Most novice programmers seldom see the necessity of drawing a flowchart - Rodney Zaks - Programming the Z80
A TEAM OF UK BOFFINS from the University of Bristol’s Centre for Quantum Photonics and Imperial College, London has demonstrated that a quantum computer can be built with scalable optical integrated devices.
Apparently the problem facing most researchers looking to build an actual working quantum PC is developing scalable components that can do quantum processing. If there is a breakthrough, the resulting quantum PC would lead to incredible advances in science and might even be able to run Crysis in HD with all the bells and whistles turned on. Yes, that powerful.
But the boffins have been collectively hamstrung by the need to reduce the size of components required to run such a powerful machine. Current theory states there would be a large number of interconnected gates required to work like the processors in a standard PC. To get any useful quantum processing power, you'd need something ridiculous like a computer about the size of Wales.
The boffins don't just need to prove the theory, but it has to be practical and economically viable or it will be just a theory. So well done to those UK research boffins who have shown that information can be manipulated with integrated photonic circuits. These photonic circuits are scalable, compact and stable, so they could serve as components for the mass production of quantum computers in the future.
The researchers have catchily titled the components optical multimode interference (MMIs) units and claim they are robust enough for fabrication tolerances. Some boffins didn't know how they'd be applicable in the quantum regime but others showed that MMIs can perform quantum interference at the high fidelity required.
"While building a complex quantum network requires a large number of basic components, MMIs can often enable the implementation with much fewer resources," said Alberto Peruzzo, a PhD student working on the experiment. µ
Tags: Boffin Watch
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