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Quantum computer learns error-free calculations

simulation, quantum bits © Johannes Knünz

At the University of Innsbruck, a team of experimental physicists has now implemented a universal set of computational operations on fault-tolerant quantum bits for the first time. In this way, they demonstrated how an algorithm can be programmed on a quantum computer so that errors do not distort the results.
Quantum computers are inherently much more susceptible to disturbances and will thus probably always require error correction mechanisms. The fundamental laws of quantum mechanics forbid copying quantum information. For this reason, redundancy can be achieved by distributing logical quantum information into an entangled state of several physical systems, for example individual atoms. The team led by Thomas Monz of the Department of Experimental Physics at the University of Innsbruck and Markus Müller of RWTH Aachen University and the Julich research Centre in Germany has now succeeded for the first time to realize a set of computational operations on two logical quantum bits that can be used to implement any possible operation. "For a real-world quantum computer, we need a universal set of gates with which we can program all algorithms," explains Lukas Postler, an experimental physicist from Innsbruck.

The physicists have now demonstrated all the building blocks for fault-tolerant computing on a quantum computer. The task now is to implement these methods on larger quantum computers which are more useful in practice.
Financial support for the research was provided, among others, by the European Union within the framework of the Quantum Flagship Initiative.

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