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Quantum News Briefs September 7: ColdQuanta’s President of Quantum Computing Paul Lipman calls for “Quantum Moonshot”; Green: “Allow me to retort” the claim greedy physicists hyping quantum computing; New fur for Schroedinger’s cat; scientists discover new phase transition & MORE

By Sandra Helsel posted 07 Sep 2022

Quantum News Briefs opens today with ColdQuanta’s President of Quantum Computing Paul Lipman call for a “Quantum Moonshot” similar to President Kennedy’s 1961 call for society to organize for the Apollo moonshot; next is Tristan Green’s rebuttal of the recent claim that greedy physicists are hyping quantum computing. Third is a study in which scientists discovered a new phase transition or “new fur for Schroedinger’s cat.”And MORE.

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ColdQuanta’s President of Quantum Computing Paul Lipman calls for “Quantum Moonshot”

Paul Lipman, President of Quantum Computing at ColdQuanta, penned an editorial September 6 in Forbes discussing the Apollo space program’s “moonshot” success and calling for the same kind of extensive collaboration between academia, enterprise and government to enable the “Quantum Moonshot”. Lipman’s thoughtful and extensive analogy between two different “moonshots” is summarized by Quantum News Briefs, the original can be read here and is a must-read.
He writes, “Quantum is a ‘long game’ requiring patient capital that is willing to support fundamental deep R&D efforts—beyond the typical private investor’s appetite, scale and timeframe. Government funding must support the development of startups and scale-ups that can support accelerating the commercialization of quantum technologies. Perhaps the most compelling aspect of the quantum revolution is the recent emergence of programs to develop national quantum computing centers.”
Lipman provides an overview of other nation’s quantum computing programs: Israel recently announced 100 million shekels ($29 million) in funding for a national quantum computing center. The “startup nation” has a burgeoning quantum industry with multiple quantum startups and leading academic research programs. Japan has a bold, long-term view of the impact of quantum computing on its national economy. As part of the broader 100-billion-yen ($740 million) Moonshot 2050 program, Japan established a multi-platform vision for achieving large-scale fault-tolerant quantum computers by 2050.
As governments contemplate prioritizing and investing behind national quantum initiatives, it will be important to consider how they can support and augment (rather than compete with) the development of industry. After all, there is no point in spending hundreds of millions in taxpayer funds to simply build capabilities that can already be purchased at the click of a button from cloud service providers’ quantum offerings.
In 1961 President Kennedy said that the moonshot goal “will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills.” As we stand here today at the beginning of the quantum computing revolution, Lipman reminds us that his words have deep relevance and resonance for the “Quantum, Moonshot” journey that the U.S., Japan, Israel and many other nations have chosen to embark on.

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Green: “Allow me to retort” the claim greedy physicists hyping quantum computing

Tristan Green, Editor of NextWeb’s Neural column recently rebutted the arguments made by Nikita Gourianov, a physicist at Oxford university, who recently published a scathing article full of wild, damning claims about the field of quantum computing and the scientists who work in it. Quantum News Briefs summarizes;  click here for  Green’s original rebuttal in full
Green dives deep into the arguments but his premise is summarized thus: “In the words of the great Jules Winnfield, Samuel Jackson’s character from the classic film Pulp Fiction, “Well, allow me to retort.
Green suggested five words to counter Gourianov’s argument, and they are: IBM, Google, Amazon, Microsoft, and Intel.
Green suggests five reasons that Gourianov is in error, “I’d like to say to Gourianov, and they are: IBM, Google, Amazon, Microsoft, and Intel.” He further writes, “I don’t think we need to do a deep dive into big tech’s balance sheets to explain that none of those companies are in any financial danger. Yet, each of them is developing quantum computers. Dr. Gourianov would leave big tech out of the argument entirely. There are dozens upon dozens of papers from Google and IBM alone demonstrating breakthrough after breakthrough in the field. There’s a lot to be said about a fistful of companies worth somewhere around the one trillion dollars mark each deciding that a future-facing technology vertical is worth wagering their bankbooks on.
Gourianov’s primary argument against quantum computing appears, inexplicably, to be that they won’t be very useful for cracking quantum-resistant encryption. “With respect, that’s like saying we shouldn’t develop surgical scalpels because they’re practically useless against chain mail armor.” Governments around the world have been working in tandem with experts from companies such as Google spinout SandboxAQ and IBM for several years to address the encryption issue.
Green’s conclusion: We’re not talking about a theoretical technology, we’re talking about a nascent one. Quantum computers are here now. But like the IBM 5150 in 1981, they don’t really do anything that regular computers of their day can’t already do. Still, I’d be interested in hearing what anyone who said the PC market was a bubble back in 1981 has to say about it now.

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Quantum computing, semiconductors could benefit from new ‘doping’ NCSU research

Researchers from North Carolina State University used computational analysis to predict how optical properties of semiconductor material zinc selenide (ZnSe) change when doped with halogen elements, and found the predictions were confirmed by experimental results. Their method could speed the process of identifying and creating materials useful in quantum applications.  WRAL news in Raleigh reported in detail and Quantum News Briefs summarizes.
Creating semiconductors with desirable properties means taking advantage of point defects – sites within a material where an atom may be missing, or where there are impurities. By manipulating these sites in the material, often by adding different elements (a process referred to as “doping”), designers can elicit different properties.
In a proof of principle study, Doug Irving, University Faculty Scholar and professor of materials science and engineering and his team used computational analysis to predict the outcome of using halogen elements chlorine and fluorine as ZnSe dopants. They chose these elements because halogen doped ZnSe has been extensively studied but the underlying defect chemistries are not well established.
In the case of an optical material like ZnSe, changing the way the material absorbs or emits light could allow researchers to use it in quantum applications that could operate at higher temperatures, since certain defects wouldn’t be as sensitive to elevated temperatures.

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New fur for Schroedinger’s cat; scientists discover new phase transition

Schroedinger’s cat is an allegory for two of the most awe-inspiring effects of quantum mechanics: entanglement and superposition. Researchers from Technische Universität Dresden (TUD) and the Technische Universität München (TUM) have now observed these behaviors on a much larger scale than that of the smallest of particles. Quantum News Briefs summarizes the recent article describing this research in Phys.org.
Until now, materials that display properties, like magnetism, have been known to have so-called domains—islands in which the materials properties are homogeneously either of one or a different kind (imagine them being either black or white, for example).
The physicists have now discovered a completely new phase transition, at which the domains surprisingly exhibit quantum mechanical features, resulting in their properties becoming entangled (being black and white at the same time). “Our quantum cat now has a new fur because we’ve discovered a new quantum phase transition in LiHoF4 which has not previously been known to exist,” says Matthias Vojta, Chair of Theoretical Solid State Physics at TUD.
“Even though there are more than 30 years of extensive research dedicated to phase transitions in quantum materials, we had previously assumed that the phenomenon of entanglement played a role only on a microscopic scale, where it involves only a few atoms at a time,” explains Christian Pfleiderer, Professor of Topology of Correlated Systems at the TUM.
As a rule, the laws of quantum mechanics only apply to microscopic particles. The research teams from Munich and Dresden have now succeeded in observing effects of quantum entanglement on a much larger scale, that of thousands of atoms. For this, they have chosen to work with the well-known compound LiHoF4.

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IQM & QphoX collaborate to develop optical interface for scaling quantum computers

QM Quantum Computers is collaborating with QphoX, a start-up based in The Netherlands, to  develop an optical interface for scaling quantum computers.
IQM provides on-premises quantum computers for supercomputing data centres and research labs and offers full access to its hardware. IQM delivers these machines as a full-stack system integrator with its own quantum processors using superconducting qubits.
QphoX specializes in photon wavelength conversion for quantum technologies and is working to create a quantum modem which will allow quantum processors to be networked together. This will unlock new applications like distributed quantum computing between remotely entangled quantum processors, solving one of the biggest scaling challenges facing the industry.
“By leveraging our unique microwave to optical conversion technology, signals can instead be routed through the cryostat via optical fibers. As a result, both the spatial and heat load constraints placed on the cryostat will be reduced, allowing larger processors to be built in a single cryostat. We are very excited about embarking on this new partnership. Over the past several months we have already been working with IQM’s processors and have been very impressed with the quality and performance” said Frederick Hijazi, COO and Co-Founder, QphoX.

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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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