Superconductor experts at Fermilab lead efforts to build revolutionary quantum computers
+ Taking a multidisciplinary approach, working in collaboration with 19 scientific, academic and industrial partners, Fermilab is posed to make revolutionary breakthroughs in quantum science far beyond what is currently possible. Its new Superconducting Quantum Materials and Systems Center was selected in August to receive $115 million federal dollars over the next five years.
+ They’re working to build the world’s most advanced quantum computer — a machine that promises unparalleled computing power to deliver solutions to complex problems within seconds instead of years, according to SQMS Deputy Director James Sauls, Ph.D., a physicist with Northwestern University.
The Fermilab National Accelerator Laboratory, just west of Chicago, is leading one of five national centers to advance quantum computing — a move to speed up computational science and technology while harnessing vast new levels of information. + Fermilab has already fabricated the highest coherence times for superconducting resonators. Now, they are hoping to apply this theory and machinery to advance quantum computing. If they reach this milestone, scientists would be on track to spearhead a full quantum computer of extraordinary power — with 100 qubits — within five years.
+ Quantum computers differ from traditional computer systems at an elementary level. The basic unit for computing and information processing in traditional computers is called a “bit”, which can exist as one of two distinct states: zero and one. Quantum computers are instead based on quantum bits, or “qubits”. Qubits can be at either voltage state — or a combination of the two. Processing at this “superposition” state is what would give quantum computing its technological edge because its qubits can complete exponentially more operations as traditional bits.
+ The SQMS Center’s primary research goal is to lengthen the duration a qubit exists in the engineered combination state like the superposition. This is one of today’s most pressing questions in quantum information science because of its direct relationship to greater computing power and processing speed. Scientists call this the qubit’s coherence.
+ The current state of the art technology gives qubits a coherence of 38 microseconds. A microsecond is one millionth of a second. It becomes difficult for atoms to hold the superposition state any longer than this because they’re embedded in a busy environment with factors such as radiation and thermal energy.
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