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Nist Nudges Quantum Computers Toward Commercial Viability

Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have demonstrated an error suppression technique that they say makes multistep quantum calculations commercially feasible. "Quantum computers are inherently prone to errors caused by stray electric or magnetic fields, but theorists have shown that if their error rate is low enough — about one in 10,000 — fault-tolerant error correction schemes could enable quantum computations of virtually any length," says NIST lead scientist John Bollinger. "We have taken an idea that other people have developed and have experimentally demonstrated that we can use it to suppress the errors in quantum computers enough to meet that one-in-10,000 requirement."

The NIST dynamic decoupling technique, called spin-echo error suppression, uses the echo from error-suppression pulses to realign the "spins" inside qubits that simultaneously encode the superimposed ones and zeros. The regular application of error-suppressing pulses ensures that spins edging into error are realigned before they cause a hard error. Bollinger says that NIST is the first to demonstrate spin-echo refinements capable of suppressing qubit errors below the one-in-10,000 level. The spin-echo technique uses feedback on how many errors are being made to change the spacing of the spin-echo pulses for optimal error suppression.

From EE Times
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