Guest_Jim_* - September 2, 2011 09:39AM in Science & Technology

When we overclock any component we push as far as we can until the system cannot correct all the errors and continue to function properly. Lucky for us the error tolerance for most computer parts is large enough for overclocking to be possible. Quantum computers though do not have such a wide tolerance. In fact, researchers are still struggling to achieve an error rate of one in 10,000 logic operations. From NIST comes a paper on an achieved one in 50,000 logic operations error rate for single qubit operations. It achieved this by using a microwave antenna instead of a laser, to minimize instability in the system and cooling the qubit, a trapped ion, to 4.2 K (-268.95 C). Though this is an important step towards a viable quantum computer in the future, a similarly low error rate must be achieved for two-qubit logic operations.