(CosmosMagazine) Researchers led by Robin Harper and team at Australia’s University of Sydney have demonstrated a new code to catch the ‘bugs’ in quantum computing that have limited the potential of the emerging technology. The challenge with realizing the exponential growth in qubit-powered computing is that the quantum states are fragile and prone to collapsing or producing errors when exposed to the electrical ‘noise’ from the world around them. If these bugs could be caught by software it would make the underlying hardware much more useful for calculations.
Harper and his colleague Steven Flammia implemented their code on one of tech giant IBM’s quantum computers, made available through the corporation’s IBM Q initiative. The result was a reduction in the error rate by an order of magnitude. The team’s code was able to drop error rates on IBM’s systems from 5.8% to 0.60%.
“These experiments are the first confirmation that the theoretical ability to detect errors in the operation of logical gates using quantum codes is advantageous in present-day devices, a significant step towards the goal of building large-scale quantum computers,” Harper says.