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Microsoft and Quantinuum's quantum leap

by on04 April 2024

The cat in the PC case is both dead and alive

Microsoft and Quantinuum have won significantly in the battle against quantum error correction. Using Quantinuum's ion-trap hardware and Microsoft's fresh-off-the-press qubit visualisation system, the team ran a whopping 14,000 experiments without the cat upsetting anything.

Writing in the Volish Bog, Microsoft’s distinguished Engineer and Vice President of Advanced Quantum Development, Krysta Svore, said this new system also allowed the boffins to check the logical qubits and correct any errors they stumbled upon without annihilating the logical qubits. The two tech titans say this has catapulted the state-of-the-art quantum computing out of the era of Noisy Intermediate Scale Quantum (NISQ) computers.

Microsoft and Quantinuum have joined forces to revolutionise the quantum computing landscape. By harnessing an ingenious qubit-virtualization system and integrating it with cutting-edge ion-trap hardware, they've accomplished what was once deemed impossible: creating four highly dependable logical qubits from a mere 30 physical qubits. They've achieved this feat while boasting an awe-inspiring 800x enhancement in error rate, setting a new standard for reliability in quantum computing.

Logical qubits are supercharged qubits that are much less likely to make mistakes. So, four super qubits reduce the error rate by 800 times.

This improvement is like going from a noisy room to wearing high-quality noise-cancelling headphones. Suddenly, you can hear the music clearly without the distracting background noise. In the same way, their system filters out errors, allowing the quantum computer to perform complex calculations with unprecedented accuracy.

Svore said her team aims to build a hybrid supercomputer combining classical and quantum computing. This machine could tackle challenges in medicine, economics, and environmental science, providing solutions we can't imagine with today's technology.

To get there, they've set three milestones: significantly lower error rates for logical qubits than physical ones, correct individual errors as they occur, and create a link, or "entanglement," between at least two logical qubits. They've achieved all three, marking a significant step toward reliable quantum computing.

She said this progress opens the door to a future where quantum computers could revolutionise the world, solving currently unsolvable problems, unlocking new scientific discoveries such as a solar powered flashlight and a waterproof teabag.

Svore added that Vole was developing a new type of qubit that's even more error-resistant, paving the way for quantum computers to become a standard tool for researchers and industries.


Last modified on 05 April 2024
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