(Phys.org) Quantum error correction (QEC) is used in quantum computing, which has the potential to solve scientific problems beyond the scope of supercomputers, to protect quantum information from errors due to various noise.
Research co-authored by University of Massachusetts Amherst physicist Chen Wang, graduate students Jeffrey Gertler and Shruti Shirol, and postdoctoral researcher Juliang Li takes a step toward building a fault-tolerant quantum computer. They have realized a novel type of QEC where the quantum errors are spontaneously corrected.
Since qubits are intrinsically fragile, the most outstanding challenge of building such powerful quantum computers is efficient implementation of quantum error correction. Existing demonstrations of QEC are active, meaning that they require periodically checking for errors and immediately fixing them, which is very demanding in hardware resources and hence hinders the scaling of quantum computers.
In contrast, the researchers’ experiment achieves passive QEC by tailoring the friction (or dissipation) experienced by the qubit.
“Although our experiment is still a rather rudimentary demonstration, we have finally fulfilled this counterintuitive theoretical possibility of dissipative QEC,” says Chen. “Looking forward, the implication is that there may be more avenues to protect our qubits from errors and do so less expensively. Therefore, this experiment raises the outlook of potentially building a useful fault-tolerant quantum computer in the mid to long run.”

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