Creating fresh opportunities for progress in the world-wide race to realize the first large-scale quantum computer, the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) has funded a new project at the Research Laboratory of Electronics (RLE) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), fostering collaborative research in novel approaches that could enable dramatic advances in quantum computing. The RLE team, lead by Professor Isaac Chuang, will work closely with groups at Osaka University, led by Professor Shinji Urabe, and at NICT/Kansai Advanced Research Center, led by Dr. Kazuhiro Hayasaka, to achieve success in realizing microfabricated systems for trapped ion quantum computation.
A quantum computer is a machine that exploits the quantum-mechanical behavior of systems at nanometer length scales to process and communicate information in ways that are impossible for traditional computers based on classical laws of physics. One of the most intriguing possibilities of quantum computers is that if large-scale quantum computers can be built, these devices could solve certain computational problems far faster and more efficiently than current silicon transistor based machines. For example, quantum computers may allow the quick factorization of large numbers, which would have a profound impact on cryptography.
Said Jeffrey H. Shapiro, Director of RLE and Julius A. Stratton Professor of Electrical Engineering, “This new JST-RLE collaboration builds on the Laboratory’s expanding strengths in quantum computation and communication. RLE is the home to a growing presence of world-leading researchers in these important topics, exemplified by Professor Chuang joining us last year, and I am confident that his colleagues in Japan and he will work together to achieve remarkable results that will help us all reach the goal of creating the first large-scale quantum computer.”
Chuang, Associate Professor in both MIT’s Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and Department of Physics, has been at the forefront of this fast-developing research field. He earned widespread acclaim for demonstrating the world’s first 2‑qubit quantum computer in 1998 while at the University of California, Berkeley, the first 3‑qubit computer in 1999 while at IBM’s Almaden Research Center, and for leading the team that experimentally realized Shor’s quantum factoring algorithm on a 7‑qubit system in 2001. Professor Chuang joined RLE in 2005, and RLE is currently in the process of building and completing extensive new research facilities for his research in quantum information science.
The new JST-funded effort–the first of its kind at MIT–is part of JST’s Core Research for Evolutional Science and Technology (CREST) program, which in this area aims for enabling the technological infrastructure to realize quantum information processing as an innovating influence in communications technologies.