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We Just Found Another Obstacle For Quantum Computers to Overcome – And It’s Everywhere – ScienceAlert

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Keeping qubits stable those quantum equivalents of classic computing bits will be key to realising the potential of quantum computing. Now scientists have found a new obstacle to this stability: natural radiation.

Natural or background radiation comes from all sorts of sources, both natural and artificial. Cosmic rays contribute to natural radiation, for example, and so do concrete buildings. It's around us all the time, and so this poses something of a problem for future quantum computers.

Through a series of experiments that altered the level of natural radiation around qubits, physicists have been able to establish that this background buzz does indeed nudge qubits off balance in a way that stops them from functioning properly.

"Our study is the first to show clearly that low-level ionising radiation in the environment degrades the performance of superconducting qubits," says physicist John Orrell, from the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL).

"These findings suggest that radiation shielding will be necessary to attain long-sought performance in quantum computers of this design."

Natural radiation is by no means the most significant or the only threat to qubit stability, which is technically known as coherence everything from temperature fluctuations to electromagnetic fields can break the qubit 'spell'.

But the scientists say if we're to reach a future where quantum computers are taking care of our most advanced computing needs, then this interference from natural radiation is going to have to be dealt with.

It was after experiencing problems with superconducting qubit decoherence that the team behind the new study decided to investigate the possible problem with natural radiation. They found it breaks up a key quantum binding called a Cooper pair of electrons.

"The radiation breaks apart matched pairs of electrons that typically carry electric current without resistance in a superconductor," says physicist Brent VanDevender, from PNNL. "The resistance of those unpaired electrons destroys the delicately prepared state of a qubit."

Classical computers can be disrupted by the same issues that affect qubits, but quantum states are much more delicate and sensitive. One of the reasons that we don't have genuine full-scale quantum computers today is that no one can keep qubits stable for more than a few milliseconds at a time.

If we can improve on that, the benefits in terms of computing power could be huge: whereas classical computing bits can only be set as 1 or 0, qubits can be set as 1, 0 or both at the same time (known as superposition).

Scientists have been able to get it happening, but only for a very short space of time and in a very tightly controlled environment. The good news is that researchers like those at PNNL are committed to the challenge of figuring out how to make quantum computers a reality and now we know a bit more about what we're up against.

"Practical quantum computing with these devices will not be possible unless we address the radiation issue," says VanDevender. "Without mitigation, radiation will limit the coherence time of superconducting qubits to a few milliseconds, which is insufficient for practical quantum computing."

The research has been published in Nature.

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We Just Found Another Obstacle For Quantum Computers to Overcome - And It's Everywhere - ScienceAlert

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Quantum Computing Market Is Booming Worldwide | D-Wave Systems, 1QB Information Technologies, QxBranch LLC and more – The Daily Chronicle

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The Quantum Computing Market report enlightens its readers about its products, applications, and specifications. The research enlists key companies operating in the market and also highlights the roadmap adopted by the companies to consolidate their position in the market. By extensive usage of SWOT analysis and Porters five force analysis tools, the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and combination of key companies are comprehensively deduced and referenced in the report. Every single leading player in this global market is profiled with their related details such as product types, business overview, sales, manufacturing base, applications, and other specifications.

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Quantum Computing Market Is Booming Worldwide | D-Wave Systems, 1QB Information Technologies, QxBranch LLC and more - The Daily Chronicle

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Tufts Joins Major Effort to Build the Next Generation of Quantum Computers – Tufts Now

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Tufts is joining a major U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) funded center called the Quantum Systems Accelerator (QSA), led by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. The center hopes to create the next generation of quantum computers and apply them to the study of some of the most challenging problems in physics, chemistry, materials science, and more.

The QSA is one of five new DOE Quantum Information Science research centers announced on Aug. 26, and will be funded with $115 million over five years, supporting dozens of scientists at 15 institutions.

Peter Love, an associate professor of physics, will lead Tufts participation in the project. We have long been interested in using quantum computers for calculations in physics and chemistry, said Love.

A large-scale quantum computer would be a very powerful instrument for studying everything from the structure of large molecules to the nature and behavior of subatomic particles, he said. The only difficulty is that the quantum computers we need dont exist yet.

Quantum computers employ a fundamentally different approach to computing than those existing now, using quantum states of atoms, ions, light, quantum dots or superconducting circuits to store information.

The QSA will bring together world-class researchers and facilities to develop quantum systems that could significantly exceed the capability of todays computers. Multidisciplinary teams across all the institutions will work toward advancing qubit technologythe manner and materials in which information is stored in a quantum state, and other components of quantum computers.

Loves research will focus on developing simulation algorithms in areas such as particle and nuclear physics, which will be run by the new quantum computers. It is important to work hard on the algorithms now, so we are ready when the hardware appears, he said. Love is also part of a National Science Foundation-funded effort to develop a quantum computer and applications to run on it.

Quantum computing is an important and growing area of research at Tufts. Tom Vandervelde, an associate professor in electrical and computer engineering, Luke Davis, an assistant professor of chemistry, and Cristian Staii, an associate professor of physics, are exploring new materials capable of storing qubits.

Philip Shushkov, Charles W. Fotis Assistant Professor of Chemistry, has research focused on theoretical modeling of qubit materials, while Misha Kilmer, William Walker Professor of Mathematics, and Xiaozhe Hu, associate professor of mathematics, study quantum-inspired algorithms relevant to their research in linear algebra. Bruce Boghosian, professor of mathematics, also made some fundamental contributions to quantum simulation in the late 1990s.

Mike Silver can be reached at mike.silver@tufts.edu.

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Tufts Joins Major Effort to Build the Next Generation of Quantum Computers - Tufts Now

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The Quantum Dream: Are We There Yet? – Toolbox

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The emergence of quantum computing has led industry heavyweights to fast track their research and innovations. This week, Google conducted the largest chemical simulation on a quantum computer to date. The U.S. Department of Energy, on the other hand, launched five new Quantum Information Science (QIS) Research Centers. Will this accelerate quantum computings progress?

Quantum technology is the next big wave in the tech landscape. As opposed to traditional computers where all the information emails, tweets, YouTube videos, and Facebook photos are streams of electrical pulses in binary digits, 1s and 0s; quantum computers rely on quantum bits or qubits to store information. Qubits are subatomic particles, such as electrons or photons which change their state regularly. Therefore, they can be 1s and 0s at the same time. This enables quantum computers to run multiple complex computational tasks simultaneously and faster when compared to digital computers, mainframes, and servers.

Introduced in the 1900s, quantum computing can unlock the complexities across different industries much faster than traditional computers. A quantum computer can decipher complex encryption systems that can easily impact digital banking, cryptocurrencies, and e-commerce sectors, which heavily depend on encrypted data. Quantum computers can expedite the discovery of new medicines, aid in climate change, power AI, transform logistics, and design new materials. In the U.S., technology giants, including IBM, Google, Honeywell, Microsoft, Intel, IonQ, and Rigetti Computing, are leading the race to build quantum computers and gain a foothold in the quantum computing space. Whereas Alibaba, Baidu, Huawei are leading companies in China.

For a long time, the U.S. and its allies, such as Japan and Germany, had been working hard to compete with China to dominate the quantum technology space. In 2018, the U.S. government released the National Strategy Overview for Quantum Information Science to reduce technical skills gaps and accelerate quantum computing research and development.

In 2019, Google claimed quantum supremacy for supercomputers when the companys Sycamore processor performed specific tasks in 200 seconds, which would have taken a supercomputer 10,000 years to complete. In the same year, Intel rolled out Horse Ridge, a cryogenic quantum control chip, to reduce the quantum computing complexities and accelerate quantum practicality.

Tech news: Is Data Portability the Answer To Anti-Competitive Practices?

Whats 2020 Looking Like For Quantum Computing?

In July 2020, IBM announced a research partnership with the Japanese business and academia to advance quantum computing innovations. This alliance will deepen ties between the countries and build an ecosystem to improve quantum skills and advance research and development.

More recently, in June 2020, Honeywell announced the development of the worlds highest-performing quantum computer. AWS, Microsoft, and several other IaaS providers have announced quantum cloud services, an initiative to advance quantum computing adoption. In August 2020, AWS announced the general availability of its Amazon Braket, a quantum cloud service that allows developers to design, develop, test, and run quantum algorithms.

Since last year, auto manufacturers, such as Daimler and Volkswagen have been leveraging quantum computers to identify new methods to improve electric vehicle battery performance. Pharmaceutical companies are also using the technology to develop new medicines and drugs.

Last week, the Google AI Quantum team used their quantum processor, Sycamore, to simulate changes in the configuration of a chemical molecule, diazene. During the process, the computer was able to describe the changes in the positions of hydrogen accurately. The computer also gave an accurate description of the binding energy of hydrogen in bigger chains.

If quantum computers develop the ability to predict chemical processes, it would advance the development of a wide range of new materials with unknown properties. Current quantum computers, unfortunately, lack the augmented scaling required for such a task. Although todays computers are not ready to take on such a challenge yet, computer scientists hope to accomplish this in the near future as tech giants like Google invest in quantum computing-related research.

Tech news: Will Googles Nearby Share Have Anything Transformative to Offer?

It, therefore, came as a relief to many computer scientists when the U.S. Department of Energy announced an investment of $625 million over the next five years for five newly formed Quantum Information Science (QIS) Research Centers in the U.S. The newly formed hubs are an amalgam of research universities, national labs, and tech titans in quantum computing. Each of the research hubs is led by the Energy Departments Argonne National Laboratory, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Brookhaven National Laboratory, Fermi National Laboratory, and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; powered by Microsoft, IBM, Intel, Riggeti, and ColdQuanta. This partnership aims to advance quantum computing commercialization.

Chetan Nayak, general manager of Quantum Hardware at Microsoft, says, While quantum computing will someday have a profound impact, todays quantum computing systems are still nascent technologies. To scale these systems, we must overcome a number of scientific challenges. Microsoft has been tackling these challenges head-on through our work towards developing topological qubits, classical information processing devices for quantum control, new quantum algorithms, and simulations.

At the start of this year, Daniel Newman, principal analyst and founding partner at Futurum Research, predicted that 2020 will be a big year for investors and Silicon Valley to invest in quantum computing companies. He said, It will be incredibly impactful over the next decade, and 2020 should be a big year for advancement and investment.

Quantum computing is still in the development phase, and the lack of suppliers and skilled researchers might be one of the influential factors in its establishment. However, if tech giants, and researchers continue to collaborate on a large scale, quantum technology can turbocharge innovation at a large scale.

What are your thoughts on the progress of quantum computing? Comment below or let us know on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook. Wed love to hear from you!

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The Quantum Dream: Are We There Yet? - Toolbox

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Bipartisan Bill Calls for Government-Led Studies Into Emerging Tech Impacts – Nextgov

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Commerce Department and Federal Trade Commission-led studies diving deep into Americas pursuit, use and governance of multiple emerging technologiesand resulting in tips for national strategies to advance each and secure supply chainswould be required under a bipartisan bill introduced Friday.

The American Competitiveness on More Productive Emerging Tech Economy, or COMPETE Act, set forth by Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., and Bobby Rush, D-Ill., is a legislative package of several other previously-introduced bills focused on boosting Congress grasp of the tech landscape.

If passed, it would mandate new research into confronting online harms, and advancing eight buzzy areas of on-the-rise emerging technology: artificial intelligence, quantum computing, blockchain, new and advanced materials, unmanned delivery services, 3D printing, the internet of things, and IoT in manufacturing.

Such tech has expanded the horizons of humankind, drastically changing the way we exchange information and interact with the world around us, Rush said in a statement, adding that, as these technologies develop and become more prolific, it is imperative that the U.S. take the lead in appreciating both the benefits and risks associated with [them], and ensure that we remain competitive on the world stage.

Referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce upon introduction, the 36-page bill incorporates the Advancing Blockchain Act, initially introduced by Rep. Brett Guthrie, R-Ky., the Advancing Quantum Computing Act from Rep. Morgan Griffith, R-Va., and almost 10 other pieces of previously put forward legislation calling for research into contemporary technologies impact on commerce and society. The bill calls for year-long, agency-led investigations into each of the listed burgeoning technological industries and areaswith explicit instructions for the type of information the agencies would need to report back to Congress. The work would entail developing lists of public-private partnerships promoting the various techs adoption, exploring standards and policies implemented by those tapping into each, identifying near- and long-term risks among supply chains, pinpointing tech industry impacts on the U.S. economy and much more.

Studies are studies and from a Congressional standpoint they are generally used to inform oversight and legislative activity. Thats likely the case here, Mike Hettinger, founder of Hettinger Strategy Group and former House Oversight Committee staffer told Nextgov Tuesday. On [its] face, the bill is not going to change any existing policy related to any of the areas on which it is focused. That said, the more we know, the better off we will be.

Agencies involved in producing the reports would also need to craft recommendations for policies and legislation that would advance the expeditious adoption of the said technologies, according to the act.

Hettinger noted that the bill could signal that the participating lawmakers are teeing up potential legislative action.

Thats the thing to watch because for the most part when you have emerging technology you want to be very careful not to over-regulate it in a way that would hinder innovation, he said, noting that what we need more than anything in these areas is continued robust federal investment in related research and development.

You hope that by studying these areas in-depth first, youll avoid any knee-jerk regulation that could harm innovation, he added.

On top of honing in on each specific emerging technology, the bill also includes a section that Hettinger said hes particularly intrigued by, which is the full text of what was originally introduced as the Countering Online Harms Act. In the COMPETE Act, the portion mandates a study to consider whether and how artificial intelligence may be used to identify, remove, or take any other appropriate action necessary to address online harms, like manipulated content such as deepfakes used to mislead people, disinformation campaigns, fraudulent content intended to scamand beyond.

The issue of deceptive content and deepfakes is front and center today as the 2020 election moves into full swing, Hettinger said. Being able to identify what content is authentic and what has been manipulated is increasingly critical for protecting the integrity of our electoral process.

The bills included in the legislative bundle were put forth prior by several other lawmakersall of whom contributed to what Hettinger suggested marks a unique approach. He pointed out that outside of the Smart IoT Act, most pieces of legislation included in COMPETE were formerly introduced on the same date this summerMay 19and their language is strikingly similar, at times nearly identical.

This suggests to me that this was a coordinated approach from the outset, and part of an innovation agenda, Hettinger said. I dont know the behind the scenes posturing thats going on, but we do expect to see a lot of legislative activity between now and the end of the year so I assume the plan is to try and pass this combined package in the House before Congress adjourns for the year.

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Bipartisan Bill Calls for Government-Led Studies Into Emerging Tech Impacts - Nextgov

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Two Pune Research Institutes Are Building India’s First Optical Atomic Clocks – The Wire Science

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Students of IISER Pune next to the strontium-based optical atomic clocks setup. Photo: IISER Pune.

Pune/Bengaluru: Two Pune-based premier research institutes, the Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA) and the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), have joined hands to build Indias first two optical atomic clocks.

The institutes will build one clock each, with help from the Government of India. If the project is successful, India will join a small global club of countries with the ability to build these ultra-precise timekeeping devices.

According to the scientists involved, the clocks will only skip one second in more than 13.8 billion years, which is the approximate age of our universe.

Since the middle of the 20th century till now, there have been tremendous efforts in the field of atomic clocks, making time the most accurately measured physical quantity, the authors of a paper published in 2014 wrote.

Optical atomic clocks themselves have a few well-known applications. Foremost of course is accurate timekeeping which in turn has multiple applications of its own, according to Subhadeep De, an associate professor and expert in optical physics at IUCAA and one of the members of the project.

For example, GPS satellites use radar signals to determine the position of an object on the ground. However, there is a time lag both due to time taken for the signals to move between the ground and the satellites and because the satellites are in motion relative to the object while they move through Earths gravitational field, incurring really tiny but significant time delays arising from the theories of relativity.

The worlds prevailing frequency standard for measuring time is derived from caesium atomic clocks. Here, caesium atoms are imparted energy by different means in different designs and forced to jump from one energy level to a slightly higher one, called the atoms hyperfine ground states. Shortly after, the atom drops back to its previous state by emitting microwave radiation at 9,192,631,770 Hz.

Hz here is hertz, the SI unit of frequency, defined as per second. So when a detector measures 9,192,631,770 waves from crest to trough of this microwave emission, coming from the caesium atoms, one second will have passed.

According to the Mechatronics Handbook (2002), all timekeeping machines have three parts: an energy source, a resonator and a counter. In a household wall clock, the energy source is a AA or AAA battery; the resonator, in this case the clocks gears, is the system that moves in a periodic manner; and the counter is the display. The energy and resonator are together called an oscillator.

In atomic clocks, the oscillator is, say, a laser imparting energy to a caesium atom ticking between the two hyperfine ground states. The radiation the atom releases is the resonator. The detector is the counter.

The clocks being built by IUCAA and IISER have the same underlying principle but use more advanced technologies. Indeed, optical atomic clocks are considered to be the next step in the evolution of atomic clocks and are likely to replace caesium atomic clocks as the worlds time standard in future. A glimpse of the underlying engineering shows us why.

First, confining the atoms or ions is very difficult. To keep the clock precise, its operators need to ensure the atoms dont combine to form molecules, bump into each other and/or dont react with the containers walls. So instead of confining them in material containers, the IUCAA and IISER teams are using optical and electromagnetic traps.

Specifically, neutral atoms are confined in an optically created storage basket known as an optical lattice, which is created by interfering two counter-propagating laser beams, Umakant Rapol, an associate professor at IISER, said. The ions are confined by oscillating electric fields.

Second, once the particles have been confined, they will be laser-cooled to nearly absolute zero (the coldest temperature possible, 0 K or -273.15 C). In their simplest form, laser-cooling techniques force atoms to lose their kinetic energy and come very nearly to a still. Since the temperature of a macroscopic body is nothing but the collective kinetic energy of its atoms, a container of nearly-still atoms is bound to feel very cold. And once more of the atoms kinetic energy has been removed, their quantum physical effects become more noticeable, allowing the clock to be more precise.

The choice of atoms to use in the clock is dictated by whether they can be cooled to a few microkelvin above absolute zero using laser-cooling, and if their switching between the two energy states is immune to stray magnetic fields, electric fields, the temperature of the background, etc., Rapol said.

Ytterbium and strontium atoms check both these boxes. IUCAA will be building a ytterbium-ion clock. In this clock, a single ytterbium ion will be used to produce the resonating radiation. Using multiple ions gives rise to an effect called a Coulomb shift, which interferes with the clock design. IISER will be building a strontium-atom clock.

When a caesium atom swings between the two hyperfine ground states, it emits a specific amount of energy as microwave radiation. When the ytterbium and strontium atoms swing between two of their energy states, they emit energy as optical radiation. Both these elements have highly stable optical emissions at wavelengths of 467 nm and 698.4 nm corresponding to 642,121,496,772,645 Hz and 429,228,066,418,009 Hz for ytterbium-ion and strontium atom, respectively.

These high frequencies two orders of magnitude higher than the microwave radiation in caesium clocks is the source of the clocks ability to miss less than one second in 13.8 billion years.

(The makers of an optical strontium clock reported in 2014 that their device wouldnt miss one second in 15 billion years!)

Also read: Experimenting with Cold, Magnetic Materials in Indore

However, taking advantage of this stable emission means accurately detecting the high-frequency optical radiation. That is, if researchers need to build optical atomic clocks, they also need to be able to build and operate state-of-the-art frequency measurement systems. These devices in the form of frequency combs constitute the third feature of the IUCAA and IISER clocks.

A frequency comb is an advanced laser whose output radiation lies in multiple, evenly-spaced frequencies. This output can be used to convert high-frequency optical signals into more easily countable lower-frequency microwave signals like in the diagram shown below (source).

The principal challenge before India is to build all these devices from scratch. Rapol said the teams plan to develop most of the required technologies in Pune. They require expertise in the fields of optics, instrumentation, electronics, ultra-high vacuums, and mechanical and software engineering, among others.

National collaborations such as [us] working together with our next-door neighbour IISER will be beneficial, De said. Rapol mirrored this opinion: We are going to share expertise with IUCAA and are already working [together] to create an ion trap.

Rapol also said one clock is half-ready: We have laser-cooled the strontium atoms and are ready to load these atoms into one-dimensional chains, to increase the signal-to-noise ratio, and will have the optical clock soon, he said. They are also waiting to fit in the frequency comb.

He estimated that once the funds and equipment have been procured, it should take two years or less to build the clock at IISER. The IUCAA clock is expected to be ready in four or five years.

Once both clocks are operational, they will be linked together.

Grander applications

There are multiple open problems in physics at the moment. Four of the more prominent ones include the search for new physics, the reconciliation of quantum mechanics and relativity, an explanation for what happened to the universes antimatter, and the nature of dark matter.

De noted that various experiments designed to help answer these questions and others besides require researchers to be able to measure time in different contexts with increasingly higher precision and accuracy.

Rapol also expressed excitement about measuring changes in the values of fundamental constants. Constants are called so because their values dont change but the values of some constants could be changing too slightly for existing clocks to notice.

For example, the fine-structure constant is a number that determines the strength with which a charged particle, like an electron or a ytterbium ion, couples with an electromagnetic field. If this number increases or decreases with time, there could be implications for the whole universe everywhere charged particles interact with each other.

According to De, the ytterbium ion is more sensitive to the fine structure constant than strontium atoms. So if the constants value changes with time, the ytterbium clocks transition frequency will vary at a much faster rate relative to that of the strontium clock. This [difference] will eventually allow us to measure time variation of the fundamental constant, if there is any at all.

For a different example, physicists who study particles called neutrinos sometimes need to beam these particles from a source to a detector hundreds of kilometres away, through the atmosphere (these particles are entirely harmless). In 2011, physicists in Italy found that some neutrinos that had been beamed from a facility near Geneva and detected at their instrument, called OPERA, had travelled faster than light. The claim became a major source of controversy because faster-than-light travel violates the special theory of relativity.

The problem was found a few months later: the OPERA master clock had glitched, and measured the neutrinos time of arrival wrong by just 75 nanoseconds.

Other applications of atomic clocks include GPS systems, gravity-aided navigation, astronomy and geology.

Also read: Listen | Tick-tock, Tick-tock, Say Hello To the Doomsday Clock

More immediate concerns

The clocks also bring deeper opportunities for Indias scientists and engineers.

In 2017, the Department of Science and Technology had mooted its Quantum-Enabled Science & Technology programme. Its aim, the principal scientific adviser had told The Print in 2019, was to ramp up research and development activities related to quantum computing. In the 2020 Union budget, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced the Centre would invest Rs 8,000 crore in the next five years under a new national mission for quantum technologies.

So as such, there are both interest and funds available at the moment to develop concepts and technologies to address a variety of applications. At present, we are using conventional technologies in our daily life for commercial and navigational purposes, De said. The world is moving towards the quantum computers, quantum communication systems and quantum internet.

In this regard, we can import the clock, but [operating it] will need highly skilled professionals. On the other hand, being able to build optical atomic clocks could help us become self-sustained and develop skilled human resources in the process, De noted.

And of course, theres the pride. A few years ago, a team at the National Physical Laboratory of India, New Delhi, led by Poonam Arora built Indias first atomic clock with caesium atoms (the authors of the 2014 paper quoted earlier). This clock is Indias current frequency standard the machine that defines how time is measured in the country. The researchers acknowledge in their paper that they expect optical frequency standards will replace the [caesium fountain clock] as primary frequency standards in the next few years.

De, Rapol and their colleagues and students at IUCAA and IISER are now attempting to bring India to this next threshold.

Japan is the only country in the Asia-Pacific to have built [optical atomic clocks], and China is working hard among other nations like Australia, Taiwan, Thailand, South Korea, Singapore and Russia, according to De.

Himanshu N. is a freelance journalist. Vasudevan Mukunth is editor, The Wire Science.

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September 2nd, 2020 at 1:57 am

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Vitalik Buterin highlights major threats to Bitcoin BTC and Ethereum ETH – Digital Market News

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Bitcoin BTC, Ethereum ETH, and the rest of the crypto-market is off to a good start. But the major concern is, what might prevent Bitcoin and Ethereum from surging. Well, the Co-Founder of Ethereum, Vitalik Buterin holds the answer to that question.

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Recently, Buterin was on What Bitcoin Did podcast, where he weighed in some threats to Bitcoin and the rest of the market, may encounter soon. Buterin seemed quite curious while speaking about quantum computing.

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Buterin said:

So the thing that I tend to worry about I mean one is that theres always this kind of black swan risk of technical failure. What if the NSA comes out with a quantum computer out of the blue and just steals a bunch of coins before you can do anything about it?

[Theres also] political failure. So what if governments banned Bitcoin, commandeered the mining pools, and use that to do what I call a 51% spawn camping attack attacking the chain over and over again until it becomes non-viable? And meanwhile, the prices are low because the things banned and theres a crisis of confidence?

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Especially for Bitcoin, he was concerned about the fact that whether Bitcoin will keep attracting investors interest in the long run.

Buterin added:

Bitcoin doesnt have what I call functionality escape velocity. So basically, sufficient functionality to serve as a trustless base layer for a lot of different applications. As a result of this, theres a possibility that over time people will find Bitcoin less and less interesting and other platforms more interesting.

He further addressed the notions about BTC/USD and ETH/USD becoming the norm and being used as the new form of money. Although Bitcoin and Ethereum have outplayed the bashing community and proved its importance, it depends on ones definition of what makes a currency.

Buterin further added:

The word money does combine a lot of different concepts. For example, people talk about the unit of account, a medium of exchange, store of value. For the unit of account, ETH is not that and BTC is not that either. For the medium of exchange, Bitcoin is used like that, and ETH is used as that sometimes ETH has a store of value. That is something that people use ETH for.

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Vitalik Buterin highlights major threats to Bitcoin BTC and Ethereum ETH - Digital Market News

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September 2nd, 2020 at 1:57 am

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What Is Quantum Supremacy And Quantum Computing? (And How Excited Should We Be?) – Forbes

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In 2019, Google announced with much fanfare that it had achieved quantum supremacy the point at which a quantum computer can perform a task that would be impossible for a conventional computer (or would take so long it would be entirely impractical for a conventional computer).

What Is Quantum Supremacy And Quantum Computing? (And How Excited Should We Be?)

To achieve quantum supremacy, Googles quantum computer completed a calculation in 200 seconds that Google claimed would have taken even the most powerful supercomputer 10,000 years to complete. IBM loudly protested this claim, stating that Google had massively underestimated the capacity of its supercomputers (hardly surprising since IBM also has skin in the quantum computing game). Nonetheless, Googles announcement was hailed as a significant milestone in the quantum computing journey.

But what exactly is quantum computing?

Not sure what quantum computing is? Dont worry, youre not alone. In very simple terms, quantum computers are unimaginably fast computers capable of solving seemingly unsolvable problems. If you think your smartphone makes computers from the 1980s seem painfully old fashioned, quantum computers will make our current state-of-the-art technology look like something out of the Stone Age. Thats how big a leap quantum computing represents.

Traditional computers are, at their heart, very fast versions of the simplest electronic calculators. They are only capable of processing one bit of information at a time, in the form of a binary 1 or 0. Each bit is like an on/off switch with 0 meaning "off" and 1 meaning "on." Every task you complete on a traditional computer, no matter how complex, is ultimately using millions of bits, each one representing either a 0 or a 1.

But quantum computers dont rely on bits; they use qubits. And qubits, thanks to the marvels of quantum mechanics, arent limited to being either on or off. They could be both at the same time, or exist somewhere in between. Thats because quantum computing harnesses the peculiar phenomena that take place at a sub-atomic level in particular, the ability of quantum particles to exist in multiple states at the same time (known as superposition).

This allows quantum computers to look at many different variables at the same time, which means they can crunch through more scenarios in a much shorter space of time than even the fastest computers available today.

What does this mean for our everyday lives?

Reaching quantum supremacy is clearly an important milestone, yet were still a long way from commercially available quantum computers hitting the market. Right now, current quantum computing work is limited to labs and major tech players like Google, IBM, and Microsoft.

Most technology experts, myself included, would admit we dont yet fully understand how quantum computing will transform our world we just know that it will. Its like trying to imagine how the internet or social media would transform our world before they were introduced.

Here are just some of the ways in which quantum computers could be put to good use:

Strengthening cyber security. Quantum computers could change the landscape of data security by creating virtually unbreakable encryption.

Accelerating artificial intelligence. Quantum computing could provide a massive boost to AI, since these superfast computers will prove far more effective at recognizing patterns in data.

Modeling traffic flows to improve our cities. Modeling traffic is an enormously complex process with a huge number of variables, but researchers at Volkswagen have been running quantum pilot programs to model and optimize the flow of traffic through city centers in Beijing, Barcelona, and Lisbon.

Making the weather forecast more accurate. Just about anything that involves complex modeling could be made more efficient with quantum computing. The UKs Met Office has said that it believes quantum computers offer the potential for carrying out far more advanced modeling than is currently possible today, and it is one of the avenues being explored for building next-generation forecasting systems.

Developing new medicines. Biotech startup ProteinQure has been exploring the potential of quantum computing in modeling protein, a key route in drug development. In other words, quantum computing could lead to the discovery of effective new drugs for some of the worlds biggest killers, including cancer and heart disease.

Most experts agree that truly useful quantum computing is not likely to be a feature of everyday life for some time. And even when quantum computers are commercially available, we as individuals will hardly be lining up to buy one. For most of the tasks we carry out on computers and smartphones, a traditional binary computer or smartphone will be all we need. But at an industry and society level, quantum computing could bring many exciting opportunities in the future.

Quantum computing is just one of 25 technology trends that I believe will transform our society. Read more about these key trends including plenty of real-world examples in my new book, Tech Trends in Practice: The 25 Technologies That Are Driving The 4th Industrial Revolution.

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What Is Quantum Supremacy And Quantum Computing? (And How Excited Should We Be?) - Forbes

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August 23rd, 2020 at 10:57 pm

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Has the world’s most powerful computer arrived? – The National

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The quest to build the ultimate computer has taken a big step forward following breakthroughs in ensuring its answers can be trusted.

Known as a quantum computer, such a machine exploits bizarre effects in the sub-atomic world to perform calculations beyond the reach of conventional computers.

First proposed almost 40 years ago, tech giants Microsoft, Google and IBM are among those racing to exploit the power of quantum computing, which is expected to transform fields ranging from weather forecasting and drug design to artificial intelligence.

The power of quantum computers comes from their use of so-called qubits, the quantum equivalent of the 1s and 0s bits used by conventional number-crunchers.

Unlike bits, qubits exploit a quantum effect allowing them to be both 1s and 0s at the same time. The impact on processing power is astonishing. Instead of processing, say, 100 bits in one go, a quantum computer could crunch 100 qubits, equivalent to 2 to the power 100, or a million trillion trillion bits.

At least, that is the theory. The problem is that the property of qubits that gives them their abilities known as quantum superposition is very unstable.

Once created, even the slightest vibration, temperature shift or electromagnetic signal can disturb the qubits, causing errors in calculations. Unless the superposition can be maintained long enough, the quantum computer either does a few calculations well or a vast amount badly.

For years, the biggest achievement of any quantum computer involved using a few qubits to find the prime factors of 15 (which every schoolchild knows are 3 and 5).

Using complex shielding methods, researchers can now stabilise around 50 qubits long enough to perform impressive calculations.

Last October, Google claimed to have built a quantum computer that solved in 200 seconds a maths problem that would have taken an ultra-fast conventional computer more than 10,000 years.

Yet even this billion-fold speed-up is just a shadow of what would be possible if qubits could be kept stable for longer. At present, many of the qubits have their powers wasted being used to spot and fix errors.

Now two teams of researchers have independently found new ways of tackling the error problem.

Physicists at the University of Chicago have found a way of keeping qubits stable for longer not by blocking disturbances, but by blurring them.

It is like sitting on a merry-go-round with people yelling all around you

Dr Kevin Miao, computing expert

In some quantum computers, the qubits take the form of electrons whose direction of spin is a superposition of both up and down. By adding a constantly flipping magnetic field, the team found that the electrons rotated so quickly that they barely noticed outside disturbances. The researchers explain the trick with an analogy: It's like sitting on a merry-go-round with people yelling all around you, says team member Dr Kevin Miao. When the ride is still, you can hear them perfectly, but if you're rapidly spinning, the noise blurs into a background.

Describing their work in the journal Science, the team reported keeping the qubits working for about 1/50th of a second - around 10,000 times longer than their lifetime if left unshielded. According to the team, the technique is simple to use but effective against all the standard sources of disturbance. Meanwhile, researchers at the University of Sydney have come up with an algorithm that allows a quantum computer to work out how its qubits are being affected by disturbances and fix the resulting errors. Reporting their discovery in Nature Physics, the team says their method is ready for use with current quantum computers, and could work with up to 100 qubits.

These breakthroughs come at a key moment for quantum computing. Even without them, the technology is already spreading beyond research laboratories.

In June, the title of worlds most powerful quantum computer was claimed not by a tech giant but by Honeywell a company perhaps best known for central heating thermostats.

Needless to say, the claim is contested by some, not least because the machine is reported to have only six qubits. But Honeywell points out that it has focused its research on making those qubits ultra-stable which allows them to work reliably for far longer than rival systems. Numbers of qubits alone, in other words, are not everything.

And the company insists this is just the start. It plans to boost the performance of its quantum computer ten-fold each year for the next five years, making it 100,000 times more powerful still.

But apart from bragging rights, why is a company like Honeywell trying to take on the tech giants in the race for the ultimate computer ?

A key clue can be found in remarks made by Honeywell insiders to Forbes magazine earlier this month. These reveal that the company wants to use quantum computers to discover new kinds of materials.

Doing this involves working out how different molecules interact together to form materials with the right properties. Thats something conventional computers are already used for. But quantum computers wont just bring extra number-crunching power to bear. Crucially, like molecules themselves, their behaviour reflects the bizarre laws of quantum theory. And this makes them ideal for creating accurate simulations of quantum phenomena like the creation of new materials.

This often-overlooked feature of quantum computers was, in fact, the original motivation of the brilliant American physicist Richard Feynman, who first proposed their development in 1981.

Honeywell already has plans to use quantum computers to identify better refrigerants. These compounds were once notorious for attacking the Earths ozone layer, but replacements still have unwanted environmental effects. Being relatively simple chemicals, the search for better refrigerants is already within the reach of current quantum computers.

But Honeywell sees a time when far more complex molecules such as drugs will also be discovered using the technology.

For the time being, no quantum computer can match the all-round number-crunching power of standard computers. Just as Honeywell made its claim, the Japanese computer maker Fujitsu unveiled a supercomputer capable of over 500 million billion calculations a second.

Even so, the quantum computer is now a reality and before long it will make even the fastest supercomputer seem like an abacus.

Robert Matthews is Visiting Professor of Science at Aston University, Birmingham, UK

Updated: August 21, 2020 12:06 PM

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Has the world's most powerful computer arrived? - The National

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August 23rd, 2020 at 10:57 pm

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Will Quantum Computers Really Destroy Bitcoin? A Look at the Future of Crypto, According to Quantum Physicist Anastasia Marchenkova – The Daily Hodl

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A quantum physicist is laying out the real-world impact of quantum computers on cryptography and cryptocurrency.

In a YouTube video, quantum physicist Anastasia Marchenkova shares her two cents about the race to break encryption technology with quantum computers.

Shors [quantum] algorithm can break RSA and elliptic curve cryptography, which is a problem because a lot of our data these days is encrypted with those two algorithms. Quantum computers are not faster at everything. Theyre just faster at certain problems and it just happens that this RSA and elliptic curve encryptions fall under that umbrella.

But there are other encryption algorithms that are not affected by quantum computers and we have to discover them and then actually implement them and put them into action before a large enough quantum computer actually emerges. [Breaking cryptography] requires a huge amount of qubits, something like 10 million qubits estimated. But it was one of the first discoveries of what practical application that quantum computers can actually do.

[Quantum computing] harnesses quantum properties to actually factor numbers a lot faster, and thats the whole core of the security behind RSA encryption. The consequences of this is that our data is not going to be secure anymore if we get a big enough quantum computer. So were going to have to do something about it.

Quantum computing has recently grabbed headlines as it poses a serious threat to cryptographic algorithms which keeps cryptocurrencies and the internet secure. Quantum computers have the capability to crack complex mathematical problems as qubits or quantum bits can maintain a superimposition by being in two states at a given time.

Meanwhile, Marchenkova doesnt think crypto holders must find a way to move their Bitcoin to a quantum secure wallet immediately. But she does believe anyone holding crypto should be concerned and keep tabs on the latest developments because blockchains will one day need to be upgraded to protect against the rise of quantum computing.

Yes, you should worry. But not anytime soon. You dont need to move your Bitcoin today to some other quantum secure wallet But in general, how do we upgrade the blockchain?

We can fork it and moving forward everything will be fine assuming we find a good quantum secure algorithm. But what are we going to do with all the old coins or the coins that have all private their keys lost? Are we just going to say Sorry, bye, this part of the chain will no longer be valid unless you move it or re-encrypt it. Or are we going to find new technology?

I

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Will Quantum Computers Really Destroy Bitcoin? A Look at the Future of Crypto, According to Quantum Physicist Anastasia Marchenkova - The Daily Hodl

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