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Quantum computers could be easier to build than previously thought


November 12, 2010

A new quantum computer design corrects errors when qubits are lost from the system (Image: Sean Barrett and Thomas Stace)

A new quantum computer design corrects errors when qubits are lost from the system (Image: Sean Barrett and Thomas Stace)

The strange behavior of quantum particles that gives quantum computers such potential also has its pitfalls. One of these is the loss of information through atomic particles escaping the system, but a new study has found that this may not be as big a problem as first thought.

Researchers have discovered that quantum systems may have the ability to infer lost information much like you and I do when talking to a friend on a poor mobile phone connection.

Dr Sean Barrett from the Imperial College London and Dr. Thomas Stace from the University of Queensland in Brisbane, have designed a quantum computer that could theoretically remain functional even if 25 percent of its atomic building blocks (known as quantum bits or "qubits") go missing in action. This is achieved by using a system of "error-correcting" code that looks at the context of the remaining qubits to decipher the missing information correctly.

“Just as you can often tell what a word says when there are a few missing letters, or you can get the gist of a conversation on a badly-connected phone line, we used this idea in our design for a quantum computer,” said Dr Barrett. “It’s surprising, because you wouldn’t expect that if you lost a quarter of the beads from an abacus that it would still be useful.” Before the theory can be tested in a lab, quantum computers with a large number of qubits need to be built – experiments to date have involved just two or three qubits.

“We are still some way off from knowing what the true potential of a quantum computer might be," Barrett said. “At the moment quantum computers are good at particular tasks, but we have no idea what these systems could be used for in the future. They may not necessarily be better for everything, but we just don’t know. They may be better for very specific things that we find impossible now.”


Nice! One thing is concerning me though... How on earth is a low-level programmer gonna write the q-code for a game in the future? Maybe someone will make a quantum leap of faith!!!


Gamer programmers of quantum systems wont program, they will think, and focus on what they want, and using eletrical neural feedback devices from there brain, will come what they want to be or exist or happen.


Gravity amplifiers.. here we come! Finally a means to calculate in real time the unbelievably complex space-time solutions needed. Paris to New York in 5 minutes, anyone? And just a hop and skip to Mars? I'd go..The calculations involved in a magnetic shield there to protect against radiation and micrometeorites would be very possible, and there's enough high energy sunlight there to generate all the needed power, despite the tiny sun. There's already 100,000 people signed up to go, and stay there, but one of the biggest setbacks are sufficient processing power to create systems capable of overcoming the g forces involved. A properly built gravitic amplifier would reposition the mass of the ship elsewhere (ahead) so that the entire mass of the ship would be equivelant to less than a hydrogen electron . Goes without saying that only a quantum computer could do the needed calculations...

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