Physicists Just Invented an Essential Component Needed For Quantum Computers

In 2016, the Nobel Prize in Physics went to three British scientists for their work on superconductors and superfluids, which included the explanation of a rather odd phase of matter.

Now, for the first time, their discovery has a practical application – shrinking an electrical component to a size that will help quantum computers reach a scale that just might make them useful.

 “Such compact circulators could be implemented in a variety of quantum hardware platforms, irrespective of the particular quantum system used,” says the study’s lead author, Alice Mahoney.
Read more at Science Alert

What’s a Qubit?

Most people don’t want to be the uncool one to raise their hand and ask a question, but in many cases we really should. These occasional “Raise Your Hand and Ask” posts highlight cool “buzzwords” you may have heard. My aim isn’t just to explain what they mean (that you can look up), but also why they matter.

You may have heard of quantum computing, and the related term qubit, but what is a qubit?

Wikipedia describes a qubit as the quantum analogue of the classical bit (can store a 0 or a 1).  In other words, normal computers have bits, and quantum computers have qubits (can be a 0 or a 1 or both at the same time per quantum mechanics!)


Quantum Computers Pose Threat To Bitcoin

With so many developments and advances in the tech industry over the years, a lot of them can seem interconnected. In the case of quantum computers and the cryptocurrency market, this is apparently the case, but not all in the ways that are good. In fact, computers that could be thousands of times more powerful than current ones could pose a significant danger to bitcoin and the Blockchain network.

This development is courtesy of a paper published by researchers from the National University of Singapore. According to the study, a sufficiently powerful quantum computer could make minced meat of the cryptographic protocols employed by bitcoin and all financial institutions built in the Blockchain network.

“The key cryptographic protocols used to secure the internet and financial transactions of today are all susceptible to attack by the development of a sufficiently large quantum computer. One particular area at risk are cryptocurrencies, a market currently worth over 150 billion USD. We investigate the risk of Bitcoin, and other cryptocurrencies, to attacks by quantum computers. We find that the proof-of-work used by Bitcoin is relatively resistant to substantial speedup by quantum computers in the next 10 years, mainly because specialized ASIC miners are extremely fast compared to the estimated clock speed of near-term quantum computers,” the paper reads.


Quantum Encryption Closer

High-speed quantum encryption may help secure the future Internet, according to new research. Here the same strange properties that drive quantum computers could be use to create hack-proof forms of data encryption.

Commenting on the research to date, lead investigator Professor Daniel Gauthier has said: “We are now likely to have a functioning quantum computer that might be able to start breaking the existing cryptographic codes in the near future. We really need to be thinking hard now of different techniques that we could use for trying to secure the Internet.”

Read more: at

Russians Lead the Quantum Computer Race With 51-Qubit Machine

This article originally appeared in Edgy Labs blog.

An international research team successfully created and tested a record-breaking quantum supercomputer. Running on 51 qubits, the new machine surpasses the theoretical threshold of quantum supremacy.

Like “Schrödinger’s cat”, qubits, or quantum bits, are undecided and can be in two positions simultaneously. In other words, if traditional computers have “bits” that can take the value of 1 or 0 at a time, “qubits” can be either at the same time.

Hence the edge quantum computing has over classical computing in solving very complex calculations much faster.

The Quantum Supremacy Threshold

Qubits allow the development of new computational algorithms, which are much more productive than silicon-based iterations.

The more qubits a quantum computer uses, the more processing power it has.

But most advanced quantum computational systems available today are still far behind supercomputers in terms of their practical applications–although the situation is changing very fast indeed.

There’s a theoretical threshold after which quantum computers would surpass most powerful classical supercomputers. Scientists believe it should happen somewhere around 50 qubits.

Currently, the most advanced quantum chips are below 20 qubits, such as the IBM Q that uses 17 qubits.

Google also is no stranger to the quantum race, as it’s working on a 49-qubit 14-meter machine using superconducting circuits.

51 “Cold Atoms” to Make the World’s Most Advanced Quantum Computer

Google’s 49 qubit computer was supposed to be the highlight of the ICQT 2017 (The International Conference on Quantum Technologies, held July 12th–16th in Moscow).

Designed by John Martinis, a professor at University of California at Santa Barbara, Google’s computer will use a chip embedded with 49 qubits (0.6 cm by 0.6 cm).

But as groundbreaking Google’s machine might be, it was another machine that stole the show.

During the same day of the ICQT 2017 that Martinis was supposed to give a lecture about his quantum device, Mikhail Lukin, the co-founder of RQC, made his own announcement.

Mikhail’s team, including Russian and American scientists, have built the world’s most powerful functional quantum computing system, running on 51 qubits.

The new quantum system uses an array of 51 “cold atoms” in lieu of qubits. Locked up on “laser cells”, these atoms should be kept at extremely low temperatures.

“… we observe a novel type of robust many-body dynamics corresponding to persistent oscillations of crystalline order after a sudden quantum quench,” said researchers in a paper available at “These observations enable new approaches for exploring many-body phenomena and open the door for realizations of novel quantum algorithms.”

The model was successfully tested in the labs of Harvard University, solving physics problems that silicon chip-based supercomputers would have a hard time replicating.