New discovery brings quantum computers a step closer to reality

November 10th, 2010 - 12:38 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, Nov 10 (ANI): Scientists have found that quantum computers should be much easier to build than previously thought, because they can still work with a large number of faulty or even missing components.

Quantum computing systems are devices that could have enormous potential across a wide range of fields, from drug design, electronics, and even code-breaking.

Instead of ‘bits’, the building blocks normally used to store electronic information, quantum systems use quantum bits or ‘qubits’, made up of an arrangement of entangled atoms.

Materials behave very differently at this tiny scale compared to what we are used to in our everyday lives - quantum particles, for example, can exist in two places at the same time.

“Quantum computers can exploit this weirdness to perform powerful calculations, and in theory, they could be designed to break public key encryption or simulate complex systems much faster than conventional computers,” said Dr Sean Barrett, the lead author of the study.

Barrett and his colleague Dr. Thomas Stace, from the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, have now found a way to correct for a particular sort of error, in which the qubits are lost from the computer altogether.

They used a system of ‘error-correcting’ code, which involved looking at the context provided by the remaining qubits to decipher the missing information correctly.

The study was published today in Physical Review Letters. (ANI)

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