The research team, which includes collaborators from QuEra Computing, MIT, and the University of Innsbruck, developed a new approach for processing quantum information that allows them to dynamically change the layout of atoms in their system by moving and connecting them with each other in the midst of computation.
This ability to shuffle the qubits (the fundamental building blocks of quantum computers and the source of their massive processing power) during the computation process while preserving their quantum state dramatically expands processing capabilities and allows for the self-correction of errors. Clearing this hurdle marks a major step toward building large-scale machines that leverage the bizarre characteristics of quantum mechanics and promise to bring about real-world breakthroughs in material science, communication technologies, finance, and many other fields.
The workaround the researchers implement creates a sort of backup system for the atoms and their information called a quantum error correction code. The researchers use their new technique to create many of these correction codes, including what’s known as a toric code, and it spreads them out throughout the system.
What makes this approach possible is that the team developed a new method where any qubit can connect to any other qubit on demand. This happens through entanglement or what Einstein called “spooky action at a distance.” In this context, two atoms become linked and able to exchange information no matter how far apart they are. This phenomenon is what makes quantum computers so powerful. (ScienceDaily)
The paper has been published in Nature.