Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Optical Chip Fast Tracks Quantum Computer Development

A graphic representation of the two-photon quantum walk.
A graphic representation of
the two-photon quantum walk.
An international research groups led by scientists from the University of Bristol have come up with a new silicon chip and technique that could soon be used to perform complex calculation by using quantum particles in the future.
The team believes that with their chip and technique, a quantum computerwill become a reality in less than 10 years.
Quantum computers could perform more complex calculation compared to traditional computer because in quantum computing a qubit could hold up to several states, whereas normal transistors can have only two states (1 & 0). By holding more information, in future a quantum computer could be used to perform more complex calculation and simulation.
The team have developed a new technique to conduct an experiment know asQuantum Walk with two identical photonsQuantum Walk experiment with one photon has been conducted successfully previously.
However, adding another photon to the experiment is not an easy task because you need to have to identical photons and they interfere or interact between each other.
According to Prof O'Brien “Each time we add a photon, the complexity of the problem we are able to solve increases exponentially, so if a one-photon quantum walk has 10 outcomes, a two-photon system can give 100 outcomes and a three-photon system 1000 solutions and so on”
The research group now plans to develop new simulation tools, conduct Quantum Walk experiment with more photons and have bigger and larger circuits.
In the future, a quantum computer could be used to study superconductivity and photosynthesis. Plus, it will accelerate the development pace of ultra fast search engines, new high tech materials and new pharmaceuticals.

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