers that could be thousands of times more powerful than current ones could pose a significant danger to bitcoin and the Blockchain network.

This development is courtesy of a paper published by researchers from the National University of Singapore. According to the study, a sufficiently powerful quantum computer could make minced meat of the cryptographic protocols employed by bitcoin and all financial institutions built in the Blockchain network.

“The key cryptographic protocols used to secure the internet and financial transactions of today are all susceptible to attack by the development of a sufficiently large quantum computer. One particular area at risk are cryptocurrencies, a market currently worth over 150 billion USD. We investigate the risk of Bitcoin, and other cryptocurrencies, to attacks by quantum computers. We find that the proof-of-work used by Bitcoin is relatively resistant to substantial speedup by quantum computers in the next 10 years, mainly because specialized ASIC miners are extremely fast compared to the estimated clock speed of near-term quantum computers,” the paper reads.

Read more at EconoTimes.com

Japan launches its first quantum computer

Japan has unveiled its first quantum computer prototype, amid a global race to build ever-more powerful machines with faster speeds and larger brute force that are key towards realising the full potential of artificial intelligence.

Japan’s machine can theoretically make complex calculations 100 times faster than even a conventional supercomputer, but use just 1 kilowatt of power – about what is required by a large microwave oven – for every 10,000 kilowatts consumed by a supercomputer.

Launched on Monday, the creators – the National Institute of Informatics, telecom giant NTT and the University of Tokyo – said they are building a cloud system to house their “quantum neural network” technology.

Read more at StraitsTimes.com

Quantum Encryption Closer

High-speed quantum encryption may help secure the future Internet, according to new research. Here the same strange properties that drive quantum computers could be use to create hack-proof forms of data encryption.

Commenting on the research to date, lead investigator Professor Daniel Gauthier has said: “We are now likely to have a functioning quantum computer that might be able to start breaking the existing cryptographic codes in the near future. We really need to be thinking hard now of different techniques that we could use for trying to secure the Internet.”

Read more: at DigitalJournal.com

Quantum Programming Language

Microsoft has announced at its Ignite conference a new programming language designed to work both on present quantum simulators and upcoming quantum computers the company is building.

The quantum programming language is designed to work with Microsoft’s Visual Studio integrated development environment (IDE), which is already familiar among developers of programs for the Windows operating system, websites, and mobile apps. Developers can perform common tasks, such as debugging and auto-complete, but will also have the ability to call quantum subroutines, and to write sequences of programming instructions for a complete quantum program, announced Microsoft.

Read more at Photonics.com

Banking Applications in Quantum Computing

See the full article from The Australian.

Australia’s Commonwealth Bank announced that it has developed a quantum computer simulator. This will help develop applications across a variety of industries rather than wait for the hardware to become available.

Applications for a large, complex bank like CBA start with so-called Monte Carlo simulations, where the impact of risk is assessed on the full range of scenarios under consideration. Under classical computing, it takes about a day to work out the risk position of the bank.

Quantum computing would deliver the same outcome in a matter of minutes, enabling more dynamic decision-making as a result of real-time data feeds.

Trading positions could be known in real time, with investment strategies chosen after consideration of millions of different scenarios. Beyond such base-level applications, the potential is mostly unknown because problem-solving in business is constrained by the limits of classical computing.