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Researchers use silicon to push quantum computing toward reality

Sharon Gaudin | Oct. 24, 2014
Researchers in Australia have developed silicon-wrapped quantum technology that could solve problems that have held back the development of powerful quantum computers.

Great control over the qubits is exactly what the Australian researchers are trying to provide. Both Morello and Dzurak said their methods of creating qubits have made calculations more accurate.

"You might be calculating 3+4, and you might get 8. That's an error," explained Morello. "The number encoded on the bit is not what it was intended to be because something went wrong in the operation. If the error is rare enough, you can correct it on the run. With greater accuracy, you can start to design larger quantum computers because you have the ability to correct the errors."

Since using silicon in the qubits gives them a longer life, the machine has more time to correct any errors. The researchers have stretched the world record for the longest-lasting qubit from two seconds to 30.

"Two years ago, 50% of the time the calculation was wrong," said Dzurak. "You weren't going to go very far with that. The accuracy now has gone from 50% to 99%. This is a game changer. It goes from being impressive science to a serious manufacturing technology that can be taken forward."

Using silicon and transistors that are similar to traditional transistors, also means that the qubits should be able to be manufactured in a traditional microprocessor plant without too much modification to the process.


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