The Holy Grail of Quantum Computing Is Lastly Right here. Or Is It?


Andersen and Lensky of Google disagree. They don’t assume the experiment demonstrates a topological qubit, as a result of the article can not reliably manipulate info to realize sensible quantum computing. “It’s repeatedly said explicitly within the manuscript that error correction should be included to realize topological safety and that this is able to should be achieved in future work,” they write to WIRED.

When WIRED spoke with Tony Uttley, the president and COO of Quantinuum, after the corporate’s personal announcement in Could, he was steadfast. “We created a topological qubit,” he mentioned. (Uttley mentioned final month that he was leaving the corporate.) The corporate’s experiments made non-Abelian anyons out of 27 ions of the steel ytterbium, suspended in electromagnetic fields. The staff manipulated the ions to kind non-Abelian anyons in a racetrack-shaped entice, and just like the Google experiment, they demonstrated that the anyons may “bear in mind” how they’d moved. Quantinuum revealed its ends in a preprint research on arXiv with out peer assessment two days earlier than Nature revealed Kim’s paper.

Room for Enchancment

In the end, nobody agrees whether or not the 2 demonstrations have created topological qubits as a result of they haven’t agreed on what a topological qubit is—even when there’s widespread settlement that such a factor is extremely fascinating. Consequently, Google and Quantinuum can carry out related experiments with related outcomes however find yourself with two very totally different tales to inform.

Regardless, Frolov on the College of Pittsburgh says that neither demonstration seems to have introduced the sector nearer to the true technological function of a topological qubit. Whereas Google and Quantinuum seem to have created and manipulated non-Abelian anyons, the underlying techniques and supplies used had been too fragile for sensible use.

David Pekker, one other physicist at Pittsburgh, who beforehand used an IBM quantum laptop to simulate the manipulation of non-Abelian anyons, says that the Google and Quantinuum initiatives don’t showcase any quantum benefit in computational energy. The experiments don’t shift the sector of quantum computing from the place it has been for some time: Engaged on techniques which can be too small-scale to but compete with present computer systems. “My iPhone can simulate 27 qubits with increased constancy than the Google machine can do with precise qubits,” Pekker says.

Nonetheless, technological breakthroughs generally develop from incremental progress. Delivering a sensible topological qubit would require every kind of research—giant and small—of non-Abelian anyons and the maths underpinning their quirky habits. Alongside the way in which, the quantum computing business’s curiosity helps additional some basic questions in physics.


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