IBM advances quantum computing ball

Summary:Big Blue scientist Matthias Steffan said that quantum computing is moving from the experimental stage to the point where "it's time to start creating systems."

IBM on Tuesday will present three records for cutting errors while maintaining mechanical properties in quantum bits, which are the basic units that carry data in quantum computing.

Quantum computing refers to designing computers based on quantum mechanics, the science of atomic structure and function. Quantum bits can hold an infinite number of values.

The findings will be presented at the Annual Physical Society meeting this week in Boston.

Quantum bits (qubits) (see gallery) can potentially work on millions of computations at once relative to a desktop PC, which can only do a few things at once.

Big Blue scientist Matthias Steffan said that quantum computing is moving from the experimental stage to the point where "it's time to start creating systems."

IBM's key items include:

  • An experiment with a 3D superconducting qubit. The approach was started at Yale, but an IBM team used the 3D qubit to extend the time of a quantum state to 100 microseconds. That threshold is just beyond the minimum needed to correct errors. These error corrections indicate quantum computing could scale.
  • IBM also demonstrated a two-dimensional qubit device.
  • IN addition, IBM conducted a two-qubit logic operation, which is a building block for a larger system. IBM had a 95 percent success rate.

The goal for IBM is to create a practical quantum computer.

Among the key images:

Here's a 3D supercomputing qubit device. A qubit (about 1mm in length) is suspended in the center of the cavity on a small Sapphire chip.

Here's the side view of the 3D qubit device.

IBM's 2D qubit. A picture of the Silicon chip housing a total of three qubits. The chip is back-mounted on a PC board and connects to I/O coaxial lines via wire bonds (scale: 8mm x 4mm). A larger assembly of such qubits and resonators are envisioned to be used for a scalable architecture.

A wider view of the Silicon chip housing a total of three qubits. The chip is back-mounted on a PC board and connects to I/O coaxial lines via wire bonds (scale: 8mm x 4mm). A larger assembly of such qubits and resonators are envisioned to be used for a scalable architecture.

A magnified qubit.

A dilution refrigerator. IBM needs the dilution refrigerator to get down to 15 to 20 millikelvin in order to keep the quantum states very pure and to get them into their ground states before any experiments are done. IBM keeps the qubits this cold to cut down on "thermal noise."

Topics: Enterprise Software, Hardware, IBM, Legal, Networking, Processors

About

Larry Dignan is Editor in Chief of ZDNet and SmartPlanet as well as Editorial Director of ZDNet's sister site TechRepublic. He was most recently Executive Editor of News and Blogs at ZDNet. Prior to that he was executive news editor at eWeek and news editor at Baseline. He also served as the East Coast news editor and finance editor at CN... Full Bio

zdnet_core.socialButton.googleLabel Contact Disclosure

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Related Stories

The best of ZDNet, delivered

You have been successfully signed up. To sign up for more newsletters or to manage your account, visit the Newsletter Subscription Center.
Subscription failed.