The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL), in North Laurel, has been tapped by the Department of Energy to develop advanced quantum computing and networking technologies. The award is part of larger DOE effort to address basic research gaps in the ideas, methods and tools that connect quantum computing applications to hardware.

“We are still in the early stages of quantum computing. We have still not achieved quantum advantage, the point at which quantum computers outperform classical computers,” said Dave Clader, a theoretical physicist and principal investigator of the APL research team. “Despite this, hardware is scaling up and more near-term applications are being considered that may finally push us into the realm where quantum advantage is demonstrated.”

Because of this promise, Clader continued, there has been a considerable amount of research into algorithms and software development. “Unlike classical computing – where the hardware can be abstracted from a software engineer – an algorithm designer for near-term quantum hardware must have detailed knowledge of the underlying hardware, noise characteristics and architecture,” he said.

APL researchers – under an effort called TEAM, or Tough Errors Are no Match: Optimizing the Quantum Compiler for Noise Resilience – will explore advanced noise characterization and mitigation techniques, focusing on models that can be easily incorporated into quantum compilers in a hardware-agnostic manner.

“Uncontrolled noise is currently limiting quantum computers from reaching their full potential,” said Clader. “We are looking to integrate noise combating protocols into quantum compilers. This will enable quantum programmers to write noise-resilient quantum algorithms in an automated fashion that does not require the algorithm designer to understand the detailed noise characteristics of the hardware.”