MIT Venture Capital & Innovation Conference 2017
February 10, 2017, Cambridge, USA
MIT Venture Capital & Innovation Conference 2017
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Quantum computing explained with a deck of cards
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About speaker

Dario Gil
Director at IBM Research

Dr. Dario Gil is the Director of IBM Research, one of the world’s largest and most influential corporate research labs. The research division of IBM is a global organization with over 3,000 researchers across 12 laboratories and 21 locations devoted to advancing the frontiers of information technology. He is the 12th Director in its 74 year history. Prior to his current position, Dr. Gil was the Chief Operating Officer of IBM Research and the Vice President of AI and Quantum Computing, areas in which he continues to have broad responsibilities across IBM. Under his leadership, IBM was the first company in the world to build programmable quantum computers and make them universally available through the cloud. A passionate advocate of collaborative research models, he co-chairs the MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab, a pioneering industrial-academic laboratory with a portfolio of more than 50 projects focused on advancing fundamental AI research to the broad benefit of industry and society. Dr. Gil received his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from MIT.

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About the talk

We are moving rapidly toward quantum computing. How does the technology work and what does it mean for our future? Scientist Dario Gil, VP of Science and Solutions at IBM, provides clarity on this complex topic. David Morczinek gives the introduction.

00:00 Introduction

00:48 Particle Fever

02:07 Beautiful idea of Quantum Computers

04:08 A fundamental idea of Quantum Computers

06:30 Exploring an exponential number of states

07:26 Exponential scaling

09:13 Shor’s Algorithm

10:04 Quantum chemistry

11:04 Molecular dynamics, drug design, materials

11:28 Combinatorial optimization problems

11:50 New device defines a new computational system

13:17 IBM Quantum Processor

14:37 IBM Quantum Experience

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We have a very exciting last talk coming out. Tell me a joke will take us into a Quinn tomorrow's vice president of Science and solutions at IBM Research Way leads over 1500 engine is that that are researching a Technologies in physics math Healthcare life sciences and others think that's too far out. I'm very sure. He will tell us otherwise to come out and say space. Thank you. I was joking with Mark. We couldn't pick an easier topic to end the date on Quantum Computing, but

I'll try to make it, you know entertaining and hopefully easy to understand. I'm going to start with a reference to this term of beautiful ideas and it came from hosting a filmmaker about a year-and-a-half ago in the laboratory. I just showed you the TJ Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights and it was a filmmaker that directed this documentary called Particle Fever. I don't know if you've had a chance to watch but I highly recommend it is about the team that was pursuing the discovery of the Higgs boson in the

largest physics experiment ever conducted and a major character in the film is a professor from Stanford and at the beginning of the film. He said something that really captivated me. He said the thing that differentiates scientists is a purely artistic ability to discern. What is a good idea. What is a beautiful idea what is worth spending time on and most importantly? What is the problem that is sufficiently interesting get sufficiently difficult. It hasn't yet been solved by the time for solving it has come now.

So I want to tell you about this beautiful idea whose time for solving it has come now and that is the possibility to create quantum computers. If you look at how we have created the basis of the information revolution and you trace it back to other beautiful ideas, like what channel and taught us to think about the world of information abstractly if you look at, you know, an old punch card and DNA we've come to appreciate that both carry something in, they carry information and Shannon told his wallet bits could be the couple from

its physical implementation. It was really interesting. But in fundamental ways it went too far leaving too much physics out. So curious to scientists that work at IBM research Charlie Bennett on the ride continues to work in our laboratory and is an IBM fellow and they asked a question at the time of is a fundamental limit to how efficient number-crunching can be Computing can be And when they ask that question is his ass has the ended up with a very

surprising answer and I found the answer to be no return this out. The number crunching can be there about thermodynamically reversible. This led to an exploration of what is the relationship between physics and information and there was a famous conference. That was Junior organized between IBM research and MIT Endicott house where this topic was exploring more detail and the plenary speaker was none other than Richard Fineman. Fireman proposed in that conference that if you wanted to simulate nature, we should build a quantum computer.

And I can explain you what that means and how is created on the problems that it will solve but first I got to tell you what is a fundamental idea the fundamental idea just like we have bits in The Classical world that can be a 0 or a 1 in a quantum computer. You have qubits which stands for Quantum bits. Now the difference is that there can be a zero or one or both at the same time that exploit a principle of quantum physics called superposition and it sounds weird and crazy, but it's true.

Now to give you these and he's that you should feel when you talk about Quantum information on Quantum Computing. I'm going to give you a very simple example of an experiment that also happens to be true. So let's imagine that we're going to solve this problem the problem involve you have four cards one is different one is a queen. We Shuffle the cards. Can we put them face down and the problem we're going to solve together is find a queen. We're going to be assisted by two computers one is a classical computer one is a quantum computer.

So what we do is we turning down and we load them into memory. So we use for memory slots. The cars are identical we put zeros the one that has a queen we put a one right sonar for slot will have three zeros and one is at 1. We load them on the two computers. Now. We asked to write a program to find the queen find the one how would it be done classically? You would go and pick a random number. You don't know where it is you go. Look at that memory slot. See if it's a want if not you go to the next lot on someone and

someone said she would take you there quibbling up two and a half turns to find it. It turns out that way. 2 qubit quantum computer for this problem. You can always solve it in one shot. so that uneasy feeling that you have now should be an explanation that quantum computer is not just about building a faster computer. It is building something that is fundamentally different than a classical computer. now a way to think about it and abstraction of it is that a quantum computer is always going to have a classical computer next to it. They have to go together. So you

have a classical set of bits write the problem that you're trying to explore and what the quantum computers and allow you to do is to explore this exponential number of states this 2 to the N. Where n is the number of Cuba so you have so now we have relatively small quantum computers with uq bit, but just think of the number that by the time you have fifty cubits, you have to do the 50 states. That's a phenomenally large number. But Indiana to explore these numbers State you go back to a classical output a string of zeros and ones that you interpret with a normal computer.

So why is it interesting and I think in this audience, I don't need to you know, explain in great detail, you know, what exponential mean and why to the fifties a very large number but it's still I think it's an interesting way to communicate the power of this and I like to map it to some problems. But I like to go after these apocryphal story that actually IBM using the 1960s to explain to people the power of exponential's and it had to do with the person who invented chest that goes to the emperor and says, well, here's his wonderful game and asks, what do you want in return?

I'm the person who invented is give me a grain of rice on the first day for the first Square on the second day you give me twice as much a square 3rd a you give me a knock twice as much as the day before and then for a grease promptly that that seems reasonable and after a week you only have a hundred twenty-seven. After mom's you have more rights than you eat in your lifetime for sure. But just by the time you get to the end of the chessboard you have more rides than Mount Everest. so

there are a large number of problems in the world that have this characteristic that the blow up exponentially. I'm a dirty secret in the world of computing is that we obviously talked a lot about all the things that computers cancel and can solve a lot of things but then there is a lot of things that computers cannot stop. I'm very interesting week. They cannot solve it now nor ever. And the reason is because they have this exponential built into them. So take as an example this fairly simple equation

factoring. So if I have a number am that is made out of the multiplication of two large prime numbers. And I only give you a name and I asked you find me p.m. Q. It turns out that that is phenomenally difficult to solve. There's no other way about the divided self sequentially by prime numbers. So in fact is so difficult. We use it at the base of all the encryption. But if you had a very large Universal full color on quantum computer, which is many many years a way you could solve that problem in seconds. What

would take billions of years in a classical computer? That tells you something about the power of what is going to be possible. Take chemistry as a problem because it also has his correct heuristic that it blows up exponentially. If you try to calculated this equation that you see here is very interesting because it's a predicted to occur at the ocean floor near volcanic sites and things leaving hypothesize to be the basis of the formation of life on Earth. But if you take on molecule like you no iron sulfide and you

trying to do relatively simple calculations with a normal machine, it turns out that were not very accurate. And the reason is that molecules form when electron orbitals overlap and the calculation of each orbital requires a quantum mechanical calculation for that simple molecule you have on the order of 76 orbitals + 2 ^ 76 is intractable with a classical computer so we can not solve it. Again on this team of or assumptions that computer solve everything but they don't if you look at calculating for example, the bond length of a simple

molecules, why calcium on a fluoride we still get it off by a factor of two even using the largest supercomputers in the world? Give me this has been very interesting this recognition of all these problems we cannot solve. It's also true in optimization problems that are the basis of logistics and routing and do no portfolio optimization this tons and tons of problems in which a best we do approximation, but we're far from optimal because the number of possibilities is enormous. So if is one message I want to be able to come across is that

we have these easy problems, which is the World War II cycle computers fit and their problems would solve but then this is all their heart problems that go outside and if you don't believe that people's NP, which I would say the majority of mathematicians don't believe that that is the case of those problems are hard for a reason the only Avenue to go on tackle that aside from approximation will be to the creation of quantum computers. So, where are we? We believe that small practical quantum computers are going to be possible and we're building them now.

It requires Reinventing the whole stack the device is different. It's not the traditional transistors as an example. This is the device we use for the quantum computers that we created IBM based on superconducting Josephson Junctions and you're seeing an example of one of these devices is a superconducting device and because it's super conducting you have to cool it. So this is what a small quantum computer looks like what you're seeing here is something color dilution refrigerator and these Quantum processor seats at the bottom of this refrigerator. I did nice temperature of

15 million Kelvin. So that is colder than outer space where we have to put this one's on processor in this is what example of 16 qubit Quantum processor looks like and you know inside the you see the square with a cubit Aram you see the squiggly lines which is this cup and resonators that allow you to send the information on couple to the cubits to send the information. This is what the wiring looks like into the refrigerator going into a Quantum processor. Is he coaxial cables? And because the way you send information to a Quantum processor is to a

series of microwave pulses that go in and then you're able to take it out. Now if you look at pictures of what computers were like right in the 40s and the 50s, it's kind of like where we are today, right? That's what required to actually sent all those signals on the coaxial cables. He looks like that. But we've also seen this movie before in the sense that we know how much progress we have made from those early system. And what we don't anticipate that quantum computers will be on your phone because a required cryogenic

cooling. We definitely believe that access to quantum computers in the cloud will be something that people will be able to leverage behind the scenes even not knowing because we believe that we created a small quantum computer last year and we made it available to the world or something called the IBM Quantum experience and all of you can go on login and have access to this is available for free. It's a 5 cubed machine. And since we launched it we have over 36,000 users from over a hundred countries that have been doing it and you know 15 scientific Publications have

going on it and people are learning how to program and to learn about this new world and what is being created. And you can actually run things on this so I was telling you about this chemistry problems. So this is an example of the expected protocol calculation and the actual calculation on a Quantum machine of hydrogen. So we're starting to solve small problems. And what is coming in the years ahead in the next few years will be machines that no classical computer will be able to emulate Because by the time you have order of fifty cubits

Think about that that's true to the 50 states. I know classical machine will be able to emulate what that can do and that is new territory. And that's the territory. We're all going to enter a now is the most interesting part because he'll be the path of discovery of what we can do and what value we can create own problems we couldn't solve before. Tall clothes with fine men who proposes original idea of creating this Quantum machines and his you know, in the medieval style. He said nature isn't classical damn it. And if you want to make a simulation of nature you met you

better make it quantum mechanical and by golly the wonderful problem because he doesn't look so easy. Thank you.

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