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Faulty quantum computer? She'll be right

A researcher from the University of Queensland has, together with international help, found that quantum computers can work even if they're full of errors.
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Written by Suzanne Tindal on

A researcher from the University of Queensland has, together with international help, found that quantum computers can work even if they're full of errors.

(Quantum Cloud XX image by
Luis Tamayo, CC BY-SA 2.0)

One of the problems dogging the creation of quantum computers is that it's difficult to create computers using single atoms and electrons that don't have any faults, according to the university. Scientists have had trouble building quantum computers that are larger than a handful of quantum bits.

However, the University of Queensland's Dr Tom Stace and Imperial College London's Sean Barrett studied the effect of faults, missing components or broken connections on the operation of quantum computers and found that the computers can still work, even if there are a large number of problems.

"We have shown that quantum computers can tolerate a surprisingly large rate of errors, as well as losing up to 25 per cent of their basic components, called quantum bits, or qubits," Stace said in a statement.

"We have also found that a high failure rate of connections between components is tolerable, with the quantum computer still able to operate with up to 90 per cent of failed connections."

According to Stace, these thresholds will help scientists to start building larger scale quantum computers by providing targets for experimental efforts.

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