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Quantum News Briefs January 6: EU funds Qu-Pilot initiative with £16.7m to upgrade micro, nano, and quantum technology infrastructures; Practical hardware & long-term goals “What’s Next” for quantum computing; Hyperdimensional microlaser chip that communicating via qudits doubles quantum information space of previous on-chip lasers + MORE

Quantum News Briefs looks at news in the quantum industry.
By Sandra Helsel posted 06 Jan 2023

Quantum News Briefs January 6: EU funds Qu-Pilot initiative with £16.7m to upgrade micro, nano, and quantum technology infrastructures; Practical hardware & long-term goals “What’s Next” for quantum computing; Hyperdimensional microlaser chip that communicating via qudits doubles quantum information space of previous on-chip lasers + MORE.

EU funds Qu-Pilot initiative with £16.7m to upgrade micro, nano, and quantum technology infrastructures

The European Union has granted a €19m (£16.7m) Specific Grant agreement (SGA) funding to upgrade the existing European micro, nano, and quantum technology infrastructures and respond to a growing demand of pilot fabrication services by quantum technology companies. Quantum News Briefs summarizes the announcement from Business Leader UK.
The initiative includes 24 member organisations from nine European countries, and it is led by VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland. The new initiative, Qu-Pilot, will facilitate this development by offering companies a direct path to design, develop and validate their hardware products and processes on a pilot scale. This, in turn, will accelerate the commercialisation of these products.
Quantum technology is one of the key development areas of the European Union. To further enhance and expedite the commercialisation of quantum technology, it is important that European companies have a faster lab-to-market path with optimal technology and product development capabilities. Upgrading the existing micro, nano, and quantum technology infrastructures in Europe will support this goal.
The European consortium, led by VTT, involves 24 organisations, including both RTO’s and private companies from nine countries. The role of private companies is to be the first use cases of the services, which will also help aligning the upgrade with the needs of companies.
Related: IQT NORDICS announced for Copenhagen, Denmark June 6-8, 2023 in partnership with the Danish quantum community and several other Nordic organizations from Finland and Sweden
VTT’s Research Manager Pekka Pursula, said: VTT is privileged to lead such a significant project, which will improve European competitiveness. This project is a natural continuation of the microelectronics and quantum technology development that VTT and Finland have done and achieved over the decades. It positions us to work with our European partners to make Quantum technology a European success story.” Click here to read BusinessInsider UK article in-entirety.


Practical hardware & long-term goals “What’s Next” for quantum computing

MIT Technology Review’s Michael Brooks analyzes “what’s next for quantum computing” and then explains how companies are moving away from setting qubit records in favor of practical hardware and long-term goals. Quantum News Briefs summarizes Brooks’ extensive analysis below.
For years, quantum computing’s news cycle was dominated by headlines about record-setting systems. Researchers at Google and IBM have had spats over who achieved what—and whether it was worth the effort. But the time for arguing over who’s got the biggest processor seems to have passed.
In 2023, progress in quantum computing will be defined less by big hardware announcements than by researchers consolidating years of hard work, getting chips to talk to one another, and shifting away from trying to make do with noise as the field gets ever more international in scope.
IBM is expected to announce a processor in 2023 that bucks the trend of putting ever more quantum bits, or “qubits,” into play. IBM is also expected to debut its Heron processor, which will have just 133 qubits. It might look like a backwards step, but Heron’s qubits will be of the highest quality.Crucially, each chip will be able to connect directly to other Heron processors, heralding a shift from single quantum computing chips toward “modular” quantum computers built from multiple processors connected together.
Other companies are beginning similar experiments. “Connecting stuff together is suddenly a big theme,” says Peter Shadbolt, chief scientific officer of PsiQuantum, which is putting the finishing touches on a silicon-based modular chip. Shadbolt says the last piece it requires—an extremely fast, low-loss optical switch—will be fully demonstrated by the end of 2023.
The desire to shuttle qubits among processors means that a somewhat neglected quantum technology will come to the fore now, according to Jack Hidary, CEO of SandboxAQ. Quantum communications, where coherent qubits are transferred over distances as large as hundreds of kilometers, will be an essential part of the quantum computing story in 2023, he says. “The only pathway to scale quantum computing is to create modules of a few thousand qubits and start linking them to get coherent linkage,” Hidary said.
Optimism about “noisy intermediate-scale quantum” (NISQ) seems to be fading. “The hope was that these computers could be used well before you did any error correction, but the emphasis is shifting away from that,” says Joe Fitzsimons, CEO of Singapore-based Horizon Quantum Computing.
For all the hardware progress, many researchers feel that more attention needs to be given to programming. “Our toolbox is definitely limited, compared to what we need to have 10 years down the road,” says Michal Stechly of Zapata Computing, a quantum software company based in Boston.
Helsinki-based Algorithmiq is also innovating in the programming space. “We need nonstandard frameworks to program current quantum devices,” says CEO Sabrina Maniscalco.
Not everyone is following the well-trodden superconducting path, however. In 2020, the Indian government pledged to spend 80 billion rupees ($1.12 billion when the announcement was made) on quantum technologies. A good chunk will go to photonics technologies—for satellite-based quantum communications, and for innovative “qudit” photonics computing.
Though things are getting serious and internationally competitive, quantum technology remains largely collaborative—for now. It’s well worth the time to Click here and read complete, comprehensive MIT Technology Review article.


Hyperdimensional microlaser chip that communicating via qudits doubles quantum information space of previous on-chip lasers

A team of researchers, led by Professor Liang Feng’s Lab at the University of Pennsylvania designed and built a hyperdimensional microlaser to emit photons possessing any states within a four-level quantum system consisting of spin angular momentum and orbital angular momentum with very high fidelity. Quantum News Briefs summarizes comprehensive article from Laser Focus World.
This work is a huge leap forward because the team’s microlaser chip can be used as a source in free-space quantum key distribution (QKD) and coherent classical communications, particularly for satellite-to-Earth communications or tower-to-tower communications.
Classical information theory based on binary digits (bits) forms the backbone of modern information processing and communication systems. “Inspired by the achievement in classical information, quantum information processing today is mainly based on quantum bits (qubits), which can process a value of 0 or 1 at the same time—known as ‘superposition’ in quantum mechanics,” says Feng.”
As the ability to control different two-level quantum systems developed, several quantum protocols and algorithms were proposed and deployed, which enabled secure communications and exponential computation speedups.
The team is now focusing on three key areas to improve their microlaser system. Their first step is to integrate more on-chip ring resonators and waveguides to expand the system’s dimensionality. Second, they want to develop an electrical-pumped microlaser—their current device is optically pumped—to control all parameters in a fast, electrical way. The third step is to develop a mature quantum communications system based on their device.  Click here to read the complete, in-depth LaserFocusWorld article.


Japan’s Riken plans quantum link to supercomputer Fugaku

Japan’s Riken research institute aims to bring quantum computing technology into real-world use by around 2025 through integration with the Fugaku supercomputer according to Nikkea Asia summarized below by Quantum News Briefs.
Existing quantum machines need to be kept in extremely cold environments, and they can be unstable and prone to errors. Riken will establish a communications link between a quantum computer and Fugaku, the world’s second-fastest supercomputer, to overcome this weakness. Fugaku was developed by the government-backed institute and Fujitsu.
Riken will set up the first prototype in Japan by the end of March in the city of Wako, near Tokyo. Only core calculations will be offloaded to the quantum machine, while Fugaku organizes and reinforces the various outputs to approach the right solution.
Riken also will work with an alliance of companies including Toyota Motor, Hitachi and Sony Group to promote the use of computing infrastructure that melds quantum technology with supercomputers. It will launch a team in fiscal 2023 to study different calculation methods and tools to facilitate data transfers between the quantum computer and Fugaku.  Click here to read complete Nikkei Asia article.


Sandra K. Helsel, Ph.D. has been researching and reporting on frontier technologies since 1990.  She has her Ph.D. from the University of Arizona.

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