Researchers demonstrate new path to reliable quantum computation | 4/12/2019 | Staff
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Researchers at the University of Chicago published a novel technique for improving the reliability of quantum computers by accessing higher energy levels than traditionally considered. Most prior work in quantum computation deals with "qubits," the quantum analogue of binary bits that encode either zero or one. The new work instead leverages "qutrits," quantum analogues of three-level trits capable of representing zero, one or two.

The UChicago group worked alongside researchers based at Duke University. Both groups are part of the EPiQC (Enabling Practical-scale Quantum Computation) collaboration, an NSF Expedition in Computing. EPiQC's interdisciplinary research spans from algorithm and software development to architecture and hardware design, with the ultimate goal of more quickly realizing the enormous potential of quantum computing for scientific discovery and computing innovation.

Work - Context - Trade-off - Computer - Science

The work can be viewed in the context of a fundamental space-time trade-off that is common in computer science: Programs can be sped up by using more memory, or alternatively, programs can reduce memory requirements by incurring longer runtimes. But in the context of quantum computing, where near-term machines are severely constrained in both memory and runtimes supported, neither of these tradeoffs are acceptable.

The solution the EPiQC team discovered was to break the abstraction of using binary qubits. "While binary logic makes sense for the on-off physics underlying conventional computers, quantum hardware is not inherently binary," explains researcher Pranav Gokhale, a graduate student at the University of Chicago. In fact, states on a quantum computer belong to an infinite spectrum, so...
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