MIT, HP to build quantum computer

Hewlett-Packard Co. (HP) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have announced a joint US$2.5 million quantum computing project to advance computing development beyond its current physical limits.

The project, announced last week, is part of a $25 million, five-year alliance launched in June 2000. Researchers at HP Labs in Palo Alto, California and Bristol, England will work with their counterparts in MIT's Media Lab, including Neil Gershenfeld and Isaac Chuang. Gershenfeld and Chuang are described as pioneers by HP in its press release, because of their past work in actually building and operating a simple quantum computer.

Quantum computing development is necessary because the current classical computing model is reaching its limit, said an HP spokesman today.

"Moore's Law is going to reach its natural conclusion because of the physical limitations of present technology. When you get to the atomic scale you can't take it much further," the spokesman said. "So we have to use the laws of quantum physics, as far as they are understood, to take computing further," he said.

Quantum computing research is farsighted, and it may take 10 years to develop a fully operational quantum computer, "but if you want to keep using computers in the way we have been, and to keep Moore's Law working, then we have to keep moving forward," the spokesman concluded.

Quantum computing uses quantum systems to perform calculations. The basic unit of computation used is the qubit or quantum bit, a quantum system with two states. Unlike classical bits, the qubit can be not just 0 or 1 but a superposition of both, in differing proportions. While the classical bit can store any number between 0 and 255 on each of its eight bytes, the qubit can store all the numbers between 0 and 255 on a byte of eight qubits. This allows much more information to be stored on a quantum bit than a classical bit, and allows parallelism in processing: one calculation can give the answer for all the numbers on the byte at the same time, according to an explanation posted on the MIT Web site.

However, problems arise when it comes to reading the information back. Any interactions with the environment -- including trying to read the information stored -- affect the qubits so that they change from a pure quantum state to a mixed state. This is known as decoherence and any reading taken from this state will be wrong. Various techniques have been developed to avoid decoherence including one by Gershenfeld and Chuang that makes use of a chemistry technique called nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy.

Hewlett-Packard can be reached at +1-800-752-0900 and is available online at http://www.hp.com. MIT is online at http://web.mit.edu

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Gillian Law

Computerworld
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?