Inside Quantum Technology

Google Brings Quantum Data Center, Chip Fabrication, Hardware Research In-House

(By Becky Bracken) Google has set its quantum computing marker — the company promises to build a 1 million qubit, room-sized, error- corrected quantum computer within the decade.
To get there, Google has opened a dedicated Quantum AI campus in Santa Barbara, CA, bringing together quantum data center operations, quantum hardware research labs, quantum processor chip fabrication facilities under the same roof to build an error-corrected quantum computer as a team.
Google made the announcement at its Google I/O programmer conference this week, where parent company Alphabet’s CEO Sundar Pichai said during the keynote, “We hope to one say create an error-corrected quantum computer.”
Google is far from alone in that pursuit, but its investment in a multi-disciplinary team and brining hardware manufacturing in-house could potentially supercharge its progress from its current quantum systems with dozens of qubits to its goal of 1 million.
Google Quantum AI Chief Engineer Erik Lucero outlined a few of the next steps which starts with work currently being done at the Google Quantum AI campus to prove the more qubits a system has working on error correction cuts down on the overall number of errors.
“This is a crucial step given how error-prone physical qubits are,” Lucero said. Next, the team will have to demonstrate they can encode one logical qubit, with 1,000 physical qubits, with error correction to create a stable, “forever” qubit.
“Again, we expect years of concerted development to achieve this goal,” Lucero added.
Then Google’s Quantum AI team will try to build a “quantum transistor” from two error-corrected “logical qubits” working together, “…and then figure out how to tile hundreds to thousands of them to form the error-corrected quantum computer. That will take years.”
And while progress will take time, Lucero explained the kind of revolutionary change quantum computing is likely to spark.
“As we look 10 years into the future, many of the greatest global challenges, from climate change to handling the next pandemic, demand a new kind of computing,” Lucero said. “These new computing capabilities will help to accelerate the discovery of better batteries, energy-efficient fertilizers, and targeted medicines, as well as improved optimization, new AI architectures, and more.”

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