Quantum computing breakthrough claim from IBM

IBM says it has made a breakthrough in multiple types of error correction for Quantum computers.

IBM is claiming it has made a quantum computing breakthrough that paves the way to large-scale systems that can operate reliably.

IBM researchers have developed error-correction techniques that could maintain the integrity of computations performed using qubits, or quantum bits – the basis of quantum computing. As with conventional computing, isolating and resolving data errors is a key step to building a fully functional quantum computer, said Jay Gambetta, a manager of IBM’s quantum computing and information group.

Quantum computing is viewed as a way to advance computing beyond today’s PCs and servers. A company called D-Wave Systems has already made a purpose-built quantum computer that is useful for specific tasks. IBM wants to build a larger, « universal » quantum computer that can run a wide range of applications, much like a PC or server.

The complexity of quantum computing systems and the fragility of the interaction among qubits makes error correction important, but also a challenge. Right now, research is focused on limited sets of qubits, but IBM wants to bring error correction to larger systems, Gambetta said.

« Now we’re getting to the point where we’re putting together and doing practical computing. It will be very exciting over the next few years, » Gambetta said.

Quantum computing is one of the ways to advance computing once it becomes physically and economically impractical to build smaller, more powerful chips based on silicon and conventional techniques. Quantum computers use components that are different than those used by conventional computers.

Conventional computers are predictable by nature, using electrical transistors to represent data as ones and zeros. Qubits, on the other hand, use the properties of subatomic particles, harnessing the laws of quantum mechanics to achieve various states. Unlike a conventional bit, which can hold only a one or a zero, a qubit can also hold a one and a zero simultaneously. This technique, called superposition, allows quantum computers to perform multiple calculations in parallel, vastly increasing their processing power relative to conventional computers.

A universal quantum computer might need 100 million qubits, Gambetta estimated. D-Wave’s latest quantum computer, the D-Wave Two, built for specific tasks, is a 512-qubit system.

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Source: CIO Magazine

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