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3 April 2024, 3:20 pm

Microsoft and Quantinuum Say They've Ushered in the Next Era of Quantum Computing

Microsoft and Quantinuum Say They've Ushered in the Next Era of Quantum Computing

Microsoft and Quantinuum today announced a major breakthrough in quantum error correction. Using Quantinuum's ion-trap hardware and Microsoft's new qubit-virtualization system, the team was able to run more than 14,000 experiments without a single error. From a report: This new system also allowed the team to check the logical qubits and correct any errors it encountered without destroying the logical qubits. This, the two companies say, has now moved the state-of-the-art of quantum computing out of what has typically been dubbed the era of Noisy Intermediate Scale Quantum (NISQ) computers. "Noisy" because even the smallest changes in the environment can lead a quantum system to essentially become random (or "decohere"), and "intermediate scale" because the current generation of quantum computers is still limited to just over a thousand qubits at best. A qubit is the fundamental unit of computing in quantum systems, analogous to a bit in a classic computer, but each qubit can be in multiple states at the same time and doesn't fall into a specific position until measured, which underlies the potential of quantum to deliver a huge leap in computing power. It doesn't matter how many qubits you have, though, if you barely have time to run a basic algorithm before the system becomes too noisy to get a useful result -- or any result at all. Combining several different techniques, the team was able to run thousands of experiments with virtually no errors. That involved quite a bit of preparation and pre-selecting systems that already looked to be in good shape for a successful run, but still, that's a massive improvement from where the industry was just a short while ago. Further reading: Microsoft blog.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.