Quantum Processor Hits 99.9 Percent Reliability Target

By Tiffany Trader

April 25, 2014

Physicists at UC Santa Barbara (UCSB) have taken a huge leap forward towards what they refer to as a “fully functional quantum computer” – long-considered the holy grail of both physics and computing.

UCSB Qubit architecture 2014

The five cross-shaped elements are the Xmon variant, so named by the team, of the transmon qubit placed in a linear array.

A team from the esteemed lab of John Martinis, UCSB professor of physics, have demonstrated a new level of reliability for superconducting qubits, paving the way for large-scale, fault-tolerant quantum circuits. The details of the research appear in this week’s issue of the journal Nature.

Quantum computers promise unimaginable speedups compared with today’s fastest number-crunchers, but at this stage, the technology suffers from reliability issues due to the fragile nature of quantum states.

Thanks to the strange laws of quantum mechanics and a phenomenon called superposition, the qubit (“quantum bit”) can exist in multiple states at once. Instead of being relegated to a one or a zero, like the classical bit, the qubit can represent a one and a zero and all points in between. A computer that is comprised of qubits is thus inherently parallel and theoretically capable of conducting multiple computations simultaneously. The trouble with qubits, though, is their instability – they tend to “forget” their state very quickly. Quantum error correction, which distributes a logical state among many qubits by means of quantum entanglement, goes a long way to protecting the state, but until now fidelity targets were still shy of the 99 percent goal. This week in the journal Nature, the UCSB physicists report that they’ve created a small quantum computing array that performs with enough accuracy to make error correction viable.

“Quantum hardware is very, very unreliable compared to classical hardware,” notes Austin Fowler, a staff scientist in the physics department, whose theoretical work prompted the experiments. “Even the best state-of-the-art hardware is unreliable. Our paper shows that for the first time reliability has been reached.”

The experimental system, comprised of five superconducting qubits arranged in a linear array, is the first of its kind to cross the 99 percent accuracy threshold, setting the stage for even larger quantum arrays. The team achieved an average fidelity of 99.92 percent for a single-qubit logic gate and 99.4 percent for a two-qubit logic gate. Error correction was implemented with a surface code approach, which is based on nearest-neighbour coupling and rapidly cycled entangling gates.

“Motivated by theoretical work, we started really thinking seriously about what we had to do to move forward,” says John Martinis, a professor in UCSB’s Department of Physics. “It took us a while to figure out how simple it was, and simple, in the end, was really the best.”

The UCSB team’s superconducting multi-qubit processor is a representative architecture for a “universal quantum computer,” one that can handle any algorithm given to it. This stands in contrast to the quantum annealing machines made by the Canadian company D-Wave, which are only good at solving a specific set of tasks, called optimization problems.

Having passed this crucial threshold, the team will continue to work on reducing errors while scaling the system. Will a practical quantum computer be far off?

“If you want to build a quantum computer, you need a two-dimensional array of such qubits, and the error rate should be below 1 percent,” Fowler explains. “If we can get one order of magnitude lower – in the area of 10-3 or 1 in 1,000 for all our gates – our qubits could become commercially viable. But there are more issues that need to be solved. There are more frequencies to worry about and it’s certainly true that it’s more complex. However, the physics is no different.”

Subscribe to HPCwire's Weekly Update!

Be the most informed person in the room! Stay ahead of the tech trends with industy updates delivered to you every week!

At SC18: AMD Sets Up for Epyc Epoch

November 16, 2018

It’s been a good two weeks, AMD’s Gary Silcott and Andy Parma told me on the last day of SC18 in Dallas at the restaurant where we met to discuss their show news and recent successes. Heck, it’s been a good year. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Dell EMC’s HPC Chief on Strategy and Emerging Processor Diversity

November 16, 2018

Last January Thierry Pellegrino, a long-time Dell/Dell EMC veteran, became vice president of HPC. His tenure comes at a time when the very definition of HPC is blurring with AI writ large (data analytics, machine learnin Read more…

By John Russell

IBM’s AI-HPC Combine for ‘Intelligent Simulation’: Eliminating the Unnecessary 

November 16, 2018

A powerhouse concept in attaining new knowledge is the notion of the “emergent property,” the combination of formerly stovepiped scientific disciplines and exploratory methods to form cross-disciplinary intelligence Read more…

By Doug Black

HPE Extreme Performance Solutions

AI Can Be Scary. But Choosing the Wrong Partners Can Be Mortifying!

As you continue to dive deeper into AI, you will discover it is more than just deep learning. AI is an extremely complex set of machine learning, deep learning, reinforcement, and analytics algorithms with varying compute, storage, memory, and communications needs. Read more…

IBM Accelerated Insights

From Deep Blue to Summit – 30 Years of Supercomputing Innovation

This week, in honor of the 30th anniversary of the SC conference, we are highlighting some of the most significant IBM contributions to supercomputing over the past 30 years. Read more…

How the United States Invests in Supercomputing

November 14, 2018

The CORAL supercomputers Summit and Sierra are now the world's fastest computers and are already contributing to science with early applications. Ahead of SC18, Maciej Chojnowski with ICM at the University of Warsaw discussed the details of the CORAL project with Dr. Dimitri Kusnezov from the U.S. Department of Energy. Read more…

By Maciej Chojnowski

At SC18: AMD Sets Up for Epyc Epoch

November 16, 2018

It’s been a good two weeks, AMD’s Gary Silcott and Andy Parma told me on the last day of SC18 in Dallas at the restaurant where we met to discuss their show news and recent successes. Heck, it’s been a good year. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Dell EMC’s HPC Chief on Strategy and Emerging Processor Diversity

November 16, 2018

Last January Thierry Pellegrino, a long-time Dell/Dell EMC veteran, became vice president of HPC. His tenure comes at a time when the very definition of HPC is Read more…

By John Russell

IBM’s AI-HPC Combine for ‘Intelligent Simulation’: Eliminating the Unnecessary 

November 16, 2018

A powerhouse concept in attaining new knowledge is the notion of the “emergent property,” the combination of formerly stovepiped scientific disciplines and Read more…

By Doug Black

How the United States Invests in Supercomputing

November 14, 2018

The CORAL supercomputers Summit and Sierra are now the world's fastest computers and are already contributing to science with early applications. Ahead of SC18, Maciej Chojnowski with ICM at the University of Warsaw discussed the details of the CORAL project with Dr. Dimitri Kusnezov from the U.S. Department of Energy. Read more…

By Maciej Chojnowski

At SC18: Humanitarianism Amid Boom Times for HPC

November 14, 2018

At SC18 in Dallas, the feeling on the ground is one of forward-looking buoyancy. Like boom times that cycle through the Texas oil fields, the HPC industry is en Read more…

By Doug Black

Nvidia’s Jensen Huang Delivers Vision for the New HPC

November 14, 2018

For nearly two hours on Monday at SC18, Jensen Huang, CEO of Nvidia, presented his expansive view of the future of HPC (and computing in general) as only he can do. Animated. Backstopped by a stream of data charts, product photos, and even a beautiful image of supernovae... Read more…

By John Russell

New Panasas High Performance Storage Straddles Commercial-Traditional HPC

November 13, 2018

High performance storage vendor Panasas has launched a new version of its ActiveStor product line this morning featuring what the company said is the industry’s first plug-and-play, portable parallel file system that delivers up to 75 Gb/s per rack on industry standard hardware combined with “enterprise-grade reliability and manageability.” Read more…

By Doug Black

SC18 Student Cluster Competition – Revealing the Field

November 13, 2018

It’s November again and we’re almost ready for the kick-off of one of the greatest computer sports events in the world – the SC Student Cluster Competitio Read more…

By Dan Olds

Cray Unveils Shasta, Lands NERSC-9 Contract

October 30, 2018

Cray revealed today the details of its next-gen supercomputing architecture, Shasta, selected to be the next flagship system at NERSC. We've known of the code-name "Shasta" since the Argonne slice of the CORAL project was announced in 2015 and although the details of that plan have changed considerably, Cray didn't slow down its timeline for Shasta. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

TACC Wins Next NSF-funded Major Supercomputer

July 30, 2018

The Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) has won the next NSF-funded big supercomputer beating out rivals including the National Center for Supercomputing Ap Read more…

By John Russell

IBM at Hot Chips: What’s Next for Power

August 23, 2018

With processor, memory and networking technologies all racing to fill in for an ailing Moore’s law, the era of the heterogeneous datacenter is well underway, Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Requiem for a Phi: Knights Landing Discontinued

July 25, 2018

On Monday, Intel made public its end of life strategy for the Knights Landing "KNL" Phi product set. The announcement makes official what has already been wide Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

House Passes $1.275B National Quantum Initiative

September 17, 2018

Last Thursday the U.S. House of Representatives passed the National Quantum Initiative Act (NQIA) intended to accelerate quantum computing research and developm Read more…

By John Russell

CERN Project Sees Orders-of-Magnitude Speedup with AI Approach

August 14, 2018

An award-winning effort at CERN has demonstrated potential to significantly change how the physics based modeling and simulation communities view machine learni Read more…

By Rob Farber

Summit Supercomputer is Already Making its Mark on Science

September 20, 2018

Summit, now the fastest supercomputer in the world, is quickly making its mark in science – five of the six finalists just announced for the prestigious 2018 Read more…

By John Russell

New Deep Learning Algorithm Solves Rubik’s Cube

July 25, 2018

Solving (and attempting to solve) Rubik’s Cube has delighted millions of puzzle lovers since 1974 when the cube was invented by Hungarian sculptor and archite Read more…

By John Russell

Leading Solution Providers

SC 18 Virtual Booth Video Tour

Advania @ SC18 AMD @ SC18
ASRock Rack @ SC18
DDN Storage @ SC18
HPE @ SC18
IBM @ SC18
Lenovo @ SC18 Mellanox Technologies @ SC18
NVIDIA @ SC18
One Stop Systems @ SC18
Oracle @ SC18 Panasas @ SC18
Supermicro @ SC18 SUSE @ SC18 TYAN @ SC18
Verne Global @ SC18

US Leads Supercomputing with #1, #2 Systems & Petascale Arm

November 12, 2018

The 31st Supercomputing Conference (SC) - commemorating 30 years since the first Supercomputing in 1988 - kicked off in Dallas yesterday, taking over the Kay Ba Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

At SC18: AMD Sets Up for Epyc Epoch

November 16, 2018

It’s been a good two weeks, AMD’s Gary Silcott and Andy Parma told me on the last day of SC18 in Dallas at the restaurant where we met to discuss their show news and recent successes. Heck, it’s been a good year. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

TACC’s ‘Frontera’ Supercomputer Expands Horizon for Extreme-Scale Science

August 29, 2018

The National Science Foundation and the Texas Advanced Computing Center announced today that a new system, called Frontera, will overtake Stampede 2 as the fast Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

HPE No. 1, IBM Surges, in ‘Bucking Bronco’ High Performance Server Market

September 27, 2018

Riding healthy U.S. and global economies, strong demand for AI-capable hardware and other tailwind trends, the high performance computing server market jumped 28 percent in the second quarter 2018 to $3.7 billion, up from $2.9 billion for the same period last year, according to industry analyst firm Hyperion Research. Read more…

By Doug Black

Intel Announces Cooper Lake, Advances AI Strategy

August 9, 2018

Intel's chief datacenter exec Navin Shenoy kicked off the company's Data-Centric Innovation Summit Wednesday, the day-long program devoted to Intel's datacenter Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Germany Celebrates Launch of Two Fastest Supercomputers

September 26, 2018

The new high-performance computer SuperMUC-NG at the Leibniz Supercomputing Center (LRZ) in Garching is the fastest computer in Germany and one of the fastest i Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Houston to Field Massive, ‘Geophysically Configured’ Cloud Supercomputer

October 11, 2018

Based on some news stories out today, one might get the impression that the next system to crack number one on the Top500 would be an industrial oil and gas mon Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Nvidia’s Jensen Huang Delivers Vision for the New HPC

November 14, 2018

For nearly two hours on Monday at SC18, Jensen Huang, CEO of Nvidia, presented his expansive view of the future of HPC (and computing in general) as only he can do. Animated. Backstopped by a stream of data charts, product photos, and even a beautiful image of supernovae... Read more…

By John Russell

  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow
Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!
Share This