Quantum Computing Has a Big ‘Noise’ Problem

Published on January 23, 2023

The issue with quantum computers is immense and is made up of numerous very small separate problems – and will take some time to resolve

IBM Q System One Quantum Computer at the Consumer Electronic Show CES 2020. Image: Boykov/Shutterstock.

These progressive machines offer the potential to revolutionize anything from finance to drug discovery by exploiting the strength of quantum uncertainty – rather than the bits used by laptops or mobiles, quantum computers operate with qubits, thus allowing them to carry out some tasks much faster than the usual computers and potentially better at replicating natural activities.

It should come as no surprise, therefore, that the tech industry’s biggest names, such as Google, Microsoft, and IBM, have been in a frenzied competition to create quantum devices. Nevertheless, the sector is still stuck in an era known as the “noisy-intermediate scale quantum” or NISQ. Today’s quantum computers are finicky, and any minor environmental interference can affect them. These computers are slow, limited in size, and not particularly precise, making them worthless presently.

Sabrina Maniscalco is attempting to bring about a shift. She co-founded and is the CEO of Algorithmiq, one of a few startups designing programming for the loud quantum computing systems we can access today. She states, “Creating computer programs and algorithms for these near-term devices is critical to make available and unlock practical industrial applications.”

Maniscalco, a professor of quantum information, computing, and logic at the University of Helsinki, is the company’s founder. She had been previously been in South Africa, Edinburgh, and Sicily before launching it. According to her, the purpose of the business was to discover the most effective uses for the early, rather noisy quantum computers.

Solving The ‘Noise’ Problem

Algorithmiq is endeavoring to find solutions to the issue of “noise” that affects quantum computers. This is not the sound of a fan but environmental alterations that can move qubits away from a fragile condition known as superposition. This state – which could generally be viewed as neither 0 or 1, but both at the same time – makes quantum computers so potent but also hard to construct.

Algorithmiq is developing intricate strategies to account for and reduce noise to allow early-stage devices to be used for tests. At the moment, they are focusing on chemistry simulations, a prospective usage of quantum computers due to their capacity to mirror the variability of nature.

The firm is gauging the efficiency of its noise reduction algorithms by creating simulations of molecules like dichromium, a compound that is uncomplicated enough to be run on existing quantum computers but intricate enough to demonstrate their potential.

The company, which recently declared a partnership with IBM, plans to extend these same principles to more complex structures, with potential uses such as drug discovery in the pharmaceutical industry. According to Maniscalco, Algorithmiq is “the first quantum biotech company.”



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