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Quantum Computing: Federal Researchers Take One Step Closer

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quantum illustration

Quantum computers will be able to conduct far more complex calculations than possible with today's most advanced supercomputers.

Credit: Berkeley Lab

U.S. National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) researchers have achieved the lowest error rate to date for quantum information processing in an experiment that involved a single beryllium ion qubit.

"One error per 10,000 logic operations is a commonly agreed upon target for a low enough error rate to use error correction protocols in a quantum computer," says NIST researcher Kenton Brown. "We've been able to show that we have good enough control over our single-qubit operations that our probability of error is 1 per 50,000 logic operations."

The achievement is another breakthrough in the effort to build a viable quantum computer, which would require the same low error processing rates with two-qubit logic operations.

The team performed the experiment on 1,000 unique sequences of logic operations randomly selected by computer software. The researchers used microwaves instead of laser beams to manipulate ions, which reduced errors that can occur through instability in laser-beam pointing and power as well as spontaneous ion emissions. They also placed the ion trap into a copper vacuum chamber to cool it with a helium bath, which reduced errors caused by magnetic field fluctuations in the lab.

From InformationWeek
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Abstracts Copyright © 2011 Information Inc. External Link, Bethesda, Maryland, USA 


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