‘Noise-cancelling headphones’ for quantum computers: international collaboration launched

A new project to develop an unprecedented capability in quantum computing – a ‘noise-cancelling headphone’ for quantum computers – is set to increase the stability of fragile quantum building blocks, or qubits.

A team of scientists and engineers at UNSW Sydney, Griffith University and University of Technology Sydney, in partnership with seven leading US institutions, has launched a new project to develop an unprecedented capability in quantum computing: a “noise-cancelling headphone” for quantum computers, set to increase the stability of fragile quantum building blocks, or qubits.

Unlike classical computers, where digital data is stored in bits whose ‘0’ or ‘1’ value can be stored and manipulated very robustly, quantum computers encode information in delicate superposition states of quantum bits, or ‘qubits’. There, the information can be processed with exponentially more computational power than in a classical computer, but it is also highly susceptible to any kind of environmental noise. “To build a reliable quantum computer, we must shield the quantum bits from that noise in the environment,” Professor Wiseman says.

That’s the problem that the Australian group’s new project – set up by the Department of Defence’s Next Generation Technologies Fund, in scientific coordination with the U.S. Army Research Office – is trying to solve. Specifically, the team is building the capacity to cancel noise around a ‘data qubit’ by detecting the noise on a ‘spectator qubit’ in its vicinity, and using advanced machine learning algorithms to adapt the controls that encode information in the data qubit. “Our expertise is in building single-atom quantum bits in silicon,” says  Andrea Morello, Scientia Professor of Quantum Engineering at UNSW Sydney and one of the leaders of the project. Morello’s team was the first in the world to encode quantum information in a silicon chip.

“Until now we have used phosphorus as the data qubit, since it is the simplest atom to use in silicon. But our technology, based on ion implantation, allows us to choose from many other types of atoms, some of which are more sensitive to noise. The other atom will act like a ‘spectator in the theatre’, or like the microphone in a noise-cancelling headphone,” he says.

The information about the noise, picked up by the ‘spectator qubit’, needs to be processed in real time in order to feed the ‘data qubit’ with a signal that cancels out the effect of the noise.

“We will develop theoretical methods to analyse and process the noise around the quantum bits,” says Dr Gerardo Paz-Silva of Griffith University, recipient of a Discovery Early Career Award of the Australian Research Council, and leader of the overall project.

“This is a great example of how Defence can facilitate international research projects that harness excellence in research in Australia and create a pathway to impact from new discoveries,” says Chief Defence Scientist  Professor Tanya Monro.

The development of quantum computer is likely to be one of the most transformative technologies of the 21st century, with impact ranging from data security, complex optimization problems, chemistry and pharmaceutics.

A team of engineers is building the capacity to cancel noise around a ‘data qubit’ by detecting the noise on a ‘spectator qubit’ in its vicinity. Image from Shutterstock

Filed in: News

Recent Posts

Bookmark and Promote!

© 2019 ItVoice | Online IT Magazine India. All rights reserved.
Powered by IT Voice