Quantum Computing Breakthrough Creates 'Myriad Opportunities' for Scaled-Up Technology

A new algorithm identifies 'noise' and solves a crucial problem for quantum computing systems.
Brad Bergan

The biggest problem lying before the large-scale development of quantum computers — "noise" — may now be solved, according to a new paper in the journal Nature Physics suggesting a way to control noise and potentially opening the door to more advanced quantum computing systems.


Quantum computing 'noise' breakthrough

The "noise" problem remains the biggest obstacle to the development of quantum computers, and it must be solved before quantum computing can disseminate for public use. The new paper offers a way of confronting the noise problem, possibly bringing us closer to a way of controlling noise, and developing even better quantum computing systems.

This is significant because quantum computers might change the way we use technology in fundamental ways — letting people solve problems too complex for modern computers. To make this a reality, scientists need to weaken noise in a provably reliable way.

Noise is a central problem in creating functional and practical quantum computers. More specifically, noise involves errors introduced when quantum scientists manipulate the "qubits" that power quantum computers — which means the noise needs to go before systems are deemed reliable.

Problem with 'noise:' rises with qubits, blocks progress

The problem of noise is proportional to increased qubits — the larger the system, the more noise scientists notice, the more errors in quantum computing systems.

To eliminate noise, scientists have to study how it functions across a quantum system, and until now this was only possible with smaller devices. But new research from the paper in Nature Physics cites new algorithms capable of working on large-scale quantum computing devices, reports the Independent.

The new solution already saw success on the IBM Quantum Experience — an online platform where researchers may employ the firm's quantum computing systems.

Quantum computing breakthrough identifies 'noise'

This is where the researchers behind the paper discovered their algorithm was able to correctly diagnose the noise in the system, a first in the study of quantum computers.

If the technology is to be scaled-up, the researchers will have to calibrate quantum computers to eliminate all errors, or noise. But they'll also have to correct the errors so complex calculations aren't thrown off.

Breakthrough algorithm creates 'myriad opportunities'

The breakthrough algorithm helps scientists better understand how many errors are present in a quantum computing system, in addition to how they happen in the first place.

"The results are the first implementation of provably rigorous and scalable diagnostic algorithms capable of being run on current quantum devices and beyond," said the University of Sydney's Robin Harper, who is the lead author of the newly-published paper.

"This protocol opens myriad opportunities for novel diagnostic tools and practical applications," wrote the researchers in the new paper — explaining that their algorithm employs several ways to help quantum computing cut through the noise like a champ.

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