Harnessing the unique features of the quantum world promises a dramatic speed-up in information processing as compared to the fastest classical machines.
Scientists from the Group of Philip Walther from the Faculty of Physics, University of Vienna succeeded in prototyping a new and highly resource efficient model of a quantum computer – the boson sampling computer. The results will be published in the upcoming issue of the renowned scientific journal “Nature Photonics”.
Quantum computers work by manipulating quantum objects as, for example, individual photons, electrons or atoms and by harnessing the unique quantum features. Not only do quantum computers promise a dramatic increase in speed over classical computers in a variety of computational tasks; they are designed to complete tasks that even a supercomputer would not be able to handle. Although, in recent years, there has been a rapid development in quantum technology the realization of a full-sized quantum computer is still very challenging. While it is still an exciting open question which architecture and quantum objects will finally lead to the outperformance of conventional supercomputers, current experiments show that some quantum objects are better suited than others for particular computational tasks.
The computational power of photons
The huge advantage of photons – a particular type of bosons – lies in their high mobility. The research team from the University of Vienna in collaboration with scientist from the University of Jena (Germany) has recently realized a so-called boson sampling computer that utilizes precisely this feature of photons. They inserted photons into a complex optical network where they could propagate along many different paths. “According to the laws of quantum physics, the photons seem to take all possible paths at the same time. This is known as superposition. Amazingly, one can record the outcome of the computation rather trivially: one measures how many photons exit in which output of the network,” explains Philip Walther from the Faculty of Physics.
How to beat a supercomputer
A classical computer relies on an exact description of the optical network to calculate the propagation of the photons through this circuit. For a few dozen photons and an optical network with merely a hundred inputs and outputs, even today’s fastest classical supercomputer is unable to calculate the propagation of the photons. However, for a boson sampling computer this ambitious task is within reach.
The Latest Streaming News: Photonic quantum computers updated minute-by-minute
Bookmark this page and come back often