How reality thwarts the hype of quantum computers

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Baidu is the newest participant in quantum computing race, has been going on for years among major tech companies and startups. However, quantum computing may face disillusionment as practical applications are still far from reality.

Baidu its quantum move

Last week, Baidu revealed Quantum computer, coined as Qian Shi, as well as what it claims to be the world’s first “all-platform integration solution”, called Liang Xi. Quantum computers are based on superconducting qubits, one of the first types of qubits that, among the many techniques that have been studied, have been widely adopted, most notably in the quantum computer that Google uses. to claim quantum supremacy.

Qian Shi has the ability to compute 10 qubits with high fidelity. High fidelity refers to low error rate. According to the Department of Energy’s Office of Science, once the error rate is below a certain threshold – that is, about 1% – the quantum error correction could theoretically be reduced even further. According to the DOE report, crossing this threshold is a major milestone for any qubit technology.

Furthermore, Baidu says it has also completed the design of a 36-qubit chip with couplers, providing a way to reduce error. Baidu says its quantum computer integrates hardware, software and applications. Software-hardware integration enables access to quantum chips through mobile devices, PCs, and the cloud.


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Furthermore, Liang Xi, Baidu claims, can be plugged into both its own and third-party quantum computers. This could include quantum chips built on other technologies, with Baidu offering up ionic device stuck developed by the Chinese Academy of Sciences as an example.

“With Qian Shi and Liang Xi, users can create Quantum Algorithm and utilize quantum computing power without developing their own quantum hardware, control systems or programming languages,” said Runyao Duan, director of the Institute of Quantum Computing at Baidu Research. “Baidu’s innovations make it possible to access quantum computing wherever you are, even through smartphones. Baidu’s platform is also instantly compatible with a variety of quantum chips.”

Despite the fact that Baidu claims to be the world’s first such solution, the Liang Xi platform is reminiscent of Israel Innovation agency approach, which also aims to be compatible with a wide variety of qubits.

Although this is Baidu’s first quantum computer, the company has filed more than 200 patents during the past four years since the founding of the quantum computer research institute. The patents cover various research areas including quantum algorithms and applications, communications and networks, encryption and security, error correction, architecture, measurement and control, and design. chips.

Baidu claims their offering paves the way for industrialization Quantum Computation, making it the latest company to make monumental claims that quantum computers are on the verge of widespread adoption. Several quantum startups have achieved staggering valuations of more than $1 billion.

However, practical applications for quantum computers, besides encode, has not appeared yet. And even if they do, it is expected that such things will require thousands of people, which is a far cry from what no one has yet been able to achieve. For example, this scalability concern has led to Intel stop pursuing the popular superconducting qubit approach in favor of less mature silicon and silicon-germanium qubits, based on transistor-like structures that can be manufactured using traditional semiconductor equipment .

However, the voice has emerged warning about excessive use technology. In the words of the Hype Gartner Cycle, this could mean that quantum computers could approach the bottom of disillusionment.

The other major challenge in quantum computing is that real qubits tend to be too noisy, resulting in fragmentation This leads to the need for the use of quantum error correction, which increases the number of qubits far beyond the theoretical minimum for a given application. One solution is called noisy intermediate-scale quantum (NISQ) has been suggested as a kind of midway, but its success has yet to be demonstrated.

The history of the classical computer is filled with examples of applications this technology enables that were previously unthinkable. It makes it tempting to think that quantum computers could similarly revolutionize civilization. However, most approaches to qubits are currently based on near absolute zero temperatures. This inherent barrier implies that quantum computing may still be limited for businesses.

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