University of Queensland (UQ) and Harvard University researchers have completed an experiment that could have massive ramifications for science through the application of quantum mechanics to chemistry to predict molecular reactions. Project co-author and UQ professor Andrew White says the existence of quantum computing implies that either quantum mechanics is incorrect or computer science's underlying Church Turing Thesis is faulty.
"What we have done is a 2 qubit [quantum bit], toy experiment — it won't put anyone out of a job anytime soon . . . but if we scale to tens and then hundreds of qubits, that's when we will exceed the computational capacity of the planet . . . that will happen [within] 50 years," White says.
The experiment ran an algorithm called the iterative phase estimation to quantify the exact energy of molecular hydrogen against a predicted model. White calls the results, which were accurate inside of six parts in 1 million, "astounding." Data was calculated to 20 bits, and in some cases as many as 47 bits, and experiments were redone 30 times for classical error correction.
White theorizes that the experiment's results could be utilized to forecast the outcome of chemical reactions without the innate randomness missing from controlled computer simulations.
From Computerworld Australia
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