With the help of the quantum computer, scientists have opted for the ‘quantum internet’ to transfer data between computers
From Santa Barbara, California to Heifei, China, scientists are developing a new type of computer that will make today’s machines look like toys.
Taking advantage of the mysterious powers of quantum mechanics, technology will perform tasks that supercomputers have not been able to perform for thousands of years in a matter of minutes.
In the second half of 2019, Google introduced a pilot quantum computer, showing that this was possible. Two years later, a Chinese laboratory did the same.
But quantum computing will not reach its full potential without the help of another technological innovation. call “Quantum Internet” – a network of computers that can send quantum information between remote machines.
At Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, a team of physicists has taken a significant step towards this future computer network by using a technique called “quantum teleportation” to send data from quantum machines to three physical locations. Previously, this was only possible with two.
The new experiment indicates that scientists can extend a quantum network to more and more places. “Now we’re building small quantum networks in the lab,” said Ronald Hanson, a physicist at the University of Delft who oversees the team. “But the idea is to create a quantum internet someday.”
The research was published in an article in a scientific journal nature, Shows the power of a phenomenon that Albert Einstein once considered impossible. O quantum teleportation – The German scientist calls it a “terrifying remote action” – it can transfer information between locations without actually moving the stored physical matter.
This technology can profoundly change the way data is transmitted from one place to another. Quantum mechanics, the field of physics that controls the subatomic world and behaves differently from everything we experience in our daily lives, is based on more than a century of research. Quantum teleportation not only transfers data between quantum computers, it also does so in a way that no one can detect.
“This does not mean that quantum computers can solve their problem, it does not mean that they do not know what the problem is,” said Tracy Eleanor Northup, a researcher at the Institute for Experimental Physics at the University of Innsbruck. the problem is also being investigated.quantum teleportation.
“It simply came to our notice then. Google knows what you’re running on their servers, ”he says.
A quantum computer evaluates when some objects are very small (like an electron or a light particle) or very cold (like an exotic metal that cools near absolute zero, -273 ° C). In these situations, a single object can act as two different objects at the same time.
Traditional computers process “bits” of information into calculations, each bit being denoted by 1 or 0. Taking advantage of the strange behavior of quantum mechanics, a quantum bit (qubit) It can store a combination of 1 and 0, reminiscent of a spinning coin, which has the wonderful opportunity to turn heads or tails when it finally stops spinning and lands on the table.
This means that two qubits can represent four values at once, three qubits eight, four qub 16 and so on. As the number of Qubits increases, a quantum computer becomes exponentially more powerful.
Researchers believe that these devices could one day accelerate the emergence of new drugs, boost advances in artificial intelligence and quickly break the encryption that protects computers essential to national security. All over the world, governments, academic research labs, startups, and technology giants are spending millions of dollars researching technology.
In 2019, Google announced that its machine had achieved what scientists call “quantum supremacy,” which could do an impossible task for conventional computers. However, most experts believe that it will be many years before a quantum computer can do something useful and impossible for another quantum computer.
Part of the challenge is that a qubit decrypts information from it when you read it, or undergoes a process of “quantum inconsistency”; It becomes an ordinary bit capable of representing only 0 or 1, but not both, which creates machine errors. But by assembling many qubits and developing ways to protect against quantum inconsistency, scientists hope to build machines that are powerful and practical.
Ultimately, best of all, they would be integrated into networks that can send information between nodes (connection points), allowing it to be used anywhere, just as Google and Amazon’s cloud computing services have a relatively large processing power today.
But this comes with its own problems. Partly due to the inconsistency process, quantum information cannot be copied and transmitted over traditional networks. However, quantum teleportation offers an alternative.
Although it cannot move objects from one place to another, it can transfer information using a quantum property called a “barrier”: a change in the state of one quantum system immediately affects the state of another that is far away.
“Once entangled, it is no longer possible to describe these situations separately,” Tracy explained. “Basically, the systems will come as a single system,” he says.
These intricate systems can be electrons, light particles, or other objects. In the Netherlands, Hanson and his team used what is called a nitrogen-free center: a small hollow space in a synthetic diamond, where electrons can be trapped.
The group built three such quantum systems, called Alice, Bob and Charlie, and connected them to fiber optic wires along a line. Scientists were then able to confuse these systems by sending individual photons — light particles — between them.
First, the researchers intertwined two electrons: one from Alice and the other from Bob. In practice, electrons were given the same “spin” and were thus joined or entangled in a common quantum state, each storing the same information: a particular combination of 1 and 0.
The researchers were then able to transfer this quantum state to another qubit, to a carbon core, inside a synthetic diamond of Bob’s. By doing so, Bob’s electron was released, and the investigators were then able to mix it with another of Charlie’s electrons.
By performing a precise quantum operation on two of Bob’s qubits (the electron and the carbon nucleus), the researchers were able to glue the two knots together: Alice with Bob stuck with Bob with Charlie.
The result: Alice was also entangled with Charlie, which allowed the data to be teleported across the three nodes.
When data is transferred in this way, without actually traveling the distance between the nodes, they cannot be lost. “Information can come in one side of the connection and then appear on the other,” Hanson said.
The information could not be retrieved. A quantum internet of the future, driven by quantum teleportation, could offer a new type of encryption that could theoretically not be decrypted.
In the new experiment, the network nodes were not that far away, about 60 meters. But previous experiments have shown that quantum systems can become entangled at greater distances.
It is hoped that after several years of research, quantum teleportation will be feasible for many miles. “Now we’re trying to do this outside of the lab,” Hanson said. / TRANSLATION OF ROMINA CACIA