Wednesday, November 18, 2009

First Programmable Quantum Processor For Quantum Computer Tested At NIST

Physicists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have demonstrated the first “universal” programmable quantum information processor able to run any program allowed by quantum mechanics—the rules governing the submicroscopic world—using two quantum bits (qubits) of information. The processor could be a module in a future quantum computer, which theoretically could solve some important problems that are intractable today.
The NIST processor stores binary information (1s and 0s) in two beryllium ions (electrically charged atoms), which are held in an electromagnetic trap and manipulated with ultraviolet lasers. Two magnesium ions in the trap help cool the beryllium ions.
NIST scientists can manipulate the states of each beryllium qubit, including placing the ions in a “superposition” of both 1 and 0 values at the same time, a significant potential advantage of information processing in the quantum world. Scientists also can “entangle” the two qubits, a quantum phenomenon that links the pair’s properties even when the ions are physically separated.
“This is the first time anyone has demonstrated a programmable quantum processor for more than one qubit,” says NIST postdoctoral researcher David Hanneke, first author of the paper. “It’s a step toward the big goal of doing calculations with lots and lots of qubits. The idea is you’d have lots of these processors, and you’d link them together.
 You can read more at  “NIST Demonstrates ‘Universal’ Programmable Quantum Processor for Quantum Computers.

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