Canadian quantum computer company, Xanadu, has used its photonic quantum computer chip, Borealis, to solve a problem in 36 microseconds versus classical supercomputers taking 9000 years. This is 7884 trillion times faster. This runtime advantage is more than 50 million times larger than that of earlier photonic demonstrations.

An earlier quantum photonic computer used a static chip. The Borealis optical elements can all be readily programmed.

Borealis is accessible to anyone with an internet connection over Xanadu Cloud, and will also be available via Amazon Braket, the fully managed quantum computing service from AWS.

“With Borealis on Amazon Braket, for the first time, any researcher or developer will be able to validate a claim of quantum advantage and evaluate how photonic quantum computing may eventually expand their choice of compute technologies, enabling them to innovate more quickly,” said Richard Moulds, General Manager of Amazon Braket at AWS.

Xanadu is working with NVIDIA to provide native GPU support and high-performance computing (HPC) capabilities to the quantum computing researchers and developers working with Xanadu’s open-source software framework for quantum computing, PennyLane. The quantum computing community can now leverage cuQuantum through PennyLane. This collaboration provides PennyLane users with HPC-grade performance enabling them to tackle a wide range of problem scales on cloud platforms and supercomputers in a way that is simple, effective, and incredibly fast.

PennyLane offers a powerful and innovative differentiable programming approach to quantum computing. It seamlessly integrates classical machine learning libraries with quantum hardware and simulators, giving users the power to train quantum computers the same way as neural networks.

NVIDIA cuQuantum is a software development kit that consists of optimized libraries and tools designed to accelerate quantum computing workflows. NVIDIA GPU devices, coupled with cuQuantum, offer best-in-class performance for simulating quantum systems. Users can apply cuQuantum to accelerate standard quantum circuit simulations, as well as develop and test algorithms that may otherwise be intractable with standard tooling.

Xanadu solved a problem called Gaussian boson sampling. This is a benchmark for evaluating quantum computing prowess. The test, while extraordinarily difficult computationally, doesn’t have much impact on real-world problems. However, like chess or Go for measuring AI performance, it acts as an unbiased judge to examine quantum computing performance.

They used a photonic quantum device with 216 qubits. Xanadu’s architecture is modular and capable of scaling to one million qubits through optical networking. They are developing a manufacturable, fault-tolerant module consisting of four components that work together to generate, entangle, and process thousands of qubits.

They have a published blueprint for fault tolerant quantum computers.

Key Features of Xanadu Borealis
Cloud accessible with quantum-computational-advantage-level performance.
A quantum light source, with adjustable brightness, emits trains of up to 288 squeezed-state qubits.
Contains a fully programmable loop-based interferometer, synthesizing a large entangled state suitable for Gaussian Boson Sampling.
Reprogrammable⁠ — dynamically program the gate parameters according to your own task.
High-speed processing and readout by true photon-number-resolving detectors.

Free Tier
Access for everyone. Sign up for your Xanadu Cloud Free Tier account and get access to Xanadu’s hardware, software, educational resources — including US$1000 of computing credits for starter workloads.

5 million shots on Borealis quantum hardware for free.
10 million shots on X-Series quantum hardware for free.
Unlimited access to educational resources and tutorials.
Community forum support.

Nature – Quantum computational advantage with a programmable photonic processor

A quantum computer attains computational advantage when outperforming the best classical computers running the best-known algorithms on well-defined tasks. No photonic machine offering programmability over all its quantum gates has demonstrated quantum computational advantage: previous machines were largely restricted to static gate sequences. Earlier photonic demonstrations were also vulnerable to spoofing, in which classical heuristics produce samples, without direct simulation, lying closer to the ideal distribution than do samples from the quantum hardware. Here we report quantum computational advantage using Borealis, a photonic processor offering dynamic programmability on all gates implemented. We carry out Gaussian boson sampling (GBS) on 216 squeezed modes entangled with three-dimensional connectivity, using a time-multiplexed and photon-number-resolving architecture. On average, it would take more than 9,000 years for the best available algorithms and supercomputers to produce, using exact methods, a single sample from the programmed distribution, whereas Borealis requires only 36 μs. This runtime advantage is over 50 million times as extreme as that reported from earlier photonic machines. Ours constitutes a very large GBS experiment, registering events with up to 219 photons and a mean photon number of 125. This work is a critical milestone on the path to a practical quantum computer, validating key technological features of photonics as a platform for this goal.

SOURCES – Xanadu, Nature, Arxiv
Written by Brian Wang,

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