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Army launches program to advance quantum computing techniques for parallel processing

Posted by John Keller

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C., 25 June 2013. U.S. Army researchers are working with industry to break new ground in the field of quantum computing -- a new approach to high-performance parallel processing that represents bits of data as more than simply ones and zeros that holds broad potential for military digital signal processing.

The Research Triangle Park's segment of the Army Contracting Command-Aberdeen Proving Ground in Research Triangle Park, N.C., is issuing a broad agency announcement (W911NF-13-R-0010) for the Research in Quantum Computing program, which focuses on characterization and measurement of quantum computing.

A quantum computer is different from a traditional computer because it is not limited by using bits that can exist only in two states -- zero or one (on or off). Instead, a quantum computer uses quantum bits, or qubits, that can be zero, one, or any superposition of the two states at the same time.

A conventional computer can do three things with one bit: set it to one, set it to zero, or look at a different bit and use it to decide what value to give a different bit. Conventional computers do this process one bit at a time until a program is completed.

A quantum computer’s qubit exists as a one, a zero, or a superposition of the two states; this means it effectively is a one and a zero at the same time, which enables each step of a quantum computer to run all variations of each bit at the same time.

This ability to expand the dimensions of the data bit beyond ones and zeroes gives the quantum computer exponentially higher processing power than a conventional computer.

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The Research in Quantum Computing RFP has two separate topics: quantum characterization, verification, and validation; and advanced quantum computing measurement technology. Companies selected will receive contracts, grants, or cooperative agreements.

The quantum characterization, verification, and validation (QCVV) portion of the program seeks to develop theoretical and experimental techniques for characterizing few-qubit systems with a focus on metrics relevant to robust fault-tolerant quantum computation (FTQC).

The ultimate goal of this topic is to develop a set of standards and procedures, together with experimental demonstration, that will help characterize increasingly complex quantum information systems.

The advanced quantum computing measurement technology topic, meanwhile, seeks to demonstrate novel qubit measurement techniques for existing qubits.

Quantum computers use test and measurement in a variety of ways, such as for diagnostics while calibrating a quantum information system, tuning a process for optimal operation, and for final read-out of a quantum information process. Three performance parameters characterize quantum computing measurement techniques: speed, fidelity, resources.

Companies interested should respond with white papers no later than 10 July 2013, and with full proposals no later than 10 Sept. 2013. Email whit papers to Submit proposals online to

For questions or concerns phone the Army's Kevin Bassler at 919-549-4295. A .pdf of the full solicitation is online at

More information is online at

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