Quantum computing, no cooling required

first_imgIt’s a challenge that’s long been one of the holy grails of quantum computing: how to create the key building blocks known as quantum bits, or qubits, that exist in a solid-state system at room temperature.Most current systems, by comparison, rely on complex and expensive equipment designed to trap a single atom or electron in a vacuum and then cool the entire system to close to absolute zero.A group of Harvard scientists, led by Professor of Physics Mikhail Lukin and including graduate students Georg Kucsko and Peter Maurer and postdoctoral researcher Christian Latta, say they’ve cracked the problem, and they did it by turning to one of the purest materials on Earth: diamonds.Using a pair of impurities in ultra-pure, laboratory-grown diamonds, the researchers were able to create quantum bits and store information in them for nearly two seconds, an increase of nearly six orders of magnitude over the life span of earlier systems. The work, described in the June 8 issue of Science, is a critical first step in the eventual construction of a functional quantum computer, and has a host of other potential applications.“What we’ve been able to achieve in terms of control is quite unprecedented,” Lukin said. “We have a qubit, at room temperature, that we can measure with very high efficiency and fidelity. We can encode data in it, and we can store it for a relatively long time. We believe this work is limited only by technical issues, so it looks feasible to increase the life span into the range of hours. At that point, a host of real-world applications become possible.”In addition to a practical quantum computer, Lukin envisions the system being used in applications that include “quantum cash” (a payment system for bank transactions and credit cards that relies on the coding of quantum bits to thwart counterfeiters) and quantum networks (a highly secure communications method that uses quantum bits to transmit data).“This research is an important step forward in research toward one day building a practical quantum computer,” said Kucsko, who works in Lukin’s lab and is one of two first authors of the paper. “For the first time, we have a system that has a reasonable timescale for memory and simplicity, so this is now something we can pursue.”The groundwork for Lukin’s breakthrough was laid several years ago, when researchers discovered that nitrogen-vacancy (NV) centers, atomic-scale impurities in lab-grown diamonds, behave in the same way as single atoms. Like individual atoms, each center possesses a spin, which can be polarized, similar to on a bar magnet. Using lasers, researchers are able not only to control the spin, but to detect its orientation as it changes over time.But the idea of using the NV centers to form the backbone of a quantum computer simply wasn’t practical, largely because they can only hold data for about one-millionth of a second before their quantum properties — and any data they may have held — are lost.The culprit, Lukin said, was another impurity in the diamond crystal.In initial experiments, the team used diamonds that contained 99 percent carbon-12 atoms, which have no spin. The remainder, however, was made up of carbon-13 atoms, a tricky isotope that contains a spin in the atom’s nucleus. Though weak, the interaction with those spins was causing the NV centers’ short life spans.With this latest research, however, Lukin and his team turned what was once a challenge — the interaction between the NV center and carbon-13 atoms­ — to their advantage.“The nuclear spin of the carbon-13 makes an ideal quantum bit, because they are very isolated,” Lukin said. “Because they interact with so few outside forces, they have relatively long coherence times. Of course, the same properties that make them ideal qubits also make them difficult to measure and manipulate.”The solution Lukin and his team came up with was surprisingly elegant. Rather than trying to find a way to measure the spin of the carbon atoms, they used the NV center to do it for them.Working with researchers at Element Six, a British-based company that specializes in manufacturing artificial diamonds, they developed a new technique to create crystals that were even more pure: 99.99 percent carbon-12. Researchers then bombard the crystal with nitrogen to create the NV center, which interacts with a nearby carbon-13 atom.The result of that interaction is that the NV center mirrors the state of the carbon atom, meaning researchers can encode a bit of information into the spin of the atom, then “read” that data by monitoring the NV center.“The system we’ve developed uses this very local probe, the NV center, to allow us to monitor that spin,” Lukin said. “As a result, for the first time, we can encode a bit of information into that spin, and use this system to read it out.”However, encoding information into the spin of the carbon-13 atom and reading it out using the NV center is only a step on the road to a quantum computer. To truly be useful, researchers had to determine how to take advantage of the atom’s quantum properties — that is, its ability to occupy two states simultaneously.That ability to be in two states at the same time is a key principle of quantum computers. As opposed to traditional computers, which encode bits of information as either zero or one, quantum computers rely on atomic-scale quantum mechanics to give quantum bits both values at once. That property, in theory, allows quantum computers to perform multiple computations in parallel, making them vastly more powerful than traditional computers, which perform operations in sequence.The solution, Lukin explained, was a two-step process.The first step is to cut the connection between the NV center and the carbon atom. Using massive amounts of laser light, researcher are able to effectively keep the NV center occupied and prevent it from interacting with the carbon atom. In step two, the diamond crystal is bombarded with a specific set of radio frequency pulses, suppressing the interaction between the carbon-13 atom and any nearby atoms.“By limiting interactions with the carbon-13 atom, we can extend the life of the qubit and hold the data for longer,” Lukin said. “The end result is that we’re able to push the coherence time from a millisecond to nearly two seconds.”Researchers at the California Institute of Technology and the Max-Planck-Institut für Quantenoptik also participated in the research. Funding was provided by the National Science Foundation, the Center for Ultracold Atoms, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Element 6, the Packard Foundation, the European Union, the Swiss National Science Foundation, and the Sherman Fairchild Foundation.last_img read more

Good idea: CLPs

first_imgBy Tony JohnsonUniversity of GeorgiaThe accountants, physicians, architects and engineers we rely onwhen we want the best are all certified. It only makes sense toturn to a certified landscape professional to plant or maintainyour landscape.Your landscape, after all, is a big investment. And it raises thevalue of your property. Fortunately, Georgia now has a number ofcertified landscape professionals through the Georgia CertifiedLandscape Professional program.The GCLP is endorsed and sponsored by the Georgia Green IndustryAssociation, Metro Atlanta Landscape and Turf Association andGeorgia Turfgrass Association. It’s run by the University ofGeorgia Center for Urban Agriculture in Griffin, Ga.Twice a year, landscapers enrolled in the GCLP come to Griffin tothe UGA Research and Education Garden, where they’re tested ontheir skills in landscape practices and plant selection.Making the gradeIf they pass these tests, they become certified landscapetechnicians. To become certified landscape professionals, theymust pass written exams, too, on landscape management,installation and pest diagnosis.But the learning doesn’t stop there. Each CLP is required tobecome recertified every three years, mainly through trade shows,workshops, seminars and other educational programs.Earning these credentials identifies them as the best in theirprofession. A homeowner who hires a CLP is choosing someone whohas a working knowledge and mastery of all aspects of landscapemanagement.All CLPs are tested on using landscape design plans, selectingplants for landscape conditions, identifying plants and properlyplanting and caring for landscape plants. They must be competentin identifying and diagnosing pests, applying pesticides, usingequipment and evaluating installation and maintenance jobs.Testing covers the best management practices, too, for reducingnonpoint-source pollutants from home landscapes and for waterconservation in landscape systems.Find a CLPThere are now 125 CLPs in Georgia. They’re scattered fromBlairsville to Augusta to Tybee Island to Tifton. Most are in ornear Metro Atlanta. Another 300 landscape professionals, however,are registered for the program and are now testing to becomecertified.If you want a CLP for your landscape needs, check the listing onthe “Georgia Certified Landscape Professional Program” Web siteat www.ces.uga.edu/GCLPP.htm.The same site provides contact information for landscapers whowant to become certified and join the ranks of the best of theirprofession.(Tony Johnson is the Research and Education Gardenhorticulturist with the University of Georgia College ofAgricultural and Environmental Sciences.)last_img read more

Binghamton University drafts plan for return to campus, seeks input

first_imgVESTAL (WBNG) — Binghamton University is asking its community for input on its plan for students to return to campus in the fall. After Thanksgiving Break, all classes will be held online until Dec. 7. This is also the last day of classes. If finalized, the school will suspend observance of Labor Day, Yom Kippur and Fall Break. BU says this move is to discourage students from traveling, but students who wish to observe Yom Kippur will need to be accommodated by faculty. A feedback form is located at the bottom of the page. The academic year will begin on Aug. 26 as scheduled but classes of 45 students or greater will be held online exclusively. Additionally, students will be told not to travel outside of Broome County on the weekends and not hang out in groups of more than 10. The university has drafted a plan detailing what the academic year will look like for its students, faculty and staff with an emphasis on safety. The university says final exams will be replaced with “frequent assessments” throughout the semester. For more information, go to the university’s website by clicking here.last_img read more

Property developer Andalan Sakti shares soar 70% in stock market debut

first_img“Business potential in the real estate sector [is good] considering that the growth of housing demand continuously increases, driven by population growth, which increases significantly every year,” Andalan Sakti president director Suwandi Notopradono said in a written statement. Suwandi added that buying a house was seen as a form of investment as prices for houses always increased over the years. Through its subsidiary company, PT Andalan Sakti Nusa (Ansa Land), Andalan Sakti plans to build the Casa Serpong housing project in Parung Panjang, Bogor. About 85 percent of the funds raised from the IPO will be allocated for Ansa Land’s working capital, while 15 percent will go to paying debts to the company’s shareholders. Ansa Land, a residential property development company predominantly developing properties in the Greater Jakarta area, was acquired by Andalan Sakti in 2013 and has since developed numerous property complexes, including the Royal Matoa Residence in Depok and the Arkamaya Residence in Tangerang.  Topics : Shares of property developer PT Andalan Sakti Primaindo (stock symbol ASPI) soared 70 percent at its stock exchange debut on Monday as the company sought funds from the market to develop green properties in Greater Jakarta.Andalan Sakti’s share price skyrocketed from Rp 105 to Rp 178 within three minutes after trading opened, indicating investors’ strong interest in the company’s prospects.The company will use most of the Rp 34.6 billion (US$2.5 million) proceeds from its initial public offering (IPO) earlier this month to develop green residential properties in the middle-to-lower income bracket around the capital.center_img “We are developing the Casa Serpong complex [in Bogor] with a green concept, a modern concept for millennials,” Andalan Sakti director Jansen Kustianto said on Monday. Jansen added that the company focused on attracting the middle-to-lower income market segment and would offer its housing units for Rp 350 million to Rp 400 million per unit.Ansa Land would offer lower down payments and cooperate with banks who would provide the mortgage loans (KPR) for its buyers, Jansen noted. Of the 500 units that are planned to be built within the 15 hectares land set aside for the Casa Serpong complex, some 100 units will be developed this year and the rest will be completed in the next three to five years, according to Jansen. Indonesia Stock Exchange (IDX) assessment director I Gede Nyoman Yetna said in his opening remarks on Monday that Andalan Sakti was the 14th company to be publicly listed in 2020 and the 680th company overall. “We will not stop encouraging companies to list themselves on the stock market. We have a saying: don’t wait until [the company is] big to enter the stock market, but grow big on the Indonesian stock market,” the assessment director said while encouraging the company to realize its strategic action plan with the proceeds it had gathered.  Andalan Sakti offered 48 percent of its total listed shares during its IPO or a sum of 330 million shares. Trading of the company’s shares was temporarily suspended on Monday as the prices exceeded the allowable increase limit for a single-day transaction as regulated in the exchange’s auto-rejection regulation. (ydp)last_img read more

Indonesian cocoa to see deep dip, second-worst globally: ICCO

first_imgIndonesia is predicted to see the second-deepest drop in cocoa production volume this season, compared to other producing countries, due to the pandemic pressure on demand and operation, according to the International Cocoa Organization (ICCO).The world’s sixth-largest cocoa producer will see output dip by 20,000 tons year-on-year (yoy) to 200,000 tons between the 2019 and 2020 season, which runs from October to September, according to an ICCO report made available to The Jakarta Post on Oct. 2.The decrease is the second-deepest behind Côte d’Ivoire and is on par with Nigeria, both of which are also among the world’s top 10 cocoa producing countries. “Cocoa production has generally shown resilience but concerns still remain as COVID-19 prevails,” writes the ICCO report published in August.Indonesia’s continuous rise in COVID-19 cases is a lingering risk for the country’s agriculture industry, which has helped cushion the pandemic’s impact on the economy. On Monday, the country recorded more than 307,000 confirmed cases of the virus.The sector, the second-largest contributor to Indonesia’s economy, managed to grow 2.19 percent yoy in the second quarter this year, while the economy shrank 5.32 percent yoy, according to Statistics Indonesia (BPS). Read also: Agriculture resilient to pandemic’s impactGlobally, cocoa farmers have faced COVID-19 health risks and supply setbacks as international lockdowns restricted the influx of manpower, fertilizer and seedlings to cocoa farms and plantations. Meanwhile, the weak global economy induced by the COVID-19 outbreak is also expected to have a negative impact on the demand for commodities, including cocoa, the report notes.The ICCO is forecasting a 1.2 percent yoy decline in worldwide production to 4.72 million tons for the 2019 to 2020 season, compared to the previous season.In Indonesia, the challenge for farmers has been receiving state-sponsored seedlings in a timely and precise manner, Indonesia Cacao Council (Dekaindo) chairman Dwiatmoko Setiono told the Post on Monday.“It’s better now, more so with subsidized fertilizer, but these programs need continuity and consistency,” he said.Indonesia’s top two cocoa producing islands are Sulawesi and Sumatra, which contribute nearly 90 percent of total output, Agriculture Ministry data show.On the demand side, Indonesia’s cocoa grindings – the industry’s benchmark to measure demand – is expected to dip by 7,000 tons yoy to 480,000 tons this season, ICCO data show.“Although at the time of writing economies were gradually opening, a speedy recovery is not expected,” says the ICCO of the global cocoa demand outlook.The fall in domestic cocoa demand is also driven by falling chocolate demand as retailers closed shop while Indonesian cities imposed large scale social restrictions (PSBB).A case in point, publicly-listed chocolate producer PT Wahana Interfood Nusantara (COCO) saw its sales drop by half due to the lockdowns. The company’s revenue fell 47 percent yoy to Rp 47.6 billion (US$3.2 million) during the January-June period.“Many malls were closed such that tenant COCO customers were unable to run as usual and thus, demand plummeted,” wrote the company in a letter to the bourse on Sept 1.The company, however, noted an uptick in online sales during the Idul Fitri holidays, when many Indonesians customarily bake pastries and cakes. Going forward, the Indonesian Cacao Industry Association (AIKI) expects cocoa demand to recover next year “to the same level as before the pandemic”, AIKI chairman Piter Jasman told The Jakarta Post via text message on Monday.“We see demand already rising again in the fourth quarter of 2020,” he said.Demand recovery, he continued, would be driven by improvements in people’s purchasing power, which would trigger higher demand for cocoa-based products from supermarkets and online marketplaces.Topics :last_img read more

DC charge cap could result in ‘inconsistent’ fee disclosure

first_imgWhen used by pension investors, the OCF charged by a fund vehicle would cover management charges, regulatory, audit and depositary fees and the cost of administration, the industry body suggested.However, it would exclude the cost of performance-related and brokerage fees, while any incurred transaction taxes would also need to be met through a separate payment.“With respect to the introduction of the charge cap for DC automatic-enrolment default strategies, we note the emergence of a new term, ‘Member Borne Deduction’ (MBD),” the paper said.“We urge the government, regulators and the pensions industry to use the term MBD only in the context of charge-cap compliance, not consumer disclosure.“This will help to facilitate the kind of consistent, intuitive messaging on charges that government, regulators and industry agree is necessary.”The report comes a week after the Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) published the final regulation surrounding the UK’s 0.75% charge cap.The final guidelines will see DC schemes that offer a guaranteed return exempted, but they also recommended that trustees ensure “low value” promises not be used as a way of avoiding the cap.Pensions minister Steve Webb has previously insisted trustees have a fiduciary duty to ensure charges are being levied as a result of decisions that are in a member’s interest.The government also recently pledged to explore whether members should have access to information about tendering of asset management contracts, which would potentially include greater transparency on fees.For more on asset management fees and how pension funds are tackling them, see a recent Special Report in IPE,WebsitesWe are not responsible for the content of external sitesLink to Investment Association paper on costs and charges The Investment Association has cautioned against describing management fees as a charge incurred by members unless discussing the UK’s forthcoming defined contribution (DC) charge cap, as it could lead to an inconsistent approach to the disclosure of costs.In a paper debating how the investment industry should disclose fees and charges, the association highlighted the use of the ongoing charges figure (OCF) as a metric for unit trusts and other funds over the total expense ratio (TER).The paper said it accepted pension funds were different from investment funds, and that there was no reason the OCF could not be extended.It argued that the use of the OCF would allow consumers to compare fund charges, but said it accepted the metric would need to be adapted to incorporate costs related to pension administration when used by trustees.last_img read more

Dearborn County joins neighboring counties with a travel advisory

first_imgLawrenceburg, IN—Dearborn County Board of Commissioners will place the County under an “orange” travel watch starting at 12:00 PM today.An orange (watch) travel status means that conditions are threatening to the safety of the public. During a “watch” local travel advisory, only essential travel, such as to and from work or in emergency situations, is recommended, and emergency action plans should be implemented by businesses, schools, government agencies, and other organizations.During this declared WATCH Travel Emergency Dearborn County citizens are notified that only travel authorized in Dearborn County is travel that is permitted. According to the ordinance, “Dearborn County citizens should be, and hereby are, notified that a person who knowingly, intentionally, or recklessly violates any provision of Governor Holcomb’s Executive Order 20-18 commits a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00) and a sentence of Zero (0) to One Hundred Eighty (180) days pursuant to Indiana Code § 10-14-3-34.”last_img read more

Different world for Zaha

first_img Although Zaha joined the Old Trafford outfit in January, in the process becoming Sir Alex Ferguson’s last signing as Red Devils boss, he spent the remainder of the season on loan back with his previous club Crystal Palace. It meant when he linked up with his team-mates for their current tour to the Far East and Australia he did not really know what to expect. But after three days in Bangkok, Zaha is now acutely aware of how big United are. Wilfried Zaha has admitted his eyes have been opened to a whole new world following his move to Manchester United. Press Associationcenter_img “It’s my first time on a tour like this,” he told MUTV. “I’m not used to it. To have so many fans coming to watch a pre-season game is different.” The England Under-21 star is making a positive impression, though. He might only have featured for the final half-hour of Saturday’s surprise defeat by the Singha All Stars but he was one of the better players on view and came closest to grabbing an equaliser for the Old Trafford outfit when he smacked a shot against the post. “I really just put my head down and tried to connect with the ball properly,” he said. “It would have been a different story if it had gone in. “I’m glad I had a go and it would have been a great day for me if I’d scored one. But it doesn’t matter now. Just knowing I was on the pitch with Rio (Ferdinand), Ryan Giggs and Anderson was good enough for me.” United flew straight out of Bangkok in the early hours of the morning and have now reached Sydney, where they will spend a week before facing the A-League All Stars in the second game of their five-match tour on Saturday. last_img read more

US PGA Championship called off its match in San Francisco due to coronavirus outbreak

first_imgLos Angeles: The US PGA Championship, scheduled to be held in San Francisco from May 11-17, has been postponed due to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.“Throughout our evaluation process, we have been committed to following the guidance of public health authorities and given the coronavirus shelter-in-place order in effect in San Francisco, postponement is the best decision for all involved,” said PGA of America CEO Seth Waugh in a statement.“This is a reflection of a thoughtful process.“We are and have been working in concert with Commissioner Jay Monahan and our partners and friends at the PGA TOUR to find an alternative date that works for all. We are all very hopeful for a great outcome,” he added.The US PGA Tour has also announced it was extending its own tournament moratorium.On March 12, the US tour had announced it was canceling or postponing four weeks’ worth of events on all six of its tours through April 5. Now, it will be on hiatus at least up to May 10.“With the most recent recommendations from the Centres for Disease Control, the World Health Organisation and the Office of the President of the United States, the PGA TOUR will now cancel four additional events: RBC Heritage (April 13-19); Zurich Classic of New Orleans (April 20-26); Wells Fargo Championship (April 27-May 3); and AT&T Byron Nelson (May 4-10),” read a statement.Over 100 people have lost their lives in the US due to the coronavirus pandemic, which has globally claimed over 7,000 lives. (IANS)Also Read: Patrick Reed Wins Northern Trust PGA Tournament by One ShotAlso Watch: KMSS leader Akhil Gogoi granted bail as NIA fails to submit charge-sheetlast_img read more