A Logical Solution for Quantum Computing: Interview with Yuval Boger, Chief Marketing Officer at QuEra

Quantum Computing

The entry of the “logical qubits” concept into the arena of quantum computing represents an enormous advance, not least in solving the noise problem that can corrupt computations and generate errors. Yuval Boger of QuEra gives an overview of the concept and highlights its potential practical benefits.

Congratulations on the recent breakthrough in quantum computing! Could you explain, in simple terms, what the discovery of logical qubits means and how it helps solve the problem of high error rates in quantum computing?

A critical challenge preventing quantum computing from reaching its enormous potential is the noise that affects qubits, corrupting computations before reaching the desired results. Quantum error correction overcomes these limitations by creating “logical qubits”, groups of physical qubits that are entangled to store information redundantly. This redundancy allows for identifying and correcting errors that may occur during quantum computations. By using logical qubits instead of individual physical qubits, quantum systems can achieve a level of fault tolerance, making them more robust and reliable for complex computations.

The announcement mentions the sensitive nature of atoms causing high error rates. How does the concept of grouping qubits into logical qubits address this sensitivity and improve the stability and reliability of quantum computers?

Quantum error correction has been developed to counteract this sensitivity. It involves grouping several physical qubits to form a single logical qubit. This approach significantly enhances the stability and reliability of quantum computers.

The concept of grouping qubits into logical qubits introduces redundancy, akin to the classical repetition code used in traditional computing. In a classical repetition code, information is replicated across multiple bits to protect against errors; similarly, in quantum error correction, the state of a logical qubit is distributed over multiple physical qubits. If one or some of the physical qubits experience an error, the overall state of the logical qubit can still be maintained and determined based on the remaining, unaffected physical qubits. This redundancy provides a buffer against individual qubit errors, leading to increased stability.

Quantum computers can therefore manage and mitigate the effects of errors more effectively, paving the way for more reliable and robust quantum computing systems.

Additionally, logical qubits allow for the implementation of error detection and correction algorithms. These algorithms can identify when and what type of error has occurred. Once an error is detected, specific quantum operations can be applied to correct it, restoring the logical qubit to its intended state. By using logical qubits, quantum computers can therefore manage and mitigate the effects of errors more effectively, paving the way for more reliable and robust quantum computing systems.

The collaboration with Harvard University, MIT, and NIST/UMD is highlighted in achieving quantum error correction in 48 logical qubits. Can you share with us how these partnerships contributed to this milestone?

The collaboration between Harvard University, QuEra Computing, MIT, and NIST/University of Maryland played a pivotal role in achieving this significant milestone in quantum computing.

Harvard University led the experiments, which were performed in the Harvard labs. QuEra supplied critical electronic components and know-how. QuEra, MIT, and Harvard are in a long-time close collaboration. In fact, QuEra was founded by several Harvard and MIT professors.

The term “logical qubits” might be new to many. Can you break down what logical qubits are and why achieving quantum error correction in 48 of them is such a big deal?

Logical qubits are groups of physical qubits that are entangled to store information redundantly. Until now, previous demonstrations of error correction have showcased one, two, or three logical qubits. Our research demonstrates quantum error correction in 48 logical qubits, enhancing computational stability and reliability while addressing the error problem.

This breakthrough has achieved the creation and entanglement of the largest logical qubits to date, enabling the detection and correction of arbitrary errors. Larger code distances imply higher resistance to quantum errors.

Additionally, our research showed for the first time that increasing the code distance indeed reduces the error rate in logical operations. By realising the use of 48 small logical qubits to execute complex algorithms, this research has surpassed the performance of the same algorithms when executed with physical qubits.

Moody’s Analytics recognises the potential to revolutionise data analytics and financial simulations. Can you provide a simple example of how everyday tasks, like data analysis or financial predictions, might be positively affected by this quantum computing breakthrough?

Moody’s Analytics’ recognition of the potential of quantum computing to revolutionise data analytics and financial simulations is a testament to the transformative power of this technology. To understand how quantum computing could positively affect everyday tasks like data analysis or financial predictions, let’s consider a simplified example:

Imagine a financial analyst working for an investment firm, tasked with predicting stock market trends to make informed investment decisions. In the classical computing world, the analyst relies on algorithms that process historical data, market indicators, and economic factors. However, as financial markets are incredibly complex and influenced by countless variables, classical computers can take a considerable amount of time to analyse data and often struggle with accurately predicting market behaviours, especially under volatile conditions.

Now, introduce quantum computing into this scenario. Quantum computers, with their ability to handle and process vast data sets simultaneously, can speed up this analysis or perform this analysis while considering a wider range of variables, and provide more nuanced insights into potential future market movements. This could lead to more accurate and timely predictions, enabling the investment firm to make better-informed decisions, manage risks more effectively, and potentially achieve higher returns.

Another example is the potential to enhance weather forecasting, which, especially in predicting the severity of major weather events, is a crucial application with far-reaching implications for consumers, as well as for insurance companies. Classical computers, currently used for weather modelling, face limitations due to the sheer complexity and dynamic nature of atmospheric systems. Quantum computers could allow for more precise and faster modelling of complex weather phenomena. Improved accuracy in forecasting the paths and impacts of events like hurricanes, tornadoes, and floods could lead to more effective emergency planning and response, ultimately saving lives and reducing property damage.  

How does this achievement accelerate the timeline for practical quantum applications in the short term, and what kind of applications could we see sooner than expected?

This announcement sets us on a path culminating in a system with 100 logical error-corrected qubits which we will have ready in 2026. This development, capable of deep logical circuits, will push quantum computing beyond the limits of classical simulation.

The unique transversal gate capability of logical qubits prevents error propagation across qubits, making them inherently error-resistant. They simplify quantum error correction by allowing errors to be corrected independently for each qubit. This system establishes the groundwork for error-corrected quantum computing.

The announcement mentions solving problems previously considered intractable by classical computing. Can you give an example of a problem that was once impossible to solve but may now be within reach thanks to this breakthrough?

One example of a problem that was previously considered intractable by classical computing but may now be within reach, thanks to the breakthrough in quantum computing, is the optimisation of large-scale logistics networks. Classical computers struggle with this problem due to its immense complexity and the exponential growth of possible solutions as the size of the network increases.

Quantum computers can explore a much wider range of potential solutions in parallel, significantly reducing the time it takes to identify the most efficient logistics plan.

Consider the scenario of optimising a global logistics network for a major shipping company. The company needs to determine the most efficient routes and schedules for its fleet of trucks, ships, and planes, considering numerous variables such as delivery deadlines, fuel costs, vehicle capacities, weather conditions, and traffic patterns. This is a classic example of a combinatorial optimisation problem, where the number of possible combinations of routes and schedules grows exponentially with each added variable, quickly becoming too vast for classical computers to analyse effectively.

Quantum computers can explore a much wider range of potential solutions in parallel, significantly reducing the time it takes to identify the most efficient logistics plan. This capability could lead to substantial cost savings, reduced environmental impact, and improved service quality for the shipping company.

Looking ahead, how do you see this impacting our daily lives? Are there specific areas or industries where the average person might see the positive effects of this quantum computing advancement?

Advancements in quantum computing are poised to impact our daily lives in several significant ways, particularly as this technology becomes more integrated into various industries and applications. Here are some specific areas where the average person might see the positive effects of quantum computing.

Healthcare and medicine: Quantum computing has the potential to revolutionise drug discovery and personalised medicine. By accurately simulating molecular interactions, quantum computers can help develop new medications and treatments more quickly and cost-effectively.

Financial services: Quantum computing can enhance risk assessment, portfolio optimisation, and fraud detection in the financial industry. This means more secure transactions, better financial products, and potentially lower costs for consumers. Improved financial models could also lead to more stable and efficient financial markets.

Supply chain and logistics: As mentioned earlier, quantum computing can optimise logistics and supply chains, making them more efficient and environmentally friendly. This could result in faster delivery times, lower costs, and reduced carbon footprint for the products we use every day.

Weather forecasting and climate research: Quantum computing can provide more accurate and timely weather forecasts, helping us better prepare for natural disasters. It can also enhance climate modelling, leading to more-informed decisions about environmental policies and practices.

Energy sector: Quantum computing can optimise energy production and distribution, leading to more efficient use of renewable resources and a reduction in energy costs. This could accelerate the transition to sustainable energy sources, benefiting both the environment and consumers.

Executive Profile

Yuval Boger

Yuval Boger is the CMO of QuEra, the leader in neutral atom quantum computers. He served as CEO and CMO of frontier-tech companies in markets including quantum computing software, wireless power, and virtual reality. In “The Superposition Guy’s Podcast”, he hosts thought leaders in quantum computing, quantum sensing, and quantum communications to discuss business and technical aspects that impact the quantum ecosystem.

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