The 2023 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics is shared by four individuals who have made a series of contributions considered “fundamental work in the field of quantum information”.

The Breakthrough Prize is the largest science prize in the world, with each prize worth $3 million, to be shared among its recipients. First awarded in 2012, its founders are Sergey Brin, Priscilla Chan, Julia and Yuri Milner and Mark Zuckerberg. Prizes in mathematics, life sciences and fundamental physics are awarded each year to scientists and mathematicians chosen by committees of previous winners and are widely considered the “Oscars” of science because before the pandemic they have was presented in a lavish, televised ceremony in Silicon Valley.

There are four recipients of the 2023 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics who all made their contribution to the current state of quantum computing some time ago.

David Deutsch became known as the “father of quantum computing” by proposing a theoretical machine to test the existence of parallel universes in his paper “Quantum Theory as a Universal Physical Theory”, published in 1985. Subsequently, he developed this beginning by defining the quantum version of a Turing machine – a universal quantum computer – and proved that it could simulate with arbitrary precision any physical system obeying the laws of quantum mechanics. He showed that such a computer is equivalent to a network of surprisingly few quantum gates – logic gates that take advantage of entanglement and quantum superposition of many states at once and provided descriptions of quantum bits, or qubits. And, of course, it was Deutsch who wrote the first quantum algorithm that would outperform the best equivalent classical algorithm.

The other well-known algorithm for quantum computing is Peter Shor’s algorithm for factoring large numbers exponentially faster than any classical algorithm and was the first algorithm to demonstrate the potential utility of quantum computing in the future. Shor also devised error correction techniques in quantum computers, which is much more difficult to do than in classical computers, where simple redundancy suffices.

According to the Breakthrough Prize announcement:

*These ideas not only paved the way for the rapidly developing quantum computers of today; they are now also at the frontiers of fundamental physics, notably in the study of metrology – the science of measurement – and quantum gravity.*

The award cites the field of quantum information and it was the two other recipients of the award, Charles H. Bennett and Gilles Brassard, who with their BB84 protocol pioneered quantum cryptography by designing a practical way to send messages secrets between users who do not share any secrets. information first. Unlike the methods commonly used in e-commerce, it cannot be interrupted even by an indiscreet endowed with unlimited computing power.

The ad comments:

*Their 1993 discovery, with collaborators, of quantum teleportation showed that entanglement is a useful quantifiable resource despite the lack of communication capability of its own, helping to launch the new science of quantum information processing. .*

In 2020, Shor, Brassard and Bennett shared the BBVA Frontiers Of Knowledge award for their outstanding contributions to the field of quantum technologies and you can read more about how both strands of their work could advance quantum computing in our report on this. here.

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