(SciTechDaily) Scientists and engineers at the University of Sydney and Microsoft Corporation have invented a single chip that can generate control signals for thousands of qubits, the building blocks of quantum computers.
“To realize the potential of quantum computing, machines will need to operate thousands if not millions of qubits,” said Professor David Reilly, a designer of the chip who holds a joint position with Microsoft and the University of Sydney.
“The world’s biggest quantum computers currently operate with just 50 or so qubits,” he said. “This small scale is partly because of limits to the physical architecture that control the qubits.”
“Our new chip puts an end to those limits.”
The results were published in Nature Electronics.
“Current machines create a beautiful array of wires to control the signals; they look like an inverted gilded birds’ nest or chandelier. They’re pretty, but fundamentally impractical. It means we can’t scale the machines up to perform useful calculations. There is a real input-output bottleneck,” said Professor Reilly, also a Chief Investigator at the ARC Centre for Engineered Quantum Systems (EQUS).
Microsoft Senior Hardware Engineer, Dr. Kushal Das, a joint inventor of the chip, said: “Our device does away with all those cables. With just two wires carrying information as input, it can generate control signals for thousands of qubits.
“This changes everything for quantum computing.”
The control chip was developed at the Microsoft Quantum Laboratories at the University of Sydney, a unique industry-academic partnership that is changing the way scientists tackle engineering challenges.
“Working out how to control these devices takes years of engineering development,” Professor Reilly said. “For this device, we started four years ago when the University of Sydney started its partnership with Microsoft, which represents the single biggest investment in quantum technology in Australia.