Q News

October 2019

Quantum vacuum: Less than zero energyPhys.org

Classical physics would posit that there is a natural bottom-limit to energy; once every single particle is removed from a certain volume and there is nothing left to carry energy, that is where energy ends. An international research team from Austria, Belgium and India have proven that under certain conditions, negative energies are temporarily allowed. When thought in terms of the theory of general relativity, negative energy means we could expect negative mass and negative gravity.

Quantum gold rush: the private funding pouring into quantum start-upsNature

While we tend to compartmentalise quantum as a technology that is slowly improving based on  the natural progression of scientific research, it is important to interrogate the role funding plays in dictating technological development. With insightful references to the history of investment in AI, Elizabeth Gibney provides a great rundown of the role of venture capital in dictating the direction, viability and preferability of some forms of quantum research over others.

Why I Coined the Term ‘Quantum Supremacy’Wired

John Preskill, the theoretical physicist who coined the term “quantum supremacy”, offers a retrospective analysis of his popular term in the wake of Google’s alleged quantum supremacy milestone. Should google’s achievement be classified as quantum supremacy, and if so, what does this mean for the new era of quantum technology?

September 2019

Scientists observe a single quantum vibration under ordinary conditionsMIT News

As opposed to the classical understanding of vibrations as oscillating waves, when we dig down to the quantum level, we see vibrations as individual units of energy known as phonons. Now scientists at MIT and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology have created and observed a single phonon in a common material at room temperature. The ability to observe this phenomena in the “real world” allows us to slowly move quantum technology out of controlled labs and into our daily lives.

Researchers discover material that could someday power quantum computerPhys.org

Scientists at John Hopkins University have discovered a new superconducting material with which to organise qubits. While traditional superconductors require a very precise external magnetic field be applied on each qubit, this new material can work without an external magnetic field, which brings us much closer to practical, quantum computing.

Analogue approach offers solution to quantum problemsCosmos Magazine

The sheer complexity of science at the quantum level makes it incredibly difficult to model even on the most advanced classical computers. Scientists at Germany’s Max-Planck-Institut für Quantenoptik  have proposed moving away from the digital and back to the analogue world in order to tackle this problem. By combining “optical lattices” and “cavity quantum electrodynamics” they’ve creates a quantum chemical simulator, in which the atoms play the role of electrons and simulate chemical reactions.

Google claims to have reached quantum supremacyAustralian Financial Revue

In a landmark moment in quantum computing, google has reportedly attained quantum supremacy, wherein a quantum computer is able to carry out previously impossible calculations. Their quantum processor was able to perform a calculation in three minutes and twenty seconds, which would have taken our most advanced classical computer approximately 10,000 years. While their system can only perform this one, highly technical calculation, it does form a landmark step towards a new computing paradigm.

Aliro comes out of stealth with $2.7M to ‘democratize’ quantum computing with developer toolsTech Crunch

Aliro Technologies, a Harvard quantum-software startup, has announced its first round of funding of $2.7 million. They’re creating a platform that will let developers use universal programming languages in the world of quantum computation, which is made up by hundreds of disparate, proprietary machines all with their own unique code. If achieved, this towards making quantum computing as accessible as classical computing would afford more democratization in a field currently dominated by specialists.

Team closes in on ‘holy grail’ of room temperature quantum computing chipsPhys.org

Professor Yuping Huang and his team at Stevens Institute of Technology have produced a nano-scale chip that facilitates photon interactions with much higher efficiency than previous systems. It works at very low energy levels, which suggests they’re on track for producing room-temperature quantum computing which is vital for practical, commercial quantum computers.

Sydney’s Q-CTRL leaps into top-10 of global quantum tech start-upsThe University of Sydney

Professor Michael Biercuk from Sydney University’s Q-CTRL tech-startup has announced a $22m investment in it’s first round of venture capital fundraising, catapulting the company into the top-10 global quantum startups. Aiming at solving the problem of inherent instability of quantum hardware, Q-CTRL has been able to greatly reduce hardware errors, paving the pay to commercially viable quantum computers.

IBM, Fraunhofer partner on German-backed quantum computing research pushReuters

As Germany seeks to catch up with the United States and China in the global technology race, IBM has partnered with German research institute The Fraunhofer Society, on the back of a €650m investment into quantum research by Merkel’s government. This will result in the first quantum computer deployed by IBM outside of the United states and could help Europe’s largest economy have a legitimate stake in the quantum race.

I Work for N.S.A. We Cannot Afford to Lose the Digital Revolution.The New York Times

In an opinion piece for the New York Times, General Counsel for the National Security Agency, Glenn S. Gerstell provides an interesting overview of the myriad security threats posed by rapidly developing technologies and offers potential solutions. Is this a cynical attempt to justify increased funding and legitimize a controversial government agency, or a genuine call for bold, preemptive security measures in an age of technological revolution?

ANU Mount Stromlo Observatory to get technology NASA will have to catch up withABC News

The Australian National University is creating a quantum optical ground station which can transmit more information to space than stations with traditional radio waves. The new technology is expected to form the backbone of future space communication, putting Australia at the forefront of the next potential space race and prompting NASA to play catch-up.

Quantum Physics and Social Science | Robert Wright & Alexander WendtThe Wright Show

With steady technological progress being made in the disruptive field of quantum computing, there’s an immediate impetus for social scientists to weigh in. The initial cross-pollination is predictably murky and controversial, but this interview between Robert Wright and Alex Wendt can provide a deeper look into one particular form of social science’s early grappling with quantum physics.

Beyond the Hype: The EU and the AI Global “Arms Race”Carnegie Europe

With the disruptive, deep-tech fields of AI and quantum both being popularly framed through the narrative of an “arms race”, it is easy to see how a culture of insecurity can be cultivated. While lagging behind in the “AI race”, the European Union’s regulatory power and it’s “ethical AI” narrative places it as a potential agenda-setter in promoting a human-centered R&D approach to Artificial Intelligence. Could the EU be counted on to actively re-frame the “quantum race” as well?

August 2019

Entanglement sent over 50 km of optical fiberScience Daily

Researchers at the Department of Experimental Physics at the University of Innsbruck have achieved a world first by transporting entangled quantum particles over 50 kilometres of fiber-optic cable. This is a huge boon for those seeking practical applications of quantum technology, as quantum internet now has the capacity to link cities together.

Australia’s Archer details first stage of room temp quantum chip successZDNet

Archer Exploration has become one of the first Australian companies to produce a prototype for room-temperature quantum computer chips. Their carbon-based quantum computing device, dubbed 12CQ, is a decent step for the commercialisation of practical quantum technology and will help solidify Australia’s position as a hub for quantum research.

Now that’s what I call future proofing. IBM makes world’s first quantum computing-safe tape driveBlocks & Files

While so many tech companies are racing towards the first quantum computer, IBM is developing new ways for classical computers to defend themselves against a potential quantum encryption attack. Utilizing algorithms based on two practically-unsolvable cryptographic primitives ‘Kyber’ and ‘Dilithium’, IBM aims to protect computers from an anticipated quantum attack… Now if only there was a functioning quantum computer to test it against.

Quantum radar has been demonstrated for the first time – MIT Technology Review

Researchers at the Institute of Science and Technology in Austria have used microwave photons to create the world’s first quantum radar. Unlike conventional radar, quantum radars can easily filter-out background interference. They also work at such low power that they produce barely any interference of their own, which makes them perfect for non-invasive biomedical applications and stealth-based security applications.

Japan aims to put quantum cryptography into practical use from 2025 The Japan Times

In publishing their budget for 2020, Japan’s Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications included 1.5 billion Yen for research and development of quantum technology, with the goal of putting quantum cryptography into practical use by 2025. It is still not clear whether this level of investment will do much to stop them falling behind the U.S and China who currently dominate the quantum race.

A single-photon source you can make with household bleach Phys.org

Angela Belcher and Ching-Wei Lin from MIT have discovered a way to produce single-photon emitters “within a minute” by simply using household bleach and light. Up until now, producing the essential raw material for quantum computing, the single photon, was hampered by preparation methods that require special reactants at abnormally low temperatures. This breakthrough allows for real-world production of single-photons at scale which is vital for translating fundamental quantum experiments to practical applications.

Looks Like We Have a New State of MatterPopular Mechanics

Physicists from New York University have just discovered a new state of matter – topological superconductivity. The new state promises specific benefits for quantum computing, as topological superconductivity is the only state that can store “majorana particles” which in turn can store quantum information while shielding it from environmental noise. This new state could hold the key to manipulating quantum information free of error.

Quantum Teleportation Has Been Reported in a Qutrit For The First TimeScience Alert

Quantum teleportation transports information across distances through particle entanglement, but so far it has only been managed using qubits. Researchers at the University of Science and Technology of China have achieved quantum teleportation using qutrits which add a level of complexity, promising greater processing power for quantum computers.

Quantum entanglement in chemical reactions? Now there’s a way to find out – Phys.org

Researchers at Purdue University have developed a practical way to measure entanglement in chemical reactions, giving us the tools to test the widely held suspicion that quantum phenomena are at the heart of natural chemical reactions such as photosynthesis. Uncovering exactly how chemical reactions work could allow us to mimic or recreate them in new technologies, such as solar energy systems.

Vault Cloud, Quintessence Labs and Ziroh Labs combine tech for world firstCIO

As part of the steady commercialization of quantum technology, AustCyber has funded the integration of cloud service provider Vault cloud, Ziroh Labs’ encryption technology and QuintessenceLabs true quantum random number generator. This public/private collaboration will create the world’s first secure and scalable package for enterprise file synchronization and sharing systems, expected to be commercially available later this year.

July 2019

Quantum Darwinism, an Idea to Explain Objective Reality, Passes First TestsQuanta Magazine

In an attempt to bridge the gap between the rules of classical physics and the spooky rules quantum physics, some scientists are turning to the theory of “Quantum Darwinism”. The theory posits that quantum particles don’t change state because we observe them, rather that we can only observe the particle’s “fittest” state that has imprinted itself on the environment. Three distinct groups of researchers have conducted experiments related to Quantum Darwinism, all of which have had positive results, which suggests we are on the road to reconciling the biggest mysteries of physics.

Physicists count sound particles with quantum microphonePhys.org

Physicists at Stanford have developed a “quantum microphone” that’s so sensitive it can measure phonons, or individual particles of sound. The device opens the door to a smaller, more efficient quantum computer that manipulates sound rather than light, boasting wavelengths that are thousands of times smaller.

Why Big Banks Could Soon Jump on the Quantum BandwagonWired

Financial institutions rely heavily on complex computer modeling to calculate the potential fluctuations and general risks involved in financial products. Recently, IBM and J.P. Morgan have been able to run simple risk-calculation programs on actual quantum computers, providing proof-of-concept for a technology the financial sector has been looking for, a machine built to process uncertainty.

200 times faster than ever before: The speediest quantum operation yetScienceDaily

Researchers at UNSW have produced the first two-qubit gate between atom qubits in silicon, a milestone that was thought to be impossible 20 years ago. This discovery allows us to observe and control interactions between qubits in real time with high fidelity, which is a critical step for running quantum algorithms and building the first practical quantum computer from atom qubits.

How the quest for a scalable quantum computer is helping fight cancerPhys.org

While a viable quantum computer is still a while away, quantum computing is constantly spurring practical innovations in conventional computers, as proven by researchers at Case Western Reserve University. The researchers pioneered “Magnetic Resonance Fingerprinting” which utilizes Microsoft’s quantum-inspired algorithms to sift through sensitive and complex body scans, allowing doctors to detect the effectiveness of cancer treatments six times faster than conventional methods.

Scientists Just Unveiled The First-Ever Photo of Quantum Entanglement Science Alert

Physicists at the University of Glasgow in Scotland have achieved a world-first by photographing quantum entanglement. The image shows two photons that shifted in exactly the same way, despite being split. This opens the way to new quantum imaging schemes and lends further proof of the spooky action at the heart of quantum mechanics.

‘Connecting the dots’ for quantum networksScience Daily

Scientists at the U.S Naval Research Laboratory have worked out how to squeeze quantum dots so that they emit light at identical wavelengths and positions. This breakthrough, allowing many quantum dots to communicate in an integrated circuit, promises to accelerate quantum information technologies and neuromorphic or “brain-inspired” computing.

Europe’s VCs finally leap into quantumSifted

A Finnish quantum computing startup just raised €11.45m from investors in Europe. Considering the rarity of European venture capital investment in Quantum, most European companies move to Silicon Valley to raise money. The company’s success in securing investments could be the start of a wave of European investors taking the plunge into Quantum technology, signalling a shift in the worldwide distribution of quantum research.

World’s smallest MRI machine means we can now scan individual atomsFuturism

Researchers from the United States and South Korea attached magnetized iron atoms to the tip of a scanning tunneling microscope, thereby creating an MRI machine so small it can scan the energy released by individual electrons. This allows for an unprecedented level of detail in examining the raw materials needed for quantum computing.

Dotz Nano finds graphene quantum dots effective in treating brain injuries, strokes and heart attacks

New research has found graphene quantum dots (GQD), manufactured from coal, can be effective in treating brain injuries, strokes, multiple sclerosis and heart attacks.This development prompted technology specialists Dotz Nano to immediately begin commercial production of it’s GQD, which is a significant development for both the biomedical applications and commercialization of quantum technology.

Business eager for quantum velocity The Australian

A survey conducted by Japanese tech giant Fujitsu found that 90% of business leaders felt insufficient computing power was holding them back, leaving them simultaneously longing for quantum and disappointed by the pace of technological development. In the absence of practical quantum computers, The private sector’s fixation on the promises of quantum technology has lead companies to implement practical bridging technologies between quantum and classical computing.

June 2019

Researchers teleport information within a diamondEurekAlert

While scientists conventionally try to teleport quantum information across long distances, a team at Japan’s Yokohama National University has managed to achieve quantum entanglement inside a diamond. This discovery will shape how we share and store sensitive information in the future as we are able to project information into otherwise inaccessible spaces.

AT&T hopes quantum networking will amplify the power of quantum computingCNET

A partnership has been announced between communications company AT&T and researchers at INQNET (Intelligent Quantum Networks and Technologies) with the ultimate goal of building a quantum internet. The continued cross-pollination of private sector industry and research institutions, primarily focusing on making quantum technology commercially viable, has major implications for the democratization of quantum.

Building a Bridge to the Outside WorldIST Austria

Currently, quantum computers need to operate at abnormally low temperatures in order to function, but a team of Scientists at the Institute of Science and Technology in Austria have found a way to link these computers with the outside world. The team produced entangled radiation using a 30-micrometer-long piece of silicon, which would function as a link between sensitive quantum computers and the conventional optical fibers that connect them inside data centers and beyond.

Quantum computing will break net security; Cloudflare wants to fix itCNET

As quantum threatens to crack conventional forms of encryption, Cloudflare and Google have teamed up in search of secure “post quantum encryption”. In releasing CIRCL (Cloudflare interoperable reusable cryptographic library) they aim to provide a practical, open-source software package that will allow anyone to contribute and evaluate post-quantum encryption algorithms.

A New Law to Describe Quantum Computing’s Rise?Quanta Magazine

While Moore’s law initially posited that the technological development of computational power would speed up exponentially, we now understand that it vastly underestimates the speed of quantum development. Neven’s law posits that quantum computing exhibits “double exponential” growth, which suggests quantum supremacy is right around the corner.

Machine learning unlocks mysteries of quantum physicsPhys.org

Studying quantum phenomena requires subatomic images of electronic motions, but the data generated by Scanning Tunneling Microscopy (STM) is too complex for humans to interpret. By delegating this complex task to A.I networks, Eun-Ah Kim’s team at Cornell University has made this data interpretable, which will allow us to design the complex materials necessary for quantum computing.

Physicists Play Guitar To Demonstrate The Potential Of Quantum RadioForbes

A group of musically talented physicists at the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) have found a way to directly measure electronic fields using atoms, which has practical applications for the future of communication. While sound quality is currently worse than conventional, digital recording, Rydberg atoms have the potential to pickup audio data in the presence of noise, even in deep space.

UK government to invest £153m in quantum computingE&T

During London Tech Week, UK Prime Minister Theresa May announced a £153m investment in Quantum computing, on top of a pledge of £1bn from the private sector. This eager investment will see the UK move closer to closing the quantum gap separating them from the U.S and China.

Quantum Computing Comes To Africa Through IBM And Wits UniversityForbes

IBM has partnered with the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, making it the first African University in IBM’s Q Network. It is intended that quantum research in Africa will be geared towards cosmology and molecular biology, privileging developments in quantum computing that address specifically African needs.

Light-powered nano-organisms consume carbon dioxide, create eco-friendly plastics and fuelsScience Daily

A Research team at the University of Colorado has used light-activated quantum dots to create nanobio-hybrid organisms, or “living factories” that eat CO2 and convert it into useful, eco-friendly chemicals. The next step would be optimizing the conversion process, with the goal of offering a commercially viable alternative to petrochemical production.

Scientists Predict Quantum Jumps, Turning Physics on Its HeadFuturism

Schroedinger’s cat, the brutal quantum metaphor for superposition and unpredictability, has been turned on its head. Scientists at Yale University have made a leap towards useful quantum computing with their discovery of an ‘early warning system’ for quantum jumps, allowing us to not only predict, but reverse quantum jumps without ever having to directly observe the cat.

Quantum cryptography goes faster and further on commercial fibre linksPhysicsworld

Researchers at Peking University have made quantum telecommunication and encryption much more practical and commercially viable. The team were the first in the world to utilize already-existing commercial fibre networks to distribute quantum cryptography keys across a 50km distance.

New device brings us closer to finding a ‘killer app’ for quantum computersCreate Digital

While the scientific community is still grappling with understanding quantum technology, some experiments are giving more and more scope for potential applications. A collaboration between Griffith University and Nanyang Technological University have created a quantum device that can help model complex weather and traffic systems better than classical computers.

May 2019

Noise-cancelling headphones for quantum computers: international collaboration launched’ – UNSW Newsroom

The U.S Department of Defence’s ‘Next Generation Technologies Fund’, in coordination with the Army Research Office has launched an international collaboration comprising three Australian universities and 7 leading U.S. research institutions. They aim to get a step closer to successful quantum computing by developing theoretical methods to analyse the noise around quantum bits with the goal of “canceling” it.

‘There’s a Brand-New Kilogram, And It’s Based on Quantum Physics’ – LiveScience

In lieu of viable qubit computing, quantum theory has offered other practical applications as it retrospectively rewrites our conventions of measurement. The “Kilogram” used to refer to a prototype 1KG block of metal in France, but as of Monday, a Kilogram will be measured through its relationship to Planck’s Constant, which allows a Kilogram to retain the same mass regardless of where in the universe it is measured.

‘Honeywell Leaps Into Quantum Computing in Race With Google, IBM’ – Bloomberg

There’s a new competitor in the private sector vying for quantum supremacy. Honeywell international inc. brings its expertise in aerospace engineering and control-system hardware specifically to make the quantum race even more competitive as it boasts record-breaking fidelity in trapped-ion technology.

‘Generating high-quality single photons for quantum computing’ – MIT News

Researchers at MIT’s Research Laboratory of Electronics have developed a way to generate high-quality photons without having to trade indistinguishability for efficiency. Their ability to generate them at room temperature is an important achievement for the democratisation of quantum computing, offering direct applications for consumer quantum computing.

‘Researchers can now tell how accurate two-qubit calculations in silicon really are’UNSW Newsroom

Australian Scientists at UNSW have become the first team in the world to successfully measure the accuracy of silicon two-qubit operations. This major step in the fidelity and viability of quantum computing will have enormous ramifications for international security, particularly in the field of encryption.

‘Quantum bit communication breaks distance record’Futurity

“Breaking Records in Quantum ping-pong” University of Chicago creates a remote entanglement system using superconducting qubits that accurately exchanged quantum information along a meter long track.

‘For a Split Second, a Quantum Computer Made History Go Backward’The New York Times

Scientists at the Moscow Institute of Physics use a Quantum computer to undo the aging of a single, simulated elementary particle by one millionth of a second. Replicating it in nature is another question…

‘Open Source Release coming for Microsoft’s Quantum Development Kit’Microsoft

Microsoft reveals it will make their quantum computing development tools open source. Everyone from academic institutions to industry developers can freely make use of Q#, a programming language for writing Quantum code and a quantum simulator.

‘IBM Unveils Beta of Next Generation Quantum Development Platform’IBM

IBM announces public beta of the next generation of their quantum computing cloud service. This allows greater versatility for the quantum developer community who can now work on the cloud with Qiskit, an open-source framework for programming quantum.

‘Quantum computing a step closer to reality’Asia Times

A Joint Research Team from Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and South China Normal University have discovered a novel method that increases the efficiency of producing photonic quantum memories by 70%.