Quantum computing breakthrough by IBM

Scientists at IBM claim to have made breakthroughs which demonstrate full-scale quantum computing is within reach

By - February 28, 2012

Research into quantum computing by IBM scientists, that claims to have made breakthroughs that bring the technology closer to our grasp, is expected to be made public later today (28 February).

Matthias Steffen, manager of IBM’s experimental quantum computing group, is expected to reveal the research in a presentation at the American Physical Society in Boston.

The research centres on qubits, which are capable of performing millions of computations at a given time

According to IBM, rather than a typical bit – which only has two states (zero and one) – a single 250-qubit state would have more information bits than there are particles in the universe.

Ahead of the research presentation, Steffen explained that, because qubits can be in both the zero and one states at the same time, it opens up a range of possibilities for tasks such as encryption and decryption.

IBM, meanwhile, announced that it had set new records for the error rate in elementary computations while maintaining the integrity of quantum mechanical properties in qubits.

Steffen noted that quantum systems are very delicate. “The one state is usually encoded in the excited state of a quantum system…that can decay like an atom can emit a photon. That’s an error when it happens to our qubit. The frequency that errors occur, limit your device’s performance. If errors are few and far between, you can implement error correction.”

IBM has reached a point where the error rate is at a significant low, and because of this, the company is close to being in a position where it can take five or 10 qubits together and begin to perform elementary operations, Steffan concluded.

Read the full story at: Cnet.

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