IBM ‘optimistic’ about realising quantum computers

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Developments made by IBM researchers may accelerate the creation of practical full size quantum computers. Using a variety of techniques, its scientists have established a number of records for reducing errors in elementary computations and retaining the integrity of quantum mechanical properties in qubits.

"The quantum computing work we are doing shows it is no longer just a brute force physics experiment. It's time to start creating systems based on this science that will take computing to a new frontier," said IBM scientist Matthias Steffen, manager of the IBM research team. IBM has been experimenting with a 3d superconducting qubit and, among the results, the team has extended the time for which the qubits retain their quantum states to 100µs – more than doubling the previous best. The researchers say this value is beyond the minimum threshold needed to enable effective error correction schemes. In separate experiments, the group also demonstrated a more traditional 2d qubit device and implemented a two qubit logic operation – a fundamental building block of a larger quantum computing system. The operation showed a 95% success rate, with a coherence time of nearly 10µs. Based on this progress, IBM says optimism about superconducting qubits and the possibilities for a future quantum computer are growing. To achieve this, it is encouraging a focus on systems integration aspects, such as assessing the classical information processing demands for error correction, I/O issues, feasibility and costs with scaling.