Researchers take a step ahead in quantum computing

UK researchers on Friday published a paper with details that could make it possible to preserve data on a quantum computer for a longer time.

Researchers in the U.K. and the U.S. on Friday published a paper detailing discoveries that might bring a fully functional quantum computer one step closer to reality.

Quantum computing, which has been researched for decades, has traditionally had a problem of keeping data in a coherent format, making it difficult to run programs or computing tasks. The researchers have found a way to preserve electrons, which store the data, longer, which allows a system to process data more coherently and run programs more effectively.

Though in development, quantum computers could revolutionize the face of computing. In a few seconds, quantum computers can perform tasks not feasible for supercomputers today. Quantum computing uses matter -- atoms and molecules -- to process massive amounts of tasks at supercomputing speeds because data is stored and shared in more states rather than the usual binary states of 0 and 1.

Quantum computing is based on the laws of quantum mechanics, which look at interaction and behavior of matter on atomic and subatomic -- proton, neutron and electron -- levels. By solving known issues in quantum computing, researchers are in a race to build a fully operational quantum computer.

There are many quantum computer designs that store data in different ways, said Gavin Morley, one of the authors of the paper and a researcher at the London Center for Nanotechnology, which is a joint venture between the University College London and Imperial College London. Morley worked with researchers from several institutions including the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. The researchers used magnetic states of the electrons to store data.

Quantum bits need to spin to run a program, but sometimes the quality of electrons degrades, sending them into undesirable states -- called quantum noise -- that could pose a problem as users could lose control of the program running. By applying a certain magnetic field, the researchers used a current to determine the state of an electron without bringing in disturbance, giving them a 5,000 percent longer life than any other similar experiment to date, Morley said.

The group's research focused on phosphorus atoms in silicon. The best attempts previously have flowed a current past the electrons via small electrical wires, but that has brought in a lot of quantum noise, removing a key advantage of the material, Morley said.

The researchers hope their work will allow them to build a quantum supercomputer, though it may take time.

"It's impossible to predict when or if a quantum computer will be built. I would hope to see one in a research lab in the next 15 to 20 years," Morley said.

But beyond the tough challenges, quantum computers will solve computational problems that plague today's computers, Morley said. "For example, we could simulate the behavior of large biological molecules and drugs to find new medicines," he said.

The paper appeared in the Physical Review Letters publication.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags quantum computing

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Agam Shah

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?