【量子计算机新突破:科学家宣称找到储存数据的方法】

【量子计算机新突破:科学家宣称找到储存数据的方法】美国伊利诺斯西北大学的化学家宣称,利用钒,碳和硫的分子复合物让量子比特——量子计算机存储所依赖用于存储数据的对象,能维持其形态更久的时间(相比于之前微秒级别的存储时间)。相比于传统电脑中比特“1”和“0”的两种单位,这个新方法将让量子比特能同时保持三种形态,相比传统计算机能够存储更海量的信息。

Researchers have created a molecule made from vanadium, carbon and sulphur which may provide a template for cheaper and more practical quantum bits for use in computers. They found these molecules can currently outperform modern qubits by maintaining a state known as 'superposition' for longer

Could we soon all have quantum computers on our desks? Scientists claim to have cracked the problem of how they store data

  • Qubits are the quantum equivalent of bits found in conventional computers
  • They can hold three different states at once instead of 1 or 0 found in bits
  • Known as 'superposition' most qubits hold this state for microseconds
  • Researchers have created a new molecule that can maintain it for far longer

 

The prospect of super-fast desktop quantum computers may be a step closer after scientists created a molecule that can function as a stable qubit.

Qubits are the quantum computing equivalent of bits used in traditional computers, but they currently are only capable of holding information for tiny fractions of a second.

Researchers have shown that a molecular complex of vanadium, carbon and sulphur may provide a solution to this problem.

The weird world of subatomic particles means qubits can exist in three states at once rather than the binary 1 or 0 of conventional bits.

This means they can perform multiple calculations in parallel and hold far more information than normal bits.

In a quantum computer, data is encoded in the 'spin', or magnetic orientation, of individual electrons.

 

Not only can they be in one of two 'up' or 'down' spin states, but also a 'superposition' of both up and down.

For example, a computer with just 1,000 qubits could easily crack modern encryption keys while smartphone games like Angry Birds typically use 40,000 conventional bits to run.

However, scientists have faced a challenge in getting qubits to maintain their 'superpositions' for significant periods of time.

Most qubits utilise the 'spin' state of electrons, but those created so far tend to have a limited lifetime.

Dr Danna Freedman, a chemist at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, and her colleagues claim they may have found a way of making them last longer.

Writing in the journal ACS Central Science, they said: 'Despite decades of research, molecular electronic spin qubits continue to suffer from rapid collapse of their superpositions, a process known as decoherence.

'We harnessed molecular design to create a series of qubits.

'Crucially, through chemical tuning of nuclear spin content in the vanadium (IV) environment we realised a coherence time of one millisecond for the species.'

The researchers said their molecule, which has a core of vanadium surrounded by 'arms' of carbon and sulphur, outperforms other electron spin qubits, which are capable of only maintaining a state of superposition for a couple of microseconds.

Scientists have been attempting to build quantum computers for decades in the hope they will lead to a new generation of powerful and fast machines.

While there are already some quantum computers in operation, they need to be kept at temperatures of around -273°C (-459°F), making them impractical for every day use.

Both Google and Nasa have been developing a quantum computer as part of their artificial intelligence work.

The molecule created by Dr Freedman and her colleagues still needs to be chilled to -193.15°C (-315.67°F) in order to work, but they said this provides a stepping stone towards more practical quantum computers.

They said: 'By exploiting the inherent properties of quantum species such as spins, quantum information processing offers the potential to fundamentally transform our approach to modeling chemical systems and cryptography.'

Only a handful of quantum computers exist currently and most fill entire rooms. Nasa's Quantum Artificial Intelligence Laboratory uses an enormous quantum computer built by D Wave (pictured) which needs to be kept superchilled to temperatures just above absolute zero -  around -459°F

Last month, researchers developed a new technique for transmitting and more accurately controlling bits of information over longer distances, using a phenomenon called quantum entanglement.

Quantum entanglement is a quirk that seems to occur in the strange world of subatomic particles where pairs become inextricably linked together so they share the same state, even if they are separated in distance.

 

And this entanglement of particles means it is possible to encode data to make it much more secure.

This is because quantum particles actually exist in all possible states simultaneously until they are observed or measured, at which point they exhibit just one state.

An unauthorised hacker, for example, who attempts to take a peek at any data being sent in this way would immediately alter its state, making it impossible to copy.

Ultimately, this means only the two parties who have the entangled particles are able to read the information.

This can also be useful for encrypting information.

When an encryption key is sent over a network, the technique would be able to see if someone had attempted to eavesdrop on the information.

And in a 'triumph of electrical engineering,' a team of Australian engineers recently squashed any doubts about the forthcoming reality of quantum computers, finding answers to a phenomenon that even perplexed Einstein.

The engineers from Australia's University of New South Wales (UNSW) proved that quantum computer code can be written and manipulated using two quantum bits in a silicon microchip - and they proved it with the highest score ever achieved.

The breakthrough could pave the way for the first commercial manufacture of the 'holy grail' of superfast computing.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3342709/Could-soon-quantum-computers-desks-Scientists-claim-cracked-problem-store-data.html


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