Programmable Quantum Computer

  • Author:
  • Published: 07 August 2016
  • Copyright: Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim
  • Source / Publisher: Nature/Nature Publishing Group
thumbnail image: Programmable Quantum Computer

The computers we use every day are based on bits, which can be in one of two states (0 or 1). In contrast, quantum computers use qubits, which can also be in superpositions of states. These computers have the potential to solve some problems much faster than conventional computers. The majority of quantum computers so far have been "hardwired" to perform only a single type of calculation.

Shantanu Debnath, University of Maryland, College Park, USA, and colleagues have developed a quantum computer that can be programmed to run a variety of different algorithms. The team uses five 171Yb+ ions as qubits, arranged into a line with a spacing of about 5 μm. The ions are trapped in a so-called Paul trap, which uses changing electric fields to keep the ions in place. To "program" this quantum processor, the researchers change the state of the individual qubits using shaped laser pulses to build logic gates. Logic gates, the basic building blocks of computer chips, perform operations such as AND or OR.

Using this approach, the team has implemented and tested several quantum algorithms, such as the Deutsch-Jozsa and the Bernstein-Vazirani algorithm, which determine the properties of certain mathematical functions. The setup had average success rates for these algorithms of 95 % and 90 %, respectively. According to the researchers, the system could be expanded by increasing the number of qubits or combing multiple ion traps.


Article Views: 1490

Sign in Area

Please sign in below

Additional Sign In options

Please note that to comment on an article you must be registered and logged in.
Registration is for free, you may already be registered to receive, e.g., the newsletter. When you register on this website, please ensure you view our terms and conditions. All comments are subject to moderation.

Article Comments - To add a comment please sign in

Bookmark and Share

If you would like to reuse any content, in print or online, from, please contact us first for permission. more

CONNECT: on Facebook on Twitter on YouTube on LinkedIn Sign up for our free newsletter

A product of ChemPubSoc Europe (16 European Chemical Societies)and Wiley-VCH