Researchers Adopt Innovative Method to Boost Speed and Accuracy of Traditional Computing:
Quantum computing has been hailed as a technology that can outperform classical computing in both speed and memory usage, potentially opening the way to making predictions of physical phenomena not previously possible.
Many see quantum computing's advent as marking a paradigm shift from classical, or conventional, computing. Conventional computers process information in the form of digital bits (0s and 1s), while quantum computers deploy quantum bits (qubits) to store quantum information in values between 0 and 1. Under certain conditions this ability to process and store information in qubits can be used to design quantum algorithms that drastically outperform their classical counterparts. Notably, quantum's ability to store information in values between 0 and 1 makes it difficult for classical computers to perfectly emulate quantum ones.
However, quantum computers are finicky and have a tendency to lose information. Moreover, even if information loss can be avoided, it is difficult to translate it into classical informationâ€”which is necessary to yield a useful computation.
[...] The scientists' results show that classical computing can be reconfigured to perform faster and more accurate calculations than state-of-the-art quantum computers.
This breakthrough was achieved with an algorithm that keeps only part of the information stored in the quantum stateâ€”and just enough to be able to accurately compute the final outcome.
"This work shows that there are many potential routes to improving computations, encompassing both classical and quantum approaches," explains Dries Sels, an assistant professor in New York University's Department of Physics and one of the paper's authors. "Moreover, our work highlights how difficult it is to achieve quantum advantage with an error-prone quantum computer."
[....] In seeking ways to optimize classical computing, Sels and his colleagues at the Simons Foundation focused on a type of tensor network that faithfully represents the interactions between the qubits. Those types of networks have been notoriously hard to deal with, but recent advances in the field now allow these networks to be optimized with tools borrowed from statistical inference.
The authors compare the work of the algorithm to the compression of an image into a JPEG file, which allows large images to be stored using less space by eliminating information with barely perceivable loss in the quality of the image.
Journal Reference:
Tindall, Joseph and Fishman, Matthew and Stoudenmire, E. Miles and Sels, Dries, Efficient Tensor Network Simulation of IBM's Eagle Kicked Ising Experiment, PRX Quantum, 5, 1, 010308, 2024 https://doi.org/10.1103/PRXQuantum.5.010308
(Score: 3, Informative) by bzipitidoo on Thursday February 29, @09:11PM
Quantum computing is definitely not analog. A superposition is not a value between 1 and 0, it is an unresolved probability of whether the quantum bit will collapse to a discrete value of 1 or 0. Schrodinger's cat is simultaneously dead and alive, it is not 20.1% dead and 79.9% alive (or any other percentage outside of 100% and 0%), it is all the way alive or all the way dead, but which is not known until the wave function collapses.
Quantum computing attempts to use this uncertainty to sway the probabilities so that when the quantum bits collapse into ordinary classical bits, they contain a correct answer. Somehow with quantum bits it is possible to test all possible answers simultaneously. The most well-known problem with a quantum algorithm is number factoring. There is no known way to find the factors of an arbitrary number with anything close to the short time it takes to determine whether a number has factors or is a prime, that is, without massive parallelism. If you had enough computers, you could figure out the factors very quickly. Just have each computer test with a different prime, from 2 to the square root of the number. Really large numbers would take ridiculous quantities of computers, but in principle it is possible. Quantum superposition may make it possible to, in effect, try all the potential factors simultaneously, on one computer.