DARPA ITO Sponsored Research

2001 Project Summary
Architectures and Applications for Scalable Quantum Information Systems
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Project Website: http://www.darpa.mil/leaving.asp?url=http://gonzo.media.mit.edu/public/web/group.php?type=researchGroup&id=43 -- Additional project information provided by the performing organization
Quad Chart: Quad Chart   provided by the performing organization
Objective: This is a collaborative computer science and physical sciences effort to design a complete system architecture for a realistic programmable, arbitrary-scale quantum computer. The project focus will be on developing system designs allowing fault-tolerance with minimum overhead, reaching towards two targets: a solid-state quantum computer, and application of quantum information to the real-world problems in secure distributed information storage.
Approach: This joint effort between MIT, U.C. Davis, and U.C. Berkeley will build on an existing informal collaboration, bringing together well known experts in classical computer architecture design and quantum computation, and facilities for large scale modeling and simulation, NMR experiments, and semiconductor nanostructure fabrication. The project goals are:
  • To design a complete architecture for a scalable solid-state quantum factoring engine.
  • To provide proof-of-principle experimental designs for the basic building blocks of a scalable quantum computer architecture.
  • To apply quantum information capabilities to secure and enhance the capabilities of the OceanStore distributed storage system. Recent FY-2001 Accomplishments: A digital signature scheme is a method for one person to create documents whose origin can be verified by one or more recipients. Much like a handwritten signature on a paper document, a digital signature authenticates an electronic document and ensures that it has not been tampered with. For instance, they can be used to sign legal documents electronically. Many digital signature schemes using classical cryptographic methods exist, but all rely upon unproven assumptions of computational difficulty; that is, an adversary with unlimited computational power can break any such scheme.
    Professor Chuang and his collaborator have recently invented a new method for creating digital signatures using quantum systems. Unlike prior methods, this quantum digital signature is absolutely secure. This scheme employs a public key, which is constructed from quantum bits, and a private key, which is a set of classical bits. Copies of the public key are distributed to a number of recipients in the first stage of the protocol. To sign a message, the sender reveals a portion of the private keys; since only she knows these, they authenticate her as the source of the message. The signature cannot be forged, and multiple recipients will always agree on the validity of a signature. FY-2002 Plans: The scope of this proposal is to lay the fundamental groundwork for scalable, reliable, general-purpose quantum computers. The plan for this work are divided into three major goals, each corresponding to efforts at a collaborating institution.
  • UC Davis will bear primary responsibility for establishing a general quantum computing architecture with practical error-correction overheads. We have the specific goal of developing a scalable design for a solid-state quantum computer capable of performing Shor's factorization algorithm on up to thousands of bits.
  • MIT will be the point of coordination among the three collaborating institutions. MIT will bear primary responsibility for three major aspects of this research: design of physical implementations of architectural components, new quantum information protocols, and new fault-tolerance algorithms.
  • UC Berkeley will bear primary responsibility for applications of quantum computing technology to the OceanStore system. In particular, Berkeley will identify critical OceanStore operations, design a quantum co-processor architecture, develop a security protocol for secure remote computation on untrusted servers, and develop protocols for protecting data access patterns.
    Our FY'02 specific plans focus on developing designs for quantum memories, arithmetic units, and other natural architectural components. A numerical simulation engine will be developed to evaluate and optimize the performance of these subsystems.  
    Technology Transition: This project is working closely with industrial partners in the research, including IBM (Yorktown and Almaden Research Centers), and with Hewlett-Packard basic research. The team also has regular communication, with laboratory industrial sponsors, including Motorola, B-D, and the U.S. Postal Service, via twice-a-year meetings of the Things That Think research consortium at the MIT Media Laboratory.
    Principal Investigator: Isaac Chuang
    Massachusetts Institute of Technology
    20 Ames Street; MIT Media Lab E15-435
    Cambridge, MA 02139
    617 253-0905
    617 253-0053 fax

    Frederic Chong
    Engineering Building II, Room 3031
    U.C. Davis Dept. of CS
    Davis, CA 95616
    530 754-9510

    John Kubiatowicz
    Soda Hall, Computer Science Division
    U.C. Berkeley
    Berkeley, CA 94270
    510 643-6817

    Murray Whitehead
    Massachusetts Institute of Technology
    20 Ames Street; MIT Media Lab E15-435
    Cambridge, MA 02139
    617 253-0905
    617 253-0053 fax

    Keith Odom
    MIT E15-2xx
    20 Ames Street
    Cambridge, MA 02139
    617 253-1169