IBM engineers recently announced that they have made some major advances toward finding solutions to a couple of issues that would have delayed the rollout of practical quantum computers by decades.
Quantum computers, which use the principles of quantum physics to boost their computing power, are expected to take the computer industry by storm since they can perform calculations unimaginably faster than the world’s most fastest computer. Rumor has it that D-Wave Systems Inc., Google, NASA or even the military already have working quantum systems.
However, Jay Gambetta from IBM announced that the race for quantum computing was just starting to emerge as the field was getting more and more competitors. The researcher also said that his team’s findings were a small but critical step toward making quantum computers real.
Gambetta also explained that IBM engineers’ main advance was related to a square circuit design that could be multiplied and scaled to a larger size. The design also allowed engineers to find a way to quantify and eliminate errors from quantum systems.
Although very complex, quantum computers have a major drawback. They are extremely sensible to temperature variations and surrounding vibrations. Because of this flaw, scientists lost their hope that they would ever be able to reduce the error rate of a quantum computer close to that of a traditional one.
But the latest findings may help researchers get closer to their goal. If that happens, they will finally be able to construct a working quantum computer. And quantum computers are expected to change everything we know about technology and the face of the world itself.
Quantum computing would allow large-scale calculations, managing huge batches of data, looking for patterns, boost artificial intelligence research, and even medical and technological research. Scientists believe that quantum computers will help humanity find new cures for fatal diseases such as cancer and even discover alien life on remote planets.
Researchers explained that quantum computers are so fast that they can finish work tasks that would take classical technologies hundreds of years to calculate.
But quantum computing remains an elusive and mysterious topic just like the principles of quantum physics. Quantum mechanics’ ground principle states that particles have the ability to be in various states at one time. Such principle and others tried to explain phenomena that were impossible to understand through traditional physics.
According to quantum physicists, matter can have two different states such as being both negative and positive at the same time. For example a quantum bit or quabit can be both one and zero simultaneously. And whether the quabit would be positive or negative is impossible to tell beforehand. Quabits alter their state according to the interactions with other quabits.
This feature allows quantum computers to speed up calculations. Classical supercomputers make use of sequences when calculating. They go step by step. On the other hand, quantum machines can calculate all of possible alternatives at the same time, which makes them incredibly fast and powerful.
But dazzling speeds are meaningless if calculations contain too many errors. So, IBM is currently trying to solve that. Detecting and correcting errors would be a major advance towards turning quantum computers into reliable and working systems.
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