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74 The PCB Design Magazine • April 2017 heard amongst the grapevine that some users were frustrated with your router at one point, but I know ActiveRoute might do some things to remedy that, but why would they use something more cumber- some and not as easy and elegant? Romine: It comes down to what we discussed in the last bullet point, which was that it was an executive mandate. In particular, we also find with the bigger market segments or business fo- cuses of some of our competitors that the PCB side is just to check a box. To say that they have that, too, and that they are a total solution pro- vider. Often times it's used as a lever to sort of add value to the bigger, more interesting piece of the business segment. However, what we have seen is the user space is changing with the younger generation of designers and engineers that are coming into the industry. They're much more familiar with finding information on the internet, and get- ting excited about a technology. Warner: How do you support such a broad user base? How do you support 5,000 seats after you've sold them? Romine: Well, we do it. Our whole sales and support operation is built around a transaction- al business model. Yes, the product is not inex- pensive, but we definitely do sell it in a trans- actional way. This ties into the documentation we provide, our online presence, but we have geographically located support engineers and we support these customers 100%. Warner: Interesting. Thank you so much. Romine: Thank you, Judy. PCBDESIGN How to reliably transfer quan- tum information when the con- necting channels are impacted by detrimental noise? Scientists at the University of Innsbruck and TU Wien (Vienna) have presented new solutions to this problem. Scientists have conducted quantum communication experi- ments for a long time. "Research- ers presented a quantum telepor- tation protocol already in the 1990s. It permits transferring the state of one quantum system to another by using optical photons," says Benoit Vermersch, postdoc in Peter Zoller's group at the University of Innsbruck. Superconducting qubits, in particular, are promising elements for future quantum tech- nologies. They are tiny circuits that can assume two different states at the same time. Contrary to conventional light switches that can be either turned on or turned off, the laws of quantum physics allow a qubit to assume any combination of these states, which is called quantum super- position. To transfer this quantum state from one superconducting qubit to another requires microwave photons, which are already used for classic signal transfer. Reliably transferring quantum information via a microwave regime has been considered impossible as the con- stant thermal noise completely superposes the weaker quantum signal. The two research groups have now shown that these obstacles are not impossible to over- come as previously assumed. In collaboration with teams from Harvard and Yale (USA) they have been able to develop a transfer protocol that is immune to the inevitable noise. "We cannot prevent the thermal noise that develops in the quantum channel," says Benoit Vermersch. "What is important is that this noise affects both oscillators on both ends in the same way. Therefore, we are able to exactly separate the detrimental effect of the noise from the weaker quantum signal through precise cou- pling to the waveguide." Quantum Communication: How to Outwit Noise ALTIUM FOCUSES ON THE DESIGNER FIRST

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