Research pact aims to advance quantum computing

Hewlett-Packard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have announced a joint effort aimed at building quantum information systems.

The $2.5 million, four-and-a-half year quantum computing research project is part of an existing $25 million, five-year multi-faceted research alliance launched in June 2000, as well as a decades-long collaboration between the two organisations.

‘With HP’s success in molecular electronics research and MIT’s expertise in quantum computing, we have a powerful one-two punch for the advancement of quantum information systems,’ said HP Fellow Stan Williams, director of quantum science research, HP Labs.

Researchers from HP Labs in Palo Alto and Bristol, UK, will work with their counterparts in quantum computing from the MIT Media Lab – Professors Neil Gershenfeld and Issac L. ‘Ike’ Chuang – and Dr. Seth Lloyd, an Associate Professor at MIT’s Mechanical Engineering Department and a leading theorist of quantum computing.

‘HP helped launch physical science research at the Media Lab to look beyond the limits of conventional computing and ask how the bits of the digital world can best be integrated with the atoms of the physical world,’ said Gershenfeld, director, MIT Media Lab’s Physics and Media group and Things That Think consortium.

Quantum information systems, including quantum computers and molecular electronics, are said to represent a fundamentally new approach to processing information.

Within the next 10 years, molecular electronics is expected to begin to become available as a replacement for silicon-based computing technologies.

Looking further into the future, quantum computers are expected to provide the basis for theoretically perfectly secure communications, advanced searching techniques and efficiently simulating quantum mechanical systems.