• April 2012
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Quantum Computer Built Inside a Diamond

 USC News (04/04/12) Robert Perkins

University of Southern California (USC) scientists and a team of researchers have built a quantum computer in a diamond to demonstrate the viability of solid-state quantum computers.  The quantum computing system featured two quantum bits, known as qubits, made of subatomic particles.  The researchers took advantage of the impurities in the diamond, using a rogue nitrogen nucleus as the first qubit, and a flawed electron as the second qubit.  The researchers say the diamond-based quantum computer is the first to incorporate decoherence protection, using microwave pulses to continually switch the direction of the electron spin rotation.  The researchers demonstrated that the diamond-incased system operates in quantum fashion by seeing how closely it matched Grover’s algorithm, which is a search of an unsorted database.  Their system was able to find the correct answer as part of Grover’s algorithm on the first attempt about 95 percent of the time.  The researchers say the future of quantum computing may reside in solid-state quantum computers because they can be easily scaled up in size, in contrast to earlier gas- and liquid-state systems.


UK’s Fastest Supercomputer to Be Built in Halton

Runcorn and Widnes (04/05/12) Oliver

Ellis Daresbury Laboratory will be the site of the fastest supercomputer in the United Kingdom. The Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) announced that it plans to build one of the world’s top software research centers, using the most powerful hardware from IBM. The supercomputer is expected to reach speeds of 1.4 petaflops. According to the International Center of Excellence for Computational Science and Engineering (ICE-CSE), the goal is to make high-performance computing (HPC) accessible for U.K. industry. A representative for Daresbury Laboratory says HPC can aid research and innovation, which companies need to compete effectively. The research center will provide the ability to simulate complex systems, such as mapping the human brain or modeling the earth’s climate. “The ICE-CSE is a key component of the government’s e-infrastructure initiative,” says professor John Womersley, chief executive of STFC. “It is also essential to the U.K. maintaining its position as a major innovative economy and a global scientific research leader.”