Quantum computers have ushered in a new era of computing, with the potential to revolutionize fields ranging from encryption to medical research. However, these powerful machines are still plagued by a major obstacle known as “quantum error”. A French startup called Alice & Bob is now challenging industry giants like Amazon by developing a unique solution inspired by Schrodinger’s famous cat experiment.
At the core of quantum machines are quibits, the quantum equivalent of classical bits. Unlike classical bits that can only represent 0 or 1, quibits exist in a superposition of both states simultaneously. The breakthrough lies in overcoming the inefficiency caused by quantum error, which affects over 1,000 quibits for every unaffected logical quibit.
Alice & Bob’s strategy for combating quantum error involves harnessing the concept of “cat state” qubits. Instead of encoding information in varying energy levels, they have created quibits that fluctuate between two diametrically opposed states, similar to the life-or-death scenario experienced by Schrodinger’s hypothetical cat. This approach relies on the use of superconducting microwave resonators.
One glaring advantage of this research is the significant reduction in the number of qubits required for certain tasks. Breaking RSA-2048 encryption, for instance, would typically demand around 22 million regular quibits. However, thanks to the power of “cat state” qubits, Alice & Bob estimate that only 350,000 qubits would be needed. Furthermore, they claim that each logical qubit would require just 40 quibits, making their solution remarkably efficient.
The impact of this advancement has not gone unnoticed. Even tech giant Amazon has started its own research into “cat state” qubits. Initially, the competition may have seemed daunting to Alice & Bob. However, they have come to view Amazon’s involvement as validation rather than a threat. The true battle lies between this new paradigm and alternative technologies.
‘Cat states’ offer superior resilience against bit flips, where a qubit’s state flips between 0 and 1. Although they are more susceptible to phase flips, in which quibits transition between opposing phases, the researchers believe that resolving this type of error is easier than dealing with two concurrent errors.
Alice & Bob are ambitiously aiming to develop a 14-qubit system by the end of 2023. Nevertheless, they anticipate an additional six months for calibration and fine-tuning. Exciting updates and progress await in the near future.
Frequently Asked Questions:
What is a quantum computer?
A quantum computer is a type of computer that utilizes the principles of quantum mechanics to process and store information. Unlike classical computers that encode data using bits, which can only represent 0 or 1, quantum computers employ quibits that can exist in multiple states simultaneously.
What is quantum error?
Quantum error refers to the inaccuracies that occur in quantum computations due to the vulnerability of qubits to external influences. These errors can significantly impact the reliability and efficiency of quantum computers.
What are ‘cat state’ qubits?
‘Cat state’ qubits are a type of qubit that leverages superposition and fluctuates between two diametrically opposed states. This concept is inspired by Schrodinger’s famous cat thought experiment, where a cat is theoretically both alive and dead simultaneously.
How do ‘cat state’ qubits address quantum error?
By using ‘cat state’ qubits, quantum error can be mitigated, allowing for more reliable and efficient quantum computations. These qubits offer increased resistance to bit flips, where a qubit state flips between 0 and 1.
What is the future of quantum computing?
Quantum computing holds tremendous potential for driving advancements in various fields such as cryptography, optimization, drug discovery, and material science. As researchers continue to tackle the challenges associated with quantum error and scalability, the possibilities for quantum computing are vast and exciting.