Researchers Develop Silicon Chip Architecture Designed for Quantum Computers
Silicon-based semiconductor computing is expected to stay around for quite a while, but it seems to be destined to be replaced by Quantum Computing in the future. Quantum Computers aren’t expected to replace conventional electronic computers as mainstream consumer products any time in the next decade or two, bar a technological miracle, but it is being pushed closer to becoming a more viable and practical technology.
One team of researchers looking to accelerate the globalization of quantum computing come from University of New South Wales, who have designed a chip architecture for use in quantum computers that actually uses the modern electronics building block: silicon.
Electronic computers use bits that represent zero or one to transfer, receive, and store information. Quantum computers on the other hand use qubits – units of digital information that can represent both zero and one at the same time. This allows a quantum computer to perform highly parallel operations and algorithms at an exponentially faster rate than a conventional computer.
However, in order to use these qubits, they need to be manipulated and the errors need to be corrected. The architecture developed by the research team at University of New South Wales is capable of doing this by sandwiching an array of qubits between two grids of wires. Applying selective voltages to these wires allowed them to control the qubits and 2D surface code error corrections could be made faster than the errors appear.
The design of this architecture is compatible with current atomic-scale fabrication techniques, and could be eventually brought up to work with millions of qubits for a full-scale, working quantum processor.
Of course, you shouldn’t expect one to be released tomorrow after reading this interesting development, but quantum computing may have just shortened the life of modern computers by half a dozen years.
Source: University of New South Wales