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World record setting experiment brings quantum computing a step closer to reality

Sean Buckley, @seaniccus
November 16, 2013
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Despite recent successes in the field, creating a quantum computer is really hard. For one thing quantum bits in a super positioned state (or qubits, the basic unit of data for quantum computing) have a hard time surviving at room temperature. Typically, these superposition states last for only a few seconds, but in a recent experiment at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby , researchers were able to keep a quantum system alive for a full 39 minutes.

"These lifetimes are at least ten times longer than those measured in previous experiments," explained Stephanie Simmons from the University of Oxford's Department of Materials. "Having such robust, as well as long-lived, qubits could prove very helpful for anyone trying to build a quantum computer." Even so, they aren't particularly active ones - all of the qubits in the experiment shared the same quantum state. To perform actual calculations (and thus build a functioning quantum computer), a system would need to put multiple qubtis in different quantum states. Sound complicated? It sure is, but it's a significant step forward to building the ultrafast computing platforms of tomorrow. Eager to learn more? Check out the official press release at the source link below.

[Image Credit: Stephanie Simmons, University of Oxford]

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