Inside Quantum Technology

Nord Quantique claims single-qubit coherence increase without ‘brute force’

Work going on inside the Nord Quantique lab. Photo provided by Nord Quantique.

Work going on inside the Nord Quantique lab. (Photo credit: Nord Quantique)

Nord Quantique is the latest company to make an error correction claim that sounds like it could be a watershed moment for the future of quantum computers. Today, the Canadian start-up announced it demonstrated a method for increasing the coherence lifetime of a single qubit without requiring additional physical qubits.

Many companies and labs are working to improve quantum error correction, with many–although not all–approaches focusing on reliance on so-called “brute force” methods requiring redundancy of physical qubits–dozens or 100 or 1,000 or more, depending on who you talk to–just to create a just one to a handful of logical qubits.

Nord Quantique has a new research paper showcasing a hardware efficient approach that allowed it to achieve “an increase of 14% in the lifetime of a single qubit without using the ‘brute force’ redundancy of additional physical qubits,” the company stated, adding that further simulations showed the promise for further improvement in error correction as the number of qubits involved increases.

Specifically, Nord Quantique said that by applying “GKP bosonic codes for error correction at the individual qubit level, [it] has demonstrated the ability to correct both bit-flips and phase-flips, the most common types of errors in quantum computing. This makes error correction much easier to manage, and may require between 1,000 and 10,000 times fewer physical qubits than other computing models to effectively manage errors in the superconducting system and deliver useful results.”

Furthermore, the company claimed that its own planned quantum computing system, once at scale, “will operate with clock speeds at megahertz frequency, between 100 and 1,000 times faster than some competing systems.”

The company plans to unveil results from a multi-qubit system later this year. As for its planned quantum machine, Julien Camirand Lemyre, President and CTO of Nord Quantique, who spoke at last year’s IQT Canada event, told IQT, “Our plan is to develop our own quantum computers in the near to medium term. We are already working on a multi-qubit system and will show results from that initiative later this year. We plan to have a system available with at least 50 logical qubits no later than 2028, and we are now moving aggressively to scale up our systems.”

He added that pursuing error correction at the individual qubit level was baked into Nord Quantique’s initial vision for building quantum computers and that the latest achievement suggests the company has significantly shortened its path to full error correction.

“This is what we’ve been working on since the company was founded back in 2020,” he said.

Nord Quantique’s announcement comes after a handful of similar announcements from the likes of Amazon, Google, IBM, and QuEra, claiming to have made major advancements or achieved new milestones in error correction for quantum computers. Which of these accomplishments eventually translates to commercial viability on a broader scale is a question that will be answered in the next several years to come.

Dan O’Shea has covered telecommunications and related topics, including semiconductors, sensors, retail systems, digital payments, and quantum computing/technology for over 25 years.

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