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Using impurities and flaws in a diamond, a team of scientists from USC has built a quantum computer that includes protection against “decoherence” — a protection which prevents a computer from functioning properly.

The discovery shows viability of solid-stat quantum computers and possibly represent the future of quantum computing making them easier to scale up in size. Today’s quantum computers are quite small and while they are impressive, they’re not able to compete against larger traditional computers.

The scientists diamond quantum computer has two quantum bits, called “qubits”, and are made of subatomic particles. Today’s computers encode either a 1 or 0 bit distinctively while “qubits” encodes 1 and 0 bits at the same time. “This property, called superposition, along with the ability of quantum states to “tunnel” through energy barriers, will some day allow quantum computers to perform optimization calculations much faster than traditional computers.” USC scientists said.

Scientist demonstrated the diamond does in fact operate in quantum fashion by viewing how closely it matched “Grover’s Algorithm”, invented by Lov Grover of Bell Labs in 1996 which shows the promise of quantum computing.

The test is a search of an unsorted database, akin to being told to search for a name in a phone book when you’ve only been given the phone number. Sometimes you’d miraculously find it on the first try, other times you might have to search through the entire book to find it. If you did the search countless times, on average, you’d find the name you were looking for after searching through half of the phone book.

Mathematically, this can be expressed by saying you’d find the correct choice in X/2 tries – if X is the number of total choices you have to search through. So, with four choices total, you’ll find the correct one after two tries on average.

A quantum computer, using the properties of superposition, can find the correct choice much more quickly. The mathematics behind it are complicated, but in practical terms, a quantum computer searching through an unsorted list of four choices will find the correct choice on the first try, every time.

 

via USC


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