A new demonstration by researchers at the University of Bristol shows how it is possible to recycle the particles inside a quantum computer, so that quantum factoring can be achieved with only one third of the particles normally required.
The researchers say their experimental technique brings quantum computing one step closer to reality. The team used photons as the particles and constructed a quantum optical circuit that recycled one of the photons to set a new record for factoring 21 with a quantum algorithm. All previous demonstrations have factored 15. Internet cryptographic protocols are based on the exponential overhead in computational time, and third parties would need to solve a hard factoring problem first if they wanted to spy on emails. However, a quantum computer would be capable of efficiently factoring large numbers.
"While it will clearly be some time before emails can be hacked with a quantum computer, this proof of principle experiment paves the way for larger implementations of quantum algorithms by using particle recycling," says Bristol Ph.D. student Enrique Martin-Lopez, who performed the experiment.
From University of Bristol News
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