Microsoft boasts milestone in quantum computing: 800x better reliability


Quantum computers are one step closer to being practical at cracking encrypted communications or crypto wallets. Tech giant Microsoft and integrated quantum computing company Quantinuum claim an “unprecedented” breakthrough in quantum computing reliability, reducing error rates and physical qubits required for a single logical qubit by tenfold.

Microsoft and Quantinuum have “demonstrated the most reliable logical qubits on record,” according to a press release. The breakthrough was achieved by applying a qubit visualization system with error diagnostics and correction to Quantinuum’s ion-trap hardware.

“We ran more than 14,000 individual experiments without a single error. Furthermore, we demonstrated more reliable quantum computation by performing error diagnostics and corrections on logical qubits without destroying them,” Microsoft said.

To better understand this crucial milestone, previously, 300 physical qubits were required to create just four logical qubits on Quantinuum’s hardware. Now, the number has decreased 10-fold to just 30 physical qubits.

The two companies claim to have demonstrated an 800 times improvement between the physical and logical qubit reliability, representing “the largest gap” to date.

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“This massive compression of the code and efficient virtualization challenges a consensus view about the resources needed to do fault-tolerant quantum computing, where it has been routinely stated that a logical qubit will require hundreds, even thousands of physical qubits,” Quantinuum explains.

“Quantum computing has taken a major step into a new era, introducing reliable logical qubits which will soon be available to industrial and research users.”

Quantum computing, for the first time, advances to what is called the level 2 category “Resilient quantum computing.” Machines previously were categorized as level 1 or “Foundational.” The final stage at level 3 is “Scale,” when quantum computers will be able to solve impactful problems unachievable to classical supercomputers.

“With a hybrid supercomputer powered by 100 reliable logical qubits, organizations would start to see scientific advantage, while scaling closer to 1,000 reliable logical qubits would unlock commercial advantage,” Microsoft said.

Only 32 physical qubits are available on Quantinuum’s machine, producing 4 logical ones. The company expects to support at least 10 highly reliable logical qubits in 2025. Therefore, the achievement does not present any dangers to modern-day cryptography.

However, IBM debuted its first quantum computer with more than 1,000 physical qubits last year and plans on adding thousands of gates in the coming years, achieving scale quantum computing in 2027, according to the company’s roadmap.

In the short term, Quantinuum believes that organizations with a hybrid supercomputer powered by a hundred reliable logical qubits will be able to start to see scientific advantages and will be able to accelerate valuable progress toward some of the most important problems, such as modeling the materials used in batteries and hydrogen fuel cells or accelerating the development of meaning-aware AI language models.

Private previews of the new technology for researchers will be available via Microsoft’s Azure Quantum Elements in the next few months.


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