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Control may solve quantum reliability problem

An Australian company thinks it knows how to overcome the innate unreliability of quantum computers.

"Quantum systems are extremely fragile," University of Sydney professor of quantum physics and quantum technology Michael Biercuk told the locknote audience at Oracle CloudWorld Sydney.

"Everything around tends to destroy the quantum information we're trying to store", through a process known as decoherence.

The result is that the likelihood of a hardware error is around 0.1% per qubit. So a 1000-qubit system — a size thought to be sufficient to do useful work — would be expected to encounter one error for every step in its program, he explained.

Q-Ctrl — founded and led by Professor Biercuk — thinks it has a solution for this problem.

To explain the company's approach, he drew a parallel with the Wright Brothers, who were the first to achieve manned, powered, controlled flight. Where others were trying to design an inherently stable aircraft, they realised that the answer was the ability to control the plane in every axis.

Q-Ctrl, which received one of the first investments made by Main Sequence Ventures - is developing quantum firmware - is developing quantum firmware to suppress this problem.

Its Black Opal product is "coming soon," according to the Q-Ctrl website.

Disclosure: The writer attended Oracle CloudWorld Sydney as a guest of Oracle.


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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.


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