What is Qubitekk building?
Qubitekk is building a photonic, gate-based, universal quantum computer that will be orders of magnitude faster than today’s fastest supercomputer. Qubitekk’s quantum computer uses polarized photons as the computer’s basic quantum bit – or qubit. A special proprietary preparation of these photons allows Qubitekk to overcome previous technical hurdles associated with photonic quantum computing (specifically, the implementation of 2-qubit gates).
In late 2016, Qubitekk will release a scientific paper describing the company’s new approach to photonic qubits, along with the latest testing results demonstrating the performance of a universal set of photonic quantum gates.
First Commercial Entanglement Source for Quantum Computing Technology:
How does a quantum computer work?
To understand a quantum computer, we first need to understand a classical computer. Classical computers utilize bits that can have a value of either 0 or 1. By stringing bits together, larger numbers can be represented (similar to how humans combine the numbers 0 through 9 to represent bigger numbers, i.e. 907). In a classical computer, an 8-bit data string might be used to represent any number between 0 and 255. Simple binary gates then act on the individual bits to perform very simple operation (like flipping a bit’s value, i.e. turning a 0 into a 1, and vice versa). By combining many simple binary gates together, complex mathematical operations (such as multiplication, division, etc.) can be realized.
A gate-based quantum computer has a very similar architecture to a classical computer. There are quantum bits – or qubits – that are prepared and can represent the values 0 and 1. There are quantum gates that perform very simple operations on these qubits (such as flipping their value). By combining many quantum gates, complex operations can then be realized… such as factoring, sorting, and optimizing.
However, unlike a classical computer, a qubit can exist with a value of both 0 and 1 simultaneously. This is one of the unique and strange properties of quantum particles. By stringing qubits together (each with a simultaneous value of 0 and 1), many larger numbers can then be simultaneously represented. For example, an 8-qubit string will represent ALL the numbers between 0 and 255, SIMULTANEOUSLY. The quantum gates that then operate on the 8-qubit string will, likewise, be operating on all possible numbers between 0 and 255 simultaneously. In this way, a speedup of 256 times can be realized for certain problems. For larger bit strings, the speedup can be even greater making quantum computers potentially billions of times faster than classical computers.
Why do we need faster computers?
There are many problems that would take billions of years to solve on even our fastest classical supercomputers. Unfortunately, solving these problems is critical to major breakthroughs in medicine, chemistry, biology, and a host of other fields. For example, solving cancer and a range of other diseases associated with cell dysfunction requires that we understand how protein molecules fold into different shapes. This “protein folding” problem is unsolvable with today’s computers. However, this is exactly the kind of problem that a quantum computer would be able to solve quickly. This new computing capability is a critical tool in allowing researchers to fully understand and, ultimately, find a cure for diseases such as cancer.
Isn’t Google trying to build a quantum computer?
Yes, companies like Google and D-Wave have been trying for the last few years to build and demonstrate a quantum computer that is faster than a classical computer. However, their efforts are focused on using a very different type of qubit particle and computer architecture. With the Google and DWave approach, significant challenges exist in stabilizing and reliably manipulating the qubits. There is still significant disagreement within the scientific community regarding how, or even if, their hardware is actually utilizing quantum phenomena.
In contrast, Qubitekk is the only commercial company developing a quantum computer based on photons. Photons are one of the most well studied, easily observed, and highly stable qubit particles ever created. Critical phenomena like entanglement and teleportation are readily demonstrated and measured using photons. In fact, of the limited demonstrations of quantum processing reported by academia, nearly all of these demonstrations have used photonic qubits. Using a proprietary technique for creating and preparing photonic qubits, Qubitekk has overcome the final hurdles to realizing a universal set of photonic quantum gates.