Sunday, August 30, 2015

Professor Michelle Simmons : Leading Australia’s Quantum Future

2015 CSIRO Eureka Prize for Leadership in Science

Professor Michelle Simmons is Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Quantum Computation and Communication Technology Centre, based at the University of New South Wales awarded 2015 CSIRO Eureka Prize for Leadership in Science for Leading Australia’s quantum future.

[caption id="attachment_633" align="aligncenter" width="600"]Professor Michelle Simmons : Leading Australia’s Quantum Future           Professor Michelle Simmons : Leading Australia’s Quantum Future[/caption]
 Leading Australia’s quantum future

Australia’s position at the forefront of the developing field of quantum computing is at least partly due to the leadership shown by Professor Michelle Simmons.
Professor Simmons is Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Quantum Computation and Communication Technology Centre, based at the University of New South Wales.

Under her leadership, the team has:

  • Developed the world’s smallest transistor, built of one single atom.

  • Built the world’s smallest silicon wires, a thousand times narrower than a human hair.

  • Independently controlled quantum components only a few millionths of a millimetre apart.

For her leadership, passion, commitment and energy devoted to advancing the field of quantum computing in Australia, Professor Simmons has been awarded the CSIRO Eureka Prize for Leadership in Science.

“The 180 researchers of the Quantum Computation and Communication Technology Centre, which Professor Simmons established and leads, are ensuring Australia’s success in what will become a multi-billion dollar industry,” Kim McKay AO, Executive Director and CEO of the Australian Museum said. “Their success is a tribute to Professor Simmons’ demonstrated passion, commitment and energy,” she said.

Professor Simmons achievements are legendary in the Australian science community. She is:

  • One of the youngest and one of the first female physicists elected as a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science (2006).

  • An Australian Research Council Laureate Fellow (2013).

  • One of very few researchers to have won two Australian Research Council Federation Fellowships (2003 and 2008).

  • A Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2014).

Established in 1827, the Australian Museum is the nation’s first museum and one of its foremost scientific research, educational and cultural institutions. The Australian Museum Eureka Prizes are the most comprehensive national science awards, honouring excellence in Research and Innovation, Leadership, Science Communication and Journalism, and School Science.

The other finalists were:

  • Professor Snow Barlow (University of Melbourne) for policy and research leadership in the field of climate change.

  • Rosie Hicks (Australian National Fabrication Facility), for leading national collaboration in Australia’s scientific infrastructure.

For more information about all the winners

News Source Release : 2015 CSIRO Eureka Prize for Leadership in Science

Image Credit :

Thursday, August 20, 2015

The General Availability of the 1000+ Qubit D-Wave 2X Quantum Computer

New system has twice the qubits of the D-Wave Two and new benchmarks demonstrate increasing performance advantage over specialized highly tuned algorithms on classical systems

Palo Alto, CA
August 20, 2015

D-Wave Systems Inc., the world's first quantum computing company, today announced the general availability of the D-Wave 2X™ quantum computing system. The D-Wave 2X features a 1000+ qubit quantum processor and numerous design improvements that result in larger problem sizes, faster performance and higher precision. At 1000+ qubits, the D-Wave 2X quantum processor evaluates all 21000 possible solutions simultaneously as it converges on optimal or near optimal solutions, more possibilities than there are particles in the observable universe. No conventional computer of any kind could represent this many possibilities simultaneously, further illustrating the powerful nature of quantum computation.

[caption id="attachment_625" align="aligncenter" width="480"]The General Availability of the 1000+ Qubit D-Wave 2X Quantum Computer                      The General Availability of the 1000+ Qubit                                                            D-Wave 2X Quantum Computer[/caption]

The D-Wave 2X demonstrates a factor of up to 15x gains over highly specialized classical solvers in nearly all classes of problems examined. Measuring only the native computation time of the D-Wave 2X quantum processor shows performance advantages of up to 600x over these same solvers.

Jeremy Hilton, vice president of processor development at D-Wave, said, “The D-Wave 2X marks the latest step forward in our aggressive performance trajectory. Our first system, the D-Wave One™ system, was the first scalable quantum computer, but was slower than general-purpose optimization software. The next generation D-Wave Two™ system significantly outperformed the general-purpose optimization software, but was only comparable to specialized highly tuned heuristic algorithms. With the D-Wave 2X system we have surpassed the performance of these specialized algorithms, providing incentive for users to develop methods to harness this revolutionary technology for their own applications.”

To showcase the performance of the new system, a paper outlining benchmark results for a set of problems native to the D-Wave 2X system will be posted to the arXiv. A summary of the results and a link to the paper are on the company’s blog.

The benchmark includes a set of synthetic discrete combinatorial optimization problems intended to be representative of real world challenges.  Some application challenges currently under study at D-Wave involve algorithms that tune stock portfolios or underlie machine learning used in bioinformatics, inductive logic programming, and natural language processing and computer vision.

“D-Wave continues to advance the state-of-the-art of quantum computing at a rapid pace, with a number of impressive application results, and the release of their 1000 qubit D-Wave 2X system is another major milestone in the industry,” said Earl Joseph, IDC program vice president for HPC. “Complementing today’s high performance computing systems, quantum computers will likely become an important tool to solve important problems that can’t be solved today.”

In addition to scaling beyond 1000 qubits, the new system incorporates other major technological and scientific advancements. These include an operating temperature below 15 millikelvin, near absolute zero and 180 times colder than interstellar space. With over 128,000 Josephson tunnel junctions, the new processors are believed to be the most complex superconductor integrated circuits ever successfully used in production systems. Increased control circuitry precision and a 50% reduction in noise also contribute to faster performance and enhanced reliability.

The D-Wave 2X system is available immediately for shipment and installation.

About D-Wave Systems Inc.
D-Wave Systems is the first quantum computing company. Its mission is to integrate new discoveries in physics, engineering, manufacturing, and computer science into breakthrough approaches to computation to help solve some of the world’s most complex challenges. The company's quantum computers are built using a novel type of superconducting processor that uses quantum mechanics to massively accelerate computation. D-Wave’s customers include some of the world’s most prominent organizations including Lockheed Martin, Google and NASA. With headquarters near Vancouver, Canada, D-Wave U.S. is based in Palo Alto, California. D-Wave has a blue-chip investor base including Bezos Expeditions, BDC Capital, DFJ, Goldman Sachs, Growthworks, Harris & Harris Group, In-Q-Tel, International Investment and Underwriting, and Kensington Partners Limited. For more information, visit:

News Release Source : D-Wave Systems Announces the General Availability of the 1000+ Qubit D-Wave 2X Quantum Computer

Image Credit : D-Wave Systems

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Australian Physicists Solve Quantum Tunneling Mystery

Australian Physicists Solve Quantum Tunneling Mystery

An international team of scientists studying ultrafast physics have solved a mystery of quantum mechanics, and found that quantum tunneling is an instantaneous process


28 MAY 2015

An international team of scientists studying ultrafast physics have solved a mystery of quantum mechanics, and found that quantum tunneling is an instantaneous process.

[caption id="attachment_621" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Australian Physicists Solve Quantum Tunneling Mystery Professor Anatoli Kheifets' theory tackles ultrafast physics.                                                   Image Credit : Stuart Hay, ANU[/caption]

The new theory could lead to faster and smaller electronic components, for which quantum tunneling is a significant factor. It will also lead to a better understanding of diverse areas such as electron microscopy, nuclear fusion and DNA mutations.

"Timescales this short have never been explored before. It's an entirely new world," said one of the international team, Professor Anatoli Kheifets, from The Australian National University (ANU).

"We have modelled the most delicate processes of nature very accurately."

At very small scales quantum physics shows that particles such as electrons have wave-like properties - their exact position is not well defined. This means they can occasionally sneak through apparently impenetrable barriers, a phenomenon called quantum tunneling.

Quantum tunneling plays a role in a number of phenomena, such as nuclear fusion in the sun, scanning tunneling microscopy, and flash memory for computers. However, the leakage of particles also limits the miniaturisation of electronic components.

Professor Kheifets and Dr. Igor Ivanov, from the ANU Research School of Physics and Engineering, are members of a team which studied ultrafast experiments at the attosecond scale (10-18 seconds), a field that has developed in the last 15 years.

Until their work, a number of attosecond phenomena could not be adequately explained, such as the time delay when a photon ionised an atom.

"At that timescale the time an electron takes to quantum tunnel out of an atom was thought to be significant. But the mathematics says the time during tunneling is imaginary - a complex number - which we realised meant it must be an instantaneous process," said Professor Kheifets.

"A very interesting paradox arises, because electron velocity during tunneling may become greater than the speed of light. However, this does not contradict the special theory of relativity, as the tunneling velocity is also imaginary" said Dr Ivanov, who recently took up a position at the Center for Relativistic Laser Science in Korea.

The team's calculations, which were made using the Raijin supercomputer, revealed that the delay in photoionisation originates not from quantum tunneling but from the electric field of the nucleus attracting the escaping electron.

The results give an accurate calibration for future attosecond-scale research, said Professor Kheifets.

"It's a good reference point for future experiments, such as studying proteins unfolding, or speeding up electrons in microchips," he said.

The research is published in Nature Physics.

News Release Source : Physicists solve quantum tunneling mystery

Paving the way for a faster quantum computer

Paving the way for a faster quantum computer

Physicists from the University of Vienna and the Austrian Academy of Sciences have demonstrated a new quantum computation scheme in which operations occur without a well-defined order.

10. August 2015

Unordered quantum computation: improved efficiency

A team of physicists from the University of Vienna and the Austrian Academy of Sciences have demonstrated a new quantum computation scheme in which operations occur without a well-defined order.  The researchers led by Philip Walther and Caslav Brukner used this effect to accomplish a task more efficiently than a standard quantum computer. Moreover, these ideas could set the basis for a new form of quantum computing, potentially providing quantum computers with an even larger computational speed-up. Their results will be published in an upcoming issue of "Nature Communications".

[caption id="attachment_617" align="aligncenter" width="817"]Paving the way for a faster quantum computer Quantum mechanics does not only allow superposition of quantum states but also superposition of quantum gates. It was shown that superimposing two quantum gates A and B, an unordered quantum computation can run more efficiently than a well-defined order quantum computation.                                                               Image Credit: Philip Walther Group. University of Vienna.[/caption]

Since its conception, quantum mechanics has defied our natural way of thinking, and it has forced physicists to come to grips with peculiar ideas. Although they may be difficult to digest, quantum phenomena are real. What’s more, in the last decades, scientists have shown that these bizarre quantum effects can be used for many astonishingly powerful applications: from ultra-secure communication to hacking existing secure communications, and from simulating complex quantum systems to efficiently solving large systems of equations.

One of the most exciting and most difficult proposed quantum technologies is the quantum computer.  Quantum logic gates are the basic building blocks of a quantum computer, but constructing enough of them to perform a useful computation is difficult. In the usual approach to quantum computing, quantum gates are applied in a specific order, one gate before another. But it was recently realized that quantum mechanics permits one to "superimpose quantum gates". If engineered correctly, this means that a set of quantum gates can act in all possible orders at the same time. Surprisingly, this effect can be used to reduce the total number of gates required for certain quantum computations.

All orders at once

A team led by Philip Walther recently realized that superimposing the order of quantum gates, an idea which was theoretically designed by the group of Caslav Brukner, director of the Institute for Quantum Optics and Quantum Information - Vienna, could be implemented in the laboratory. In a superposition of quantum gate orders, it is impossible – even in principle – to know if one operation occurred before another operation, or the other way around.  This means that two quantum logic gates A and B can be applied in both orders at the same time. In other words, gate A acts before B and B acts before A. The physicists from Philip Walther’s group designed an experiment in which the two quantum logic gates were applied to single photons in both orders.

The results of their experiment confirm that it is impossible to determine which gate acted first – but the experiment was not simply a curiosity. "In fact, we were able to run a quantum algorithm to characterize the gates more efficiently than any previously known algorithm," says Lorenzo Procopio, lead author of the study. From a single measurement on the photon, they probed a specific property of the two quantum gates thereby confirming that the gates were applied in both orders at once. As more gates are added to the task, the new method becomes even more efficient compared to previous techniques.

The Way Forward

This is the first time that a superposition of quantum gates has been implemented in the lab. At the same time, it was used to successfully demonstrate a new kind of quantum computing. The scientists were able to accomplish a computation with an efficiency that cannot be achieved within the old scheme of quantum computing. This work opens a door for future studies on novel types of quantum computation. Although its full implications are still unknown, this work represents a new, exciting way to connect theoretical research on the foundations of physics to experimental quantum computing.

Publication in "Nature Communications":

"Experimental Superposition of Orders of Quantum Gates"

Lorenzo M. Procopio, Amir Moqanaki, Mateus Ara├║jo, Fabio Costa, Irati Alonso Calafell, Emma G. Dowd, Deny R. Hamel, Lee A. Rozema, Caslav Brukner, and Philip Walther

News Release Source : Paving the way for a faster quantum computer

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

John Stewart Bell Prize 2015 for Trailblazing Quantum Research Awarded to Quantum Physicist Professor Rainer Blatt

Ranier Blatt wins Bell Prize for trailblazing quantum research

Award conferred at Conference on Quantum Information and Quantum Control at the University of Toronto


On August 20th, 2015, world-renowned quantum physicist Rainer Blatt will be awarded a prestigious prize for his contributions to the development of quantum information technologies, during the Conference on Quantum Information and Quantum Control being held at the Fields Institute at the University of Toronto.

[caption id="attachment_612" align="aligncenter" width="500"]John Stewart Bell Prize 2015 Awarded to  Quantum Physicist Rainer Blatt John Stewart Bell Prize 2015 Awarded to Quantum Physicist Rainer Blatt[/caption]

The fourth biennial John Stewart Bell Prize for Research on Fundamental Issues in Quantum Mechanics and Their Applications, administered by U of T's Centre for Quantum Information & Quantum Control, has been awarded to Professor Blatt, of the University of Innsbruck, by an arms'-length selection committee of international experts, "for his pioneering research on quantum information processing with trapped ions, in particular, for the recent demonstrations of analog and digital quantum simulators and quantum logic gates on a topologically encoded qubit."

A computer that exploits the strange features of quantum theory is extraordinarily more powerful than any silicon-based computer. This discovery of the mid 1990's triggered a race to develop so-called quantum computers. One of the most promising technologies for quantum computation is trapped ions (i.e. charged atoms). Professor Blatt is a pioneer and leader in this technology.

Professor Blatt will accept the award and deliver a lecture about his work, open to the public, at 1:30 pm on Thursday August 20th, in the main auditorium of the Fields Institute. More information about the Bell Prize can be found at and more information about the conference is at

News Release Source : Ranier Blatt wins Bell Prize for trailblazing quantum research

Information about Professor Ranier Blatt :

Image Credit :

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

1QBit Awarded as Technology Pioneer by World Economic Forum

1QB Information Technologies (1QBit) Awarded as Technology Pioneer by World Economic Forum

  • The World Economic Forum today announced its selection of the world’s 49 most promising Technology Pioneers 2015

  • 1QBit, which develops software for quantum computers, made it to the selection as the only Canadian company

  • US and UK-based companies make up 80% of awardees • The full list of recognized Technology Pioneers can be viewed here

GENEVA—August 5, 2015—1QBit, the world’s first quantum computing software company, was awarded today as one of the World Economic Forum’s “technology pioneers”, a selection of the world’s most innovative companies. 1QBit was founded by Andrew Fursman and Landon Downs in Vancouver, Canada and is supported by a strong network of investors including the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, D-Wave Systems, and the Royal Bank of Scotland. The organization is dedicated to connecting the power of quantum computation to real-world industry applications.

[caption id="attachment_608" align="aligncenter" width="500"]1QBit Awarded as Technology Pioneer by World Economic Forum 1QBit Awarded as Technology Pioneer by World Economic Forum[/caption]

1QBit was chosen by a professional jury among hundreds of candidates as one of the 49 selected companies. Thanks to this selection, 1QBit will have access to the most influential and sought-after business and political network in the world, and be invited to the World Economic Forum’s “Summer Davos” in Dalian, China this September, and the January Annual Meeting in Davos.

“We’re glad to see a Canadian company make it to the selection,” says Fulvia Montresor, Head of Technology Pioneers at the World Economic Forum. 1QBit is part of a group of entrepreneurs who are more aware of the crucial challenges of the world around them, and who are determined to do their part to solve those challenges with their company.”

As in previous years, American-based entrepreneurs continue to dominate the list of technology pioneers: they account for more than two-thirds of the recipients, followed by the United Kingdom (4), Israel and the Netherlands (2), and individual recipients from Canada, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Sweden, and Taiwan.

The Technology Pioneers were selected from among hundreds of applicants by a selection committee of 68 academics, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and corporate executives. Notable members of the committee include Arianna Huffington (founder, Huffington Post) and Henry Blodget (editor-in-chief, Business Insider). The committee based its decisions on criteria including innovation, potential impact, working prototype, viability, and leadership.

Past recipients include Google (2001), Wikimedia (2007), Mozilla (2007), Kickstarter (2011), and Dropbox  More information on past winners can be found here.

For more information regarding this press release, please contact Peter Vanham, Media Lead, Technology Pioneers, at, or +41 79 620 91 29.

The World Economic Forum is an international institution committed to improving the state of the world through public-private cooperation in the spirit of global citizenship. It engages with business, political, academic and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas.

Incorporated as a not-for-profit foundation in 1971 and headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, the Forum is independent, impartial and not tied to any interests. It cooperates closely with all leading international organizations (

1QBit explores new ways to tackle the most difficult computational problems, then applies those techniques to solve real-world challenges by creating software for quantum processors. For more information, visit

News Release Source : 1QB Information Technologies (1QBit) Awarded as Technology Pioneer by World Economic Forum

Image Credit :

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Quantum Behavior of Mini Magnets Unraveled

Superconducting qubit and magnetic sphere hybrid

Quantum behavior of millimeter-sized magnets unraveled

Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology

Researchers in the University of Tokyo have demonstrated that it is possible to exchange a quantum bit, the minimum unit of information used by quantum computers, between a superconducting quantum-bit circuit and a quantum in a magnet called a magnon. This result is expected to contribute to the development of quantum interfaces and quantum repeaters.

[caption id="attachment_600" align="alignleft" width="500"]Quantum Behavior of Mini Magnets Unraveled Quantum Behavior of Mini Magnets Unraveled[/caption]





Illustration of magnet-qubit coupled system A magnet (ytterium iron garnet; YIG) and a superconducting qubit are placed with a separation of 4 cm. The electric field in the cavity interacts with the qubit, while the magnetic field interacts with the magnet. At an extremely low temperature of around -273 degrees centigrade, magnons, i.e., quanta of the fluctuations in the magnet, coherently couple with the qubit through the electromagnetic field of the cavity.


Magnets, often used in our daily life, exert a magnetic force produced by a large number of microscopic magnets – the spins of individual electrons – that are aligned in the same orientation. The collective motions of the ensemble of spins are called spin waves. A magnon is a quantum of such excitations, similar to a photon as a quantum of light, i.e., the electromagnetic wave. At room temperature the motions of electron spins can be largely affected by heat. The properties of individual magnons have not been studied at low temperatures corresponding to the “quantum limit” where all thermally-induced spin fluctuations vanish.

The research group of Professor Yasunobu Nakamura at the University of Tokyo Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology has succeeded for the first time to couple a magnon in a magnet to a photon in a microwave cavity at an ultralow temperature near absolute zero (-273.14 degrees centigrade). They observed coherent interaction between a magnon and a microwave photon by placing a millimeter-sized ferromagnetic sphere made of yttrium iron garnet in a centimeter-scale microwave cavity.

The research group furthermore demonstrated coherent coupling of a magnon to a superconducting quantum-bit circuit. The latter is known as a well-controllable quantum system and as one of the most promising building blocks for quantum processors. The group placed the magnet together with the superconducting qubit in a cavity and demonstrated exchange of information between the magnon and superconducting qubit mediated by the microwave cavity.

The results will stimulate research on the quantum behavior of magnons in spintronics devices and open a path toward realization of quantum interfaces and quantum repeaters.


Yutaka Tabuchi, Seiichiro Ishino, Atsushi Noguchi, Toyofumi Ishikawa, Rekishu Yamazaki, Koji Usami, Yasunobu Nakamura, "Coherent coupling between a ferromagnetic magnon and a superconducting qubit", Science Online Edition: 2015/7/10 (Japan time), doi: 10.1126/science.aaa3693.
Article link (Publication)

News Release Source : Superconducting qubit and magnetic sphere hybrid

Image Credit : Copyright 2015 Yutaka Tabuchi