Boffins make quantum leap

Wallpaper-quantum-leap-32404651-1280-720UC Santa Barbara’s physics professor John Martinis has come up with a “major milestone” towards quantum circuitry.

The team has apparently worked out a way to self-checks for errors and suppress them, preserving the qubits’ state and imbuing the system with some semblance of reliability.

Keeping qubits error-free, or stable enough to reproduce the same result is one of the major hurdles for boffins on the forefront of quantum computing.

Julian Kelly, graduate student researcher and co-lead author of a research paper that was published in the journal Nature wrote that one of the biggest challenges in quantum computing is that qubits are inherently faulty. If you store some information in them, they’ll forget it.

Unlike classical computing, in which the computer bits exist on one of two binary  positions, qubits can exist at any and all positions simultaneously. They hide in various dimensions and play with cats apparently.

This is called “superpositioning” and it gives quantum computers their phenomenal computational power, but it is also this characteristic which makes qubits prone to “flipping,” especially when in unstable environments.  It hard to process information if it disappears.

The error process involves creating a scheme in which several qubits work together to preserve the information. To do this, information is stored across several qubits.

If we build this system of nine qubits, which can then look for errors, they are responsible for safeguarding the information contained in their neighbours, he explained, in a repetitive error detection and correction system that can protect the appropriate information and store it longer than any individual qubit.

“This is the first time a quantum device has been built that is capable of correcting its own errors,” said Fowler. For the kind of complex calculations the researchers envision for an actual quantum computer, something up to a hundred million qubits would be needed, but before that a robust self-check and error prevention system is necessary. Well, let’s see, eh?