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Quantum Computing News: New Dynamic Decoupling Performance Method, Q# Update, Quantum Hype?, More

In just the past month or so, a number of interesting developments and insights in the realm of quantum computing have come to light. Following are some of the standouts.

  • Scientists at USC's Center for Quantum Information Science and Technology just announced a new theoretical method aimed at greatly improving quantum computing performance and stability. Dubbed "dynamic decoupling," the technique uses "tiny bursts of staccato energy pulses" upon superconducting qubits to disrupt the "ambient disturbances" that have been found to have a great impact on the sensitive nature of quantum calculations. Using this method, the USC scientists extended a controlled quantum state up to three times longer than usual, improving stability and reducing errors. "This is a step forward," commented Daniel Lidar, a professor of electrical engineering, chemistry and physics at USC and director of the center. "Without error suppression, there's no way quantum computing can overtake classical computing." The results were published in this paper.
  • In late October, Microsoft updated its Quantum Computing Development Kit -- aimed at helping scientists and IT pros bring quantum computing into practical applications -- to include several new features, including numerous updates to its Q# development language and a new quantum chemistry library. The kit is available to download for free here.
  • Toronto, Canada-based company Xanadu has announced PennyLane, what it describes as the first machine learning software dedicated to quantum computing. Seth Lloyd, Xanadu's chief scientific advisor, MIT professor and a founding figure in both quantum computing and quantum machine learning, commented in a press release: "We're going to see an explosion of ideas, now that everyone can train quantum computers like they would train deep neural networks [using PennyLane]." PennyLane is available on GitHub.
  • In November, IEEE Spectrum published an article on quantum computing that attracted a lot of attention: "The Case Against Quantum Computing." In it, physicist Mikhail Dyakonov argues, among other things, that the data manipulation required to make real-world quantum computing work is simply too intensive. "There is a tremendous gap between the rudimentary but very hard experiments that have been carried out with a few qubits and the extremely developed quantum-computing theory, which relies on manipulating thousands to millions of qubits to calculate anything useful," he said. "That gap is not likely to be closed anytime soon."

Posted by Becky Nagel on 11/29/2018