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Scientists Tout Photonic Chip As Quantum Chip Breakthrough

By - Source: Eurekalert | B 18 comments

Researchers say they have developed the first quantum computer device that can create, manipulate and measure particle interaction on a small chip.

They hope that their quantum computer chip will help physicists in their efforts to better understand and characterize quantum circuits.

According to Jeremy O'Brien, Director of the Centre for Quantum Photonics, the chip is just 70 mm by 3 mm in size and performs multiple experiments that "would each ordinarily be carried out on an optical bench the size of a large dining table." The device integrates a network of channels that route and manipulate light particles. There are eight configurable electrodes that enable the circuit to affect photon pairs and produce "any possible entangled state of two photons or any mixed state of one photon," the researchers claim.

"In order to build a quantum computer, we not only need to be able to control complex phenomena such as entanglement and mixture, but we need to be able to do this on a chip, so that we can scalably and practically duplicate many such miniature circuits—in much the same way as the modern computers we have today," said O'Brien. "Our device enables this and we believe it is a major step forward towards optical quantum computing."

The scientist have invested six years of development in their chip so far and now intend to scale its complexity.

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  • 10 Hide
    willwayne , December 14, 2011 1:14 PM
    I can't wait to purchase a computer that works and doesn't work
Other Comments
  • 6 Hide
    RealityClash , December 14, 2011 7:36 AM
    Can't wait for the day when quantum computers become available to the public...
  • 3 Hide
    Anonymous , December 14, 2011 7:57 AM
    And you bow to your new overlords.
  • -8 Hide
    alyoshka , December 14, 2011 8:03 AM
    I may have got it wrong, but, isn't this going the other way round? I don't think we'd have had Microchips if it wasn't for quantum computing.
  • 9 Hide
    memadmax , December 14, 2011 8:16 AM
    Sweet, when does skynet come online?
  • -1 Hide
    freggo , December 14, 2011 12:02 PM
    70mm by 3mm. Does not sound like a 'chip' to me; more like a "quantum stick" :-)
    Could it be that someone got the measurement conversions fudged up ?
  • 4 Hide
    jellico , December 14, 2011 12:25 PM
    RealityClashCan't wait for the day when quantum computers become available to the public...

    If and when they do crack the quantum computing nut, it will be a great day for computer technology and a black day for privacy and security as it would render all currently known and utilized forms of cryptography obsolete.
  • 3 Hide
    southernshark , December 14, 2011 12:34 PM
    freggo70mm by 3mm. Does not sound like a 'chip' to me; more like a "quantum stick" :-)Could it be that someone got the measurement conversions fudged up ?



    Its first gen technology.
  • 3 Hide
    hoofhearted , December 14, 2011 12:45 PM
    Meanwhile in other news, scientists make use of Shor's algorithm to bankrupt the world
  • 2 Hide
    T-Bone , December 14, 2011 1:13 PM
    jellicoIf and when they do crack the quantum computing nut, it will be a great day for computer technology and a black day for privacy and security as it would render all currently known and utilized forms of cryptography obsolete.


    Not necessarily. (1) Most likely, important data (banking, national security, etc.) will have quantum computing way before people do. (2) Most likely, important data (banking, national security, etc.) will have quantum encryption way before people have quantum computing. From what I hear, it's already the case! (3) If the current encryption has a sufficient number of bits, then first available quantum computers might not be powerful enough to crack the encryption in a reasonable amount of time.
  • 10 Hide
    willwayne , December 14, 2011 1:14 PM
    I can't wait to purchase a computer that works and doesn't work
  • 7 Hide
    jbo5112 , December 14, 2011 4:10 PM
    jellicoIf and when they do crack the quantum computing nut, it will be a great day for computer technology and a black day for privacy and security as it would render all currently known and utilized forms of cryptography obsolete.

    Public key cyphers (e.g. RSA, Diffie-Hellman, Elliptic Curve) are screwed if this makes it to functionality and scale. The security is based on the impossibility of factoring multiples of large primes, but with quantum computers the feat is the same order of complexity of using the key for a single encryption.

    Symmetric cyphers (e.g. AES, BlowFish) don't allow for a publicly known key and are much more secure. Quantum computing only reduces the complexity by an equivalent of halving the key length. Simple brute forcing AES-128 is currently computationally infeasible. If we developed 1 watt, 3 GHz cpu cores, 2^128 cpu core cycles would still take more energy than required to boil off the oceans, plus any electricity used by the rest of the computer. AES was designed to support 256 bit keys so that a quantum computing attack would still have the same complexity as a traditional attack on AES-128. As long as the keys can be properly handled the data is still safe.

    Unfortunately, secret keys for symmetric cyphers are often exchanged using some sort of public key encryption. A quantum attack would make this insecure. Pre-shared keys (e.g. copied by thumb drive to both computers) don't have to worry about public exchange, but because of their generally longer use, are more vulnerable to side-channel attacks, which are actually feasible. While this doesn't affect being able to securely store a secured bank file on your computer, it makes it difficult to do online banking or shopping or anything on an accessible network without a changing list of pre-shared keys.

    Public key exchange doesn't really have a good solution at this point anyway. It's often a matter of "secure enough," so we can just add this to a list of impending security problems. In the end, it's still easier for a waiter to steal your credit card number than for someone over unencrypted Internet transmissions. Just think how often you let a stranger with a pocket camera run off with your credit card at a restaurant (e.g. the waiter with a cell phone).
  • -1 Hide
    jeraldjunkmail , December 14, 2011 6:06 PM
    No post on how much closer we are to actually having these in our homes? This is amazing news, and with gallium arsenide backplanes to serve as Motherboards, this makes optical computing a reality not within decades but within years. Silicon is reaching the end of its development, so the timing of this is fortuitous. One step closer to energy ascension baby!
  • -3 Hide
    quangluu96 , December 14, 2011 7:23 PM
    I'm not surprise quad core is passing dual cores, games become better and better, so more cpu power is needed, nowadays dual core can only run a few games smoothly. Dual cores is gonna be for surfing the internet in a few years and every games will require a minimum of quad core to run. I can't wait to see a game that actually use 6 cores :D 
  • -2 Hide
    quangluu96 , December 14, 2011 7:24 PM
    OOPS wrong post, i was going to say this in the other post..
  • 0 Hide
    lpedraja2002 , December 15, 2011 7:21 AM
    Wow didn't understand anything from that article, I take it this is suppose to be good news?
  • 0 Hide
    eddieroolz , December 15, 2011 9:20 AM
    The subtitle already twisted my mind beyond comprehension.
  • 0 Hide
    jesh4622 , December 15, 2011 10:55 PM
    Try skimming this first.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , December 16, 2011 6:46 PM
    Very cool. It seems that science fiction has once again preceeded reality. In Dusk's Whisper (2008 or 2009) a quantum chip was implanted in a woman's head. Now all we have to do is bridge the gap between dimensions.