1.1 Quantum Computing Introduction

Quantum Computing Instrumentation

Welcome – In today’s presentation we will take a cursory look at some of the instruments used in Quantum Computing research, and the properties that are most consequential. As a provider of pulse and signal generators for almost 60 years, we are quite proud to provide some of the best technology for today’s research in Quantum Computing. 

The primary limitation of today’s computer is Speed, because modern-day computers use strings of bits (0s or 1s) to encode data. In processing large amounts of data (i.e. weather data, large statistical equations, etc) modern computers and even supercomputers are not fast enough to crunch those numbers in acceptable timeframes. Consider for example that a modern-day computer will take about 2 minutes to decode a 256-bit encryption key, but with a 512-bit key, it will take that same modern computer over 1 million billion years. So how can we do that 512-bit key encryption in about 2 weeks ? Let me introduce the “Quantum Computer”.

Like modern computers, Quantum computers are designed to solve problems. The difference is the way they manipulate data to get answers. One departure from traditional 0s and 1s bit processing is the use of new principles of probability. These are principles studied in quantum mechanics like superposition and entanglement, the idea that things are related by probability concepts. The most simple example is a coin flip - while it is in the air, it is both heads and tails, with some probability of each. Once it lands and is observed, it now carries 100% probability of one outcome, and 0% of the other. What if we could use the results of the coin flip before it hits the ground ? This principle is superposition

Quantum entanglement is a phenomenon in which quantum entities are generated and manipulated such that none of them can be wholly described without referencing the others. A quantum computer leverages entanglement between qubits and the probabilities associated with superpositions to carry out a series of operations (algorithm) such that certain probabilities are enhanced and others depressed.

Two critical factors making the work in quantum computing so difficult are maintaining qubits in a quantum state and maintaining entanglement between qubits.

The better these operations can be carried out, the higher their fidelity. However, balancing the required isolation with necessary interaction is extremely challenging.