Feature

No room for error

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  10 Jul 2020:
Vol. 369, Issue 6500, pp. 130-133
DOI: 10.1126/science.369.6500.130

You are currently viewing the summary.

View Full Text

Log in to view the full text

Log in through your institution

Log in through your institution

Summary

A quantum computer employs quantum bits, or qubits, that can be both 0 and 1 at the same time, the equivalent of sitting at both ends of your couch at once. Embodied in ions, photons, or tiny superconducting circuits, such two-way states give a quantum computer its power. But they're also fragile, and the slightest interaction with their surroundings can distort them. So scientists must learn to correct such errors, and the leaders in the field of quantum computation—Google, IBM, and Rigetti Computing—are all gearing up to take a first step toward such error correction: spreading the information encoded in a single jittery qubit among many of them in a way that maintains the information even as noise rattles the underlying qubits. It's the obvious next step for the field, researchers say, and the one that will determine whether a quantum computer with thousands of qubits in merely a noise maker or the most powerful computer ever.

View Full Text

Stay Connected to Science