While quantum computers promise many future benefits, from faster processing to solving complex problems, many obstacles must be overcome to develop these machines. Quantum systems are highly susceptible to errors caused by various factors, such as noise, decoherence, and environmental interactions. Even minor disturbances can quickly degrade the delicate quantum states, leading to calculation inaccuracies. To overcome this challenge, fault tolerance becomes a key consideration. To try and achieve fault tolerance, the quantum computing company QC Design recently announced a new fault-tolerant architecture for the different types of quantum computers, suggesting a new platform to achieve scalability.
“Fault-tolerance is required for realizing the true promise of quantum computing – whether it’s scientific discoveries on quantum field theory or commercial breakthroughs enabled by quantum simulation–faster drug development, new materials for batteries, and catalysts for fertilizer manufacture and carbon capture,” explained Ish Dhand, CEO and Co-Founder of QC Design. “But building a fault-tolerance quantum computer needs efficient architectures, which only well-established companies can access. The motivation behind QC Design is to accelerate the development of fault-tolerant quantum computers.” Using a fault-tolerant architecture, developers can accelerate the development of a powerful quantum computer.
The importance of fault tolerance in quantum computers lies in its ability to enhance the reliability and scalability of quantum computations. By mitigating errors, fault-tolerant architectures enable longer quantum coherence times and improve the overall accuracy of calculations. This is particularly significant for solving complex problems requiring many qubits and long computation times.
QC Design Looks at Multiple Platforms and Blueprints
As Dhand elaborated, this fault-tolerant architecture focuses on many different types of platforms for quantum computers, including “photonics, spins, ions, superconducting qubits and neutral atoms,” he added. For Dhand and his team, the architectural focus was on two different aspects: blueprints and hardware. “Blueprints describe how to get to the first logical qubits on specific hardware platforms using specific hardware building blocks,” Dhand stated. “A handful of well-funded startups (e.g., PsiQuantum, Xanadu) and big-tech (e.g., IBM, Google) teams have developed their own blueprints, but other hardware manufacturers don’t yet have access to their own fault-tolerance blueprints. By providing licenses to these architectures, we enable all hardware manufacturers to compete with the well-established competition.” The other aspect was looking at the hardware itself. As Dhand elaborated: “Boosts allow getting more logical performance (more logical qubits and gates) out of the same hardware and can be hardware agnostic.”
For those who want to harness the new architecture from QC Design, Dhand promises that clients will move along an accelerated path to “full-scale fault tolerance,” he said. “This is because our architectures help them focus on the highest leverage hardware activities, supplementing their in-house fault tolerance efforts. In the long run, we hope that our architectures make the quantum computing industry transition to fault-tolerance faster.”
Kenna Hughes-Castleberry is a staff writer at Inside Quantum Technology and the Science Communicator at JILA (a partnership between the University of Colorado Boulder and NIST). Her writing beats include deep tech, quantum computing, and AI. Her work has been featured in Scientific American, New Scientist, Discover Magazine, Ars Technica, and more.