July 05, 2022

Quantum Processor Computes Millennia in Moments

Imagine waking up, and finishing all your day’s work, chores and other responsibilities in the literal blink of an eye. A team of Canadian scientists achieved just that using a quantum computer chip.

The researchers, hailing from Xanadu Quantum Technologies based in Toronto, Ontario, developed a Quantum Processing Unit (QPU) – named “Borealis” – which massively outperformed a conventional supercomputer: what would have taken the supercomputer and traditional algorithms approximately 9 000 years to computate, took the QPU a mere 36 microseconds.

Conventional computers work with two units of binary data, ones and zeroes; whereas Borealis is significantly faster as it utilises three units: ones, zeroes, and “both”. Essentially, QPUs can test each solution before using it, while regular processing units must identify if each solution is either true or false.

The Borealis system uses photons – focused beams of light – rather than superconducting materials or ions for non-linear processing. Since most modern communication systems depend on optical hardware, this holds the potential for leapfrogging technological advances in the foreseeable future.

The authors claim that this is “a critical milestone on the path to a practical quantum computer”, as it is difficult finding a practical use for QPUs in their current form.

Still, they’ve chipped in making the future come sooner, rather than later.