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Google's Quantum Computer Exponentially Suppresses Errors


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Google's Sycamore superconducting qubit quantum processor.

Researchers at Google have found ways to greatly reduce quantum computers' error rates, using the company's superconducting qubit quantum processor, Sycamore.

Credit: Erik Lucero

In order to develop a practical quantum computer, scientists will have to design ways to deal with any errors that will inevitably pop up in its performance. Now Google has demonstrated that exponential suppression of such errors is possible, experiments that may help pave the way for scalable, fault-tolerant quantum computers.

A quantum computer with enough components known as quantum bits or "qubits" could in theory achieve a "quantum advantage" allowing it to find the answers to problems no classical computer could ever solve.

However, a critical drawback of current quantum computers is the way in which their inner workings are prone to errors. Current state-of-the-art quantum platforms typically have error rates near 10-3 (or one in a thousand), but many practical applications call for error rates as low as 10-15.

In addition to building qubits that are physically less prone to mistakes, scientists hope to compensate for high error rates using stabilizer codes. This strategy distributes quantum information across many qubits in such a way that errors can be detected and corrected. A cluster of these "data qubits" can then all count as one single useful "logical qubit."

From IEEE Spectrum
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