The Recent Breakthrough in Error-free Quantum Computing

Jun 13, 2022
2 min read

Quantum computers have long been the debate of discussion and researchers across the world are working towards improvising these devices that are capable of achieving superlative outcomes.

When modern computers are composed of high-fabrications that keep the errors at bay, quantum computing has high susceptibility to errors. That being said, the research is underway for minimizing theses errors and scientists have made a remarkable leap in error-free computing that can make large scale quantum computer usage a not-so-distant possibility after all.

However, before jumping into the recent advancements that have caused a stir in quantum computing, here is a quick explanation of the errors that disrupt the regular working of a quantum computer.

Why are quantum computers error-prone?

Quantum computers are tricky machines that can be triggered by the smallest of errors resulting in deviated outcomes and end-results. The researchers call any disturbance or interference in quantum computing as noise and this noise can interfere greatly with the overall working of a machine.

For instance, the electronic devices that we use can face interference from the surrounding devices and even the Earth’s electromagnetic field. This can cause our devices to misbehave sometimes and may even render them useless for some time. In quantum computing, the quantum bits or qubits are so sensitive to errors that even a small amount of fault from the surrounding noise can lead to disparate outcomes.

Quantum computers operate using quantum algorithms that are responsible for carrying out operations using qubits. The information stored in qubits can get altered by errors and noise which, in turn, would lead to completely useless results in the end. The amount of noise determines how long the quantum algorithm can run without the introduction of errors. The inclination of quantum computing to errors is so high that at present, scientists could achieve error-free results in not more than a dozen operations, which is too low for realizing any practical applications.

Fundamental operation realized on two bits

The quantum computers operate on two quantum bits(qubits) that is 1 and 0 both separately and simultaneously as opposed to the traditional computing algorithms. This super ability to perform complex operations is all due to the qubits which are intricate parts and can easily be tampered with errors. In the past, Quantum error control has been implied to recognize and target these errors but these correcting procedures which involved increasing the number of qubits within the machines were not proven to be very effective.

In a breakthrough research, scientists curated and applied a universal set of gates to an ion-trap quantum computer with 16 atoms. Two logical qubits distributed over seven physical qubits or atoms has been implemented allowing the curation of fault-tolerant quantum bits.

This kind of arrangement was necessary for a universal set of gates that can allow the scientists to program all the algorithms. The information is safe from errors in encoded logical qubits and in the new experiment, these were implemented in a way where the errors caused by the physical atoms underneath these logical qubits can be detected and even corrected. This has caused the first fundamental fault-tolerant operation of universal set of gates on encoded logical bits a true event.

Now that the elemental parts of a fault-free quantum computer is known, the scientists are aiming to reduce errors and improve the accuracy in the long run. The days are still far when the quantum computing can be done at commercial scale and are actually available for usage outside of the lab. However, the recent developments are surely steered towards making these highly-capable quantum algorithms capable of performing error-free operations for producing desired outcomes on even larger quantum computers.