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Crunching Quantum Code

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A conception of how quantum computing works.

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have created a new design for a quantum computer.


Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) researchers have developed a quantum computer design featuring an array of superconducting islands on the surface of a topological insulator.

The researchers propose basing both quantum computation and error correction on the peculiar behavior of electrons at neighboring corners of these islands and their ability to interact across islands at a distance.

The system can characterize the state of a quantum bit as a zero or a one based on whether there is an odd or even number of electrons associated with a superconducting quantum bit, but the underlying physical interactions that enables this are highly complex.

The new research details how clusters of superconducting islands, called plaquettes, produce Majorana fermions at each triple junction. Each superconducting island has a phase, and these phases can wind like the hands of a clock and a full rotation of the phase is called a vortex. If a pair of Majorana fermions are well separated, it is as if the electron has become delocalized throughout the system.

"By controlling the strength of the phase fluctuations, you can engineer many-body interactions between Majorana fermions," says MIT researcher Sagar Vijay. These many-body interactions lead to quantum entanglement and are a critical component for both the quantum computing and error correction the researchers propose.

From MIT News
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Abstracts Copyright © 2016 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA


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