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New Device for Correcting Quantum Errors

Category: Science & Technology
Posted: 02:51PM

We are approaching a revolution in computing, when the first quantum computer is built and allows new kinds of algorithms to be run. Much has to be done before then though, including error detection and correction schemes. Researchers at the University of California, Santa Barbara have recently developed just such a scheme that is the first capable of correcting its own errors.

At the heart of quantum computer's capabilities are the qubits it uses to store and process information. Unlike traditional bits that can represent a 0 or 1, a qubit, or quantum bit, is able to exploit superposition to represent 0 and 1 at the same time. Superposition, like other quantum phenomena, is very fragile, so qubits are prone to flip or losing their information, hence the need of systems to prevent that from happening. The California researchers' solution was to build a device of nine qubits that protect the data each other holds. By repeating the error detection and correction process, the data can be preserved for longer than a solitary qubit can.

While this is definitely an important tool, more work is needed including ways to guard against other kinds of error, such as one call 'phase flip.' The researchers also want to see what happens when the error correction cycles are made to run for greater amounts of time, and if this results in new kinds of behavior.

Source: University of California, Santa Barbara

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