Vancouver-based quantum computer maker D-Wave Systems is the kind of company that often gets mixed reviews--either kudos for working on the very edge of a new and potentially groundbreaking technology, or dismissal for not exactly delivering the kind of Earth-shattering technology that people were perhaps expecting. Regardless, today D-Wave is marking one in the win column after announcing that it has achieved the world’s largest quantum computation using 84 qubits.
In a paper far too daunting for a Monday, researchers at the Air Force Research Lab (AFRL) have described a novel way to build a simple quantum computer. The idea: rather than using a bunch of finicky interferometers in series to measure the inputs and outputs of data encoded in photons, they want to freeze their interferometers in glass using holograms, making their properties more stable.
Submarines are excellent at avoiding detection. When submerged they are so far off the grid, in fact, that it’s difficult for them to stay in contact with the naval bases that supply them with orders and information, or for them to beam information back to base. But a new quantum communications solution could change all this, allowing submerged submarines to communicate via laser pulses by exchanging encryption keys and messages over satellites.
You probably saw that super viral quantum locking levitation video that bounced all over the Web last week (though technically it's been around since summer) in which a team of researchers plays with some liquid nitrogen, a small superconducting disc, and some strange quantum phenomenon that makes the disc hover above a magnet, no strings attached. This week's levitation vid taps a similar phenomenon known as the Meisnner effect to achieve this kind of levitation at a decidedly cooler scale: that of the hoverboard.
NASA’s Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) program has selected 30 proposals for future space technologies for funding, including schemes for orbital spaceflight refueling stations, electrostatic force fields to shield future astronauts from radiation, and various schemes for propulsion, long-term space habitation, and even 3-D printable spacecraft.
It’s common empirical knowledge that computing generates heat--go ahead, touch the bottom of your MacBook--but a new paper in the journal Nature claims that it doesn’t have to. In fact, under the right conditions, theoretical physicists say that deleting data can actually produce negative heat--that is, it can have a cooling effect. That’s right, this is a quantum mechanics post. Exit now if you don’t want a headache to start the weekend.
Like a long-distance romance, quantum entanglement is a fragile interaction; one moment, two particles can be sharing that special bond in which they are essentially one and the same, even when separated by vast distances. Then, just like that, the link can be broken. So the fact that Chinese researchers have set a new record by entangling eight photons at the same time--and then manipulating and observing them--is nothing short of amazing.
The very notion of quantum computing is a bit mind numbing, and the technology is so nascent that researchers aren’t even really sure of the best way to go about constructing a quantum computer. Nonetheless, D-Wave Systems Inc. has just sold one of its eponymous D-Wave One quantum computing systems to none other than Lockheed Martin, along with a multi-year contract to keep the thing working.
Physicists at the University of Geneva in Switzerland have devised a new kind of quantum experiment using humans as photon detectors, and in doing so have made the quantum phenomenon of entanglement visible to the naked eye for the first time.