Prospects for a Solid-State Quantum Computer
We're joined by Paul Warburton Professor of Nanoelectronics at the London Centre for Nanotechnology (LCN) and the Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering at University College London (UCL), who'll be telling us about quantum computation using solid-state device platforms. Check it out!
In principle a future quantum computer could offer significant speed-ups for solving classically-hard problems. In practice, however, there are several significant technical challenges which need to be overcome if quantum computers are to become commercially relevant. The details of these challenges vary depending upon which model of quantum computation is being implemented (with two notable models being quantum annealing and gate-based quantum computation) and upon which device platform is being exploited (with superconducting devices and ion traps currently leading the field).
Here Paul will summarize the prospects for quantum computation using solid-state device platforms. He will focus on quantum annealing using superconducting devices, this being the technology offered by the D-Wave machine. Google recently used this machine to demonstrate a 10^8 pre-factor speed-up (by comparison with quantum Monte Carlo methods on a classical computer) for a carefully designed class of optimization problems. Paul will describe both the strengths and limitations of the D-Wave machine, and discuss his own experimental research on how future implementations of a quantum annealer could overcome these limitations.
This research was supported in part by Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA), via the U.S. Army Research Office Contract No. W911NF-17-C-0050; and by EPSRC.
Paul Warburton is Professor of Nanoelectronics at the London Centre for Nanotechnology (LCN) and the Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering at University College London (UCL). He is an experimentalist working on electronics applications of novel materials and nanodevices, including superconductors and Josephson junctions. He has made seminal contributions to the fields of quantum annealing, nanoscale Josephson junction arrays and nanofabrication using focused ion-beams.