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how to build a quantum computer

“But that can also be looked at as a huge opportunity.”. The trick, Del Maestro says, is how to avoid what, even in the scientific journals, is called “fluffy bunny” entanglement. Instead of relying on a binary bit, these computers will have qubits—quantum bits—as their base unit. Please turn on Javascript for added functionality. In essence, a qubit can store and consider multiple possibilities simultaneously—which, in theory, could exponentially increase the speed of a computer. It’s what’s called ‘topological’. This, and other related recent discoveries, “brings the technological exploitation of many-body entanglement as a resource within reach,” Del Maestro notes. 5-year CAREER grant from the National Science Foundation. Right: particle entanglement for identical atoms (colored here for clarity) due to quantum statistics and interactions. And it gets weirder. The first step in building a quantum computer is figuring out how traditional computers work. Measuring the spin of one of the electrons instantaneously determined the outcome of the measurement of the spin of its partner. "Moore's law" is an observation that, since the 1960s, the number of transistors that can be packed onto a circuit board has doubled approximately every two years. It could be a zero or a one—at the same time—when things get that small,” he says—and you’ve reached the ultimate size limit of a traditional silicon transistor. Here is how to build one. Instead, Del Maestro, assistant professor of physics, has won a prestigious 5-year CAREER grant from the National Science Foundation to study entanglement—that bizarre reality of atomic particles where measuring, say, one photon in an entangled pair instantly determines the state of its partner particle, even if they are miles apart—and how entanglement might be applied to create a new generation of ultra-fast quantum computers. Left: spatial entanglement where atoms in two separated regions share quantum information. Quantum fuel. A very large string of ones and zeros is the foundation of all the codes that make a computer work. UVM physicist wins NSF CAREER grant to study entanglement. A qubit might be one of those unmeasured electrons. “Entanglement is the fundamental property of quantum mechanics,” he says. Assistant professor of physics Adrian Del Maestro was awarded a $525,000 grant from the NSF to both push forward the theoretical understanding of quantum entanglement—and to reach out to Vermont high school students and other young people who will be the. This is what Del Maestro means by the electrons in the transistor being a one and zero—and millions of possibilities in between—at the same time. Adrian Del Maestro wants to kill fluffy bunnies. Del Maestro’s pioneering work—including his invention of the first theoretical method to measure “operational entanglement” in a many-body quantum system—will complement these experimental efforts. “If you make the distance between the terminal so small, then electrons can tunnel, quantum mechanically, through the barrier. But Moore’s law is running into physical limits—“quantum limits,” Del Maestro says. A quantum computer, on the other hand, has a unique way of sorting through possible solutions and can have an answer in a matter of minutes! “This could be the fuel for a quantum computer,” Del Maestro says. Instead of being just a one or zero, a qubit can be in multiple possible positions at the same time. “This CAREER project is learning how to use that information.”. With his new support from the NSF, Del Maestro and his students will spend the next five years exploring the mathematical foundations of entanglement in quantum liquids and ultracold atomic gases. A classical bit is either one or zero. A measurement of one atom's spin determines the corresponding result of a measurement of the other, regardless of how far they are apart. “So that's a problem,” Del Maestro says. In 1971, 2,300 transistors could be packed onto an Intel computer chip. The transistors in a computer circuit board represent this one/zero binary by either being on or off. Until they are measured, atomic particles can be in what physicists call a “superposition,” meaning that the particles can be in all possible states—at once. Even if they are on opposite sides of the galaxy, they are entangled. Quantum Computer DIY. In a rough sense, it’s the fact that when a group of particles are mixed together into a system they maintain connections, even after the parts are physically separated. Instead of relying on a binary bit, these computers will have qubits—quantum bits—as their base unit. You’re trying to build a large structure by putting cards on top of each other, and the slightest noise or interference from the outside will destroy the house of cards. Instead of being the purview of quasi-philosophical speculations, quantum entanglement (that now can be easily created in a modern laboratory) may soon be used in the macro-world of human society—as a tool for information processing, secure communication, and computers many millions of times faster than today’s fastest. However, no actual bunnies will die. Two different ways in which atoms can be quantum entangled. “Basically, you can have much more information in a quantum bit,” Del Maestro says. But is all this entanglement—what physicists call “many-body” entanglement—just like a fluffy toy bunny at the carnival—very enticing but ultimately useless? Then you don’t know if it’s one or zero, and you start to get many errors. Now imagine a bunch of, say, atoms of helium cooled to near absolute zero. This is what Einstein called “spooky action at a distance,” and though it might seem to violate the laws of the universe it really just shows that our human view of location is an illusion. “Instead of looking at that ‘zero or one?’ question as a problem, maybe we can rethink computation as a way to use that uncertainty—to use entanglement as a resource,” he says. A quantum entangled pair of atoms with opposite electron magnetic moments (spins up or down). Indeed this paradoxical truth (that Schrödinger made famous in 1935 with his both dead and alive cat) is a necessary foundation of entanglement. Traditionally, building a quantum circuit is like building a house of cards. A traditional computer relies on bits. But the mile isn’t the point. At this low temperature the atoms form a strange puddle called a “superfluid” where the puddle is really a pile of entangled atoms all sharing a superposition. And it is this unmeasured probabilistic condition that Del Maestro and other theorists see as the engine for a fundamentally new kind of computer—a quantum computer. It can “drive the next technological age,” says Adrian Del Maestro. In an experiment in the Netherlands, reported last fall in Nature, scientists entangled electrons and then sent them in opposite directions for almost a mile. But in an amazing experiment announced in April 2015, a team at Harvard was able to make real-world measurements of the amount of entanglement in lattices of these ultra-cold atoms. Microsoft’s approach to quantum computing is different. Isn’t it naïve to chase after particles that can’t be distinguished from each other or properties that can’t be measured? They’ll be developing algorithms on conventional supercomputers—including processors on the Vermont Advanced Computing Core at UVM—that seek answers to questions like: how much entanglement can be extracted from a superfluid—the wildly complex fuel of a quantum computer—and transferred to a more-orderly register of qubits, say a lattice of electrons?

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