Navigation Links
Quantum computers a step closer to reality thanks to new finding
Date:11/9/2010

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, according to a study published today in Physical Review Letters. This surprising discovery brings scientists one step closer to designing and building real-life quantum computing systems devices that could have enormous potential across a wide range of fields, from drug design, electronics, and even code-breaking.

Scientists have long been fascinated with building computers that work at a quantum level so small that the parts are made of just single atoms or electrons. 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, who is a Royal Society University Research Fellow in the Department of Physics at Imperial College London.

The machines have been notoriously hard to build, however, and were thought to be very fragile to errors. In spite of considerable buzz in the field in the last 20 years, useful quantum computers remain elusive.

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.

"Just as you can often tell what a word says when there are a few missing letters, or you can get the gist of a conversation on a badly-connected phone line, we used this idea in our design for a quantum computer," said Dr Barrett. They discovered that the computers have a much higher threshold for error than previously thought up to a quarter of the qubits can be lost but the computer can still be made to work. "It's surprising, because you wouldn't expect that if you lost a quarter of the beads from an abacus that it would still be useful," he added.

The findings indicate that quantum computers may be much easier to build than previously thought, but as the results are still based on theoretical calculations, the next step is to actually demonstrate these ideas in the lab. Scientists will need to devise a way for scaling the computers to a sufficiently large number of qubits to be viable, says Barrett. At the moment the biggest quantum computers scientists have built are limited to just two or three qubits.

"We are still some way off from knowing what the true potential of a quantum computer might be, says Barrett. "At the moment quantum computers are good at particular tasks, but we have no idea what these systems could be used for in the future," he said. "They may not necessarily be better for everything, but we just don't know. They may be better for very specific things that we find impossible now."


'/>"/>

Contact: Laura Gallagher
l.gallagher@imperial.ac.uk
44-207-594-8432
Imperial College London
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology technology :

1. Quantum entanglement in photosynthesis and evolution
2. This little light of mine: Changing the color of single photons emitted by quantum dots
3. UBC, Max Planck formalize partnership among worlds top quantum physicists
4. Single electron reader opens path for quantum computing
5. Optical chip enables new approach to quantum computing
6. NIST researchers hear puzzling new physics from graphene quartets quantum harmonies
7. Random numbers game with quantum dice
8. Quantum entanglement in photosynthesis and evolution
9. Pitt-led researchers to build foundation for quantum supercomputers with $7.5 million federal grant
10. One more step on the path to quantum computers
11. Quantum gas in free fall
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:5/4/2016)... ... May 04, 2016 , ... Proove Biosciences, Inc. , ... strategic partnership with McGill University . The partnership is designed to advance research ... order to help patients in pain. With the new agreement, researchers at Proove Biosciences ...
(Date:5/4/2016)... ... May 04, 2016 , ... ... biotechnology to help treat hormonal and stress related hair loss. With patent-pending formulas ... hearts of key opinion leaders in the medical and salon channels nationwide. ...
(Date:5/3/2016)... ... May 03, 2016 , ... ... of Dr. Nancy Gillett to its Board of Directors. Dr. Gillett recently retired ... Corporate Executive Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer. A board-certified veterinary pathologist, Dr. ...
(Date:5/3/2016)... ... May 03, 2016 , ... According to world renowned prostate cancer ... cancer treatment, patients traditionally had two main treatment options: surgery or radiation. Based on ... , New technology has enabled doctors to administer higher doses of radiation ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
(Date:3/29/2016)... LegacyXChange, Inc. (OTC: LEGX ... Protect are pleased to announce our successful effort to ... of writing instruments, ensuring athletes signatures against counterfeiting and ... athletes on LegacyXChange will be assured of ongoing proof ... Bill Bollander , CEO states, "By inserting ...
(Date:3/18/2016)... LONDON , March 18, 2016 ... Established Suppliers of Biometrics, ICT, Manned & Unmanned Vehicles, Physical ... & security companies in the border security market and ... and Europe has led ... your companies improved success. --> defence & ...
(Date:3/14/2016)... HANOVER , Allemagne, March 14, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... http://www.apimages.com ) - --> - ... ) - --> ... les solutions biométriques, fournit de nouveaux lecteurs d,empreintes ... lecteur LF10 de DERMALOG sera utilisé pour produire ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):