The Fault-Tolerance Threshold with Dorit Aharonov

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Welcome to another episode of The New Quantum Era Podcast hosted by Kevin Rowney and Sebastian Hassinger.
In this episode, we are joined by Dorit Aharonov, a professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and one of the pioneers of quantum computing. She's also the Chief Science Officer at QEDMA, a quantum startup based in Israel. Dorit is one of the major movers and shakers of quantum error correction and co-author of the important Threshold Theorem for quantum error correction. Kevin, Sebastian, and Dorit talk about her recent work on the theoretical foundations of random circuit sampling.

Key Takeaways:
[4:22] Dorit shares her path into quantum information and computing.
[8:27]  Dorit explains the threshold theorem in an easy-to-understand manner.
[16:35] The velocity of error correction versus the generation of errors in the computation could depend on physical implementation, or the algorithm. Maybe even both.
[18:53] A more powerful assertion Dorit makes is that there's a deeper connection between the phases of matter and the transition between solid and liquid and these quantum error correction thresholds.
[19:51] A lot of the foundations of classical error correction were laid down in the mid-40s in Von Neumann's work when the IAS system was being built. Dorit still sees the echoes of that.
[22:35] We might be witnessing a growing momentum around the powerful expression of new quantum error correction technologies.
[25:28] Dorit talks about the difference between error mitigation and error correction.
[26:55] Dorit explains the idea of the reset gate.
[30:22] It might be safe to say that challenges are primarily engineering in nature and that we have enough science to enable that engineering to get to fault tolerance.
[31:50] Dorit discusses a possible timeline for this engineering to get to fault tolerance.
[34:07] Is Dorit an NISQ optimist or a pessimist when it comes to real-world applications?
[39:21] Dorit addresses the difference between practical and asymptotic quantum advantage.
[41:30] Dorit shares what the paper on random circuit sampling shows.
[45:25] Dorit explains why the machine learning algorithms that were dequantized are  treacherous.
[49:56] Dorit shows optimism regarding the possibility of seeing evidence of a quantum event.
[52:25] Dorit admits to finding constructive interference between working in the industry and working on theoretical questions.
[53:50] Is there something Dorit is excited about in the next year or two that will be another step forward?
[56:50] Dorit talks about concrete examples of experiments and sensors that might be arriving thanks to quantum computing advancements.
[1:00:35] Sebastian and Kevin share the highlights of a fantastic conversation with Dorit.

Mentioned in this episode:
The New Quantum Era Podcast

Limitations of Noisy Reversible Computation Dorit Aharonov, Michael Ben-Or, Russell Impagliazzo, Norm Nisan
The Complexity of NISQ, Sitan Chen, Jordan Cotler, Hsin-Yuan, and  Jerry Li
A polynomial-time classical algorithm for noisy random circuit sampling Dorit Aharonov, Xun Gao, Zueph Landau, Yunchao Liu, Umesh Vazirani 

Tweetables and Quotes:
“Nobody actually believed that it was possible to correct errors that occur on quantum states because of the lack of reversibility. ” —  Dorit Aharonov

“it's a physics phenomenon… below a certain threshold, we can think of this as if the system is capable of some completely different behavior, like ice and water. It's just like a phase transition -- below that, there would be macroscopic entanglement and … ability to control large scale quantum correlations. And above it, this would not be possible.”  — Dorit Aharonov

Creators and Guests

Sebastian Hassinger🌻
Sebastian Hassinger🌻
Business development #QuantumComputing @AWScloud Opinions mine, he/him.
Dorit Aharonov
Dorit Aharonov is a professor at Hebrew University, the Chief Science Office at QEDMA, and a renowned quantum computer scientist who has made significant contributions to the field.
Omar Costa Hamido
Omar Costa Hamido
OCH is a performer, composer, and technologist, working primarily in multimedia and improvisation. His current research is on quantum computing and music composition, telematics, and multimedia. He is passionate about emerging technology, cinema, teaching, and performing new works. He earned his PhD in Integrated Composition, Improvisation and Technology at University of California, Irvine with his research project Adventures in Quantumland ( He also earned his MA in Music Theory and Composition at ESMAE-IPP Portugal with his research on the relations between music and painting. In recent years, his work has been recognized with grants and awards from MSCA, Fulbright, Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia, Medici, Beall Center for Art+Technology, and IBM.
The Fault-Tolerance Threshold with Dorit Aharonov
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