Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Photonic quantum computers: A brighter future than ever

Date:
May 13, 2013
Source:
University of Vienna
Summary:
Harnessing the unique features of the quantum world promises a dramatic speed-up in information processing as compared to the fastest classical machines. Scientists have succeeded in prototyping a new and highly resource efficient model of a quantum computer -- the boson sampling computer.

Picture of the optical network – the central part of the Vienna boson sampling computer. According to the laws of quantum physics, the photons seem to take different paths simultaneously as shown in the image.
Credit: Copyright Philip Walther Group, University of Vienna

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 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 researchers met the challenge and built their prototype based on a theoretical proposal by scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (USA). "It is crucial to verify the operation of a boson-sampling computer by comparing its outcome with the predictions of quantum physics. Ironically, this test can only be performed on a classical computer. Fortunately, for small enough systems classical computers are still able to accomplish this," as Max Tillmann, first author of the publication, points out. Thus, the researchers successfully showed that their realization of the boson-sampling computer works with high precision. These encouraging results may lead the way to the first outperformance of classical computers in the not-so-far future.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Vienna. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Max Tillmann, Borivoje Dakić, Renι Heilmann, Stefan Nolte, Alexander Szameit, Philip Walther. Experimental boson sampling. Nature Photonics, 2013; DOI: 10.1038/NPHOTON.2013.102

Cite This Page:

University of Vienna. "Photonic quantum computers: A brighter future than ever." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 May 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130513103803.htm>.
University of Vienna. (2013, May 13). Photonic quantum computers: A brighter future than ever. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 15, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130513103803.htm
University of Vienna. "Photonic quantum computers: A brighter future than ever." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130513103803.htm (accessed September 15, 2014).

Share This



More Computers & Math News

Monday, September 15, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Microsoft to Buy 'Minecraft' Maker for $2.5B

Microsoft to Buy 'Minecraft' Maker for $2.5B

AP (Sep. 15, 2014) — Microsoft will acquire the maker of the long-running hit game Minecraft for $2.5 billion as the company continues to invest in its Xbox gaming platform and looks to grab attention on mobile phones. (Sept. 15) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Manufacturer Prints 3-D Car In Record Time

Manufacturer Prints 3-D Car In Record Time

Newsy (Sep. 15, 2014) — Automobile manufacturer Local Motors created a drivable electric car using a 3-D printer. Printing the body only took 44 hours. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
What $2.5B Deal Could Mean For Microsoft, 'Minecraft'

What $2.5B Deal Could Mean For Microsoft, 'Minecraft'

Newsy (Sep. 15, 2014) — While Microsoft looks to be expanding its mobile business, the creators of "Minecraft" are stepping aside. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Frustration As Drone Industry Outpaces Regulation In U.S.

Frustration As Drone Industry Outpaces Regulation In U.S.

Newsy (Sep. 14, 2014) — U.S. firms worry they’re falling behind in the marketplace as the FAA considers how to regulate commercial drones. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins