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A team of researchers from the University of Sydney has overcome one of the
most plaguing concerns in building and scaling up Quantum computing
systems.
Quantum Computing: How it works?
Unlike the regular computers whose building blocks are made up of zeroes
and ones, quantum computers' building blocks are made up of superpositions
of zeroes and ones. These primary units in quantum computing are known as
qubits (Quantum Bits).
Quantum computing works by preserving and manipulating information
contained in the most delicate of resources – the highly entangled quantum
states. One of the things that makes this process so challenging is that to
preserve Quantum information. Qubits are housed in an extremely cold
environment that is 20 times colder than interstellar space.
To manipulate the qubits, we need to send signals to them externally from
within the lab's confines; without enabling this communication with the
qubits, we cannot perform any calculations. Hence, there is a wire for
controlling every qubit in the current Quantum computing system.
The Scaling Challenge
These qubits are very unstable. The quantum states can be easily disturbed
even by the slightest change in the environment. Therefore scientists go to
very extraordinary lengths to cool the environment down to absolute zero to
protect the qubits and isolate them from any disruptions.
It is here that the challenge lies since the qubits have to be stored in absolute
zero temperatures for performance stability. To control each qubit, you need
a wired connection. These electrical wires generate a small but sufficient
amount of heat to destabilize the fragile cold environment and affect the
qubits' quantum state.
It also means that you would need at least thousands of qubits to perform
real-world calculation, if not millions. Imagine if there were so many wires to
control thousands and thousands of qubits generating an sizeable amount of
heat which would essentially render the function of cooling systems useless.
As Riley puts it, "Current machines create a beautiful array of wires to control
the signals; they look like an inverted gilded birds' nest or chandelier,"
"They're pretty but fundamentally impractical. It means we can't scale the
machines up to perform useful calculations. There is a real input-output
bottleneck."
It is here that most of the current Quantum computers are stuck in lay man's
terms. They cannot expand or scale themselves beyond the lab applications'
scope for testing, which works on a limited number of qubits.
Gooseberry to the rescue
Even though Quantum computing offers solutions to previously unsolvable
problems, scientists must solve both issues at a scale and scope far beyond
current quantum computing technology. It is where eminent Quantum
physicist David Reilly and his team of Microsoft and University of Sydney
researchers have come up with a breakthrough.
Instead of deploying multiple stacks of electronics based on roomtemperature
used to generate voltage pulses that controlled the qubits in the
special-purpose refrigerator running at a temperature of absolute zero.
They invented a controller chip called Gooseberry. This chip sits next to the
quantum device that can operate at 'millikelvin' temperatures just a tiny
fraction of a degree above absolute zero, as described in a new study.1
This breakthrough sidesteps the otherwise impossible challenge of running
thousands of wires into a refrigerator. And could help to scale up Quantum
computing, where we can use not just thousands but millions of qubits to
create solutions to the world's most pressing problems.
Infinite possibilities
Quantum computing could impact medicine, artificial intelligence, chemistry,
break codes and revolutionize cryptography and many more fields in gamechanging
ways.
Imagine if we can combine millions of qubits into complex devices and
manipulate them. Then we can open the door to real-world solutions that
would have taken lifetimes for even the most powerful supercomputers of our
time. Hence Gooseberry is a significant step in that direction.


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