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Communications of the ACM


Quantum Computers and the Universe

quantum computing visual representation, illustration


Quantum computing is drawing enormous interest—and funding—although widespread application is probably years in the future. Researchers have demonstrated the "quantum advantage" (originally called "quantum supremacy") of many orders of magnitude in speed over classical (non-quantum) computers on targeted algorithms. They are also searching for ways to exploit current smallish, error-prone quantum devices.

General use, however, is expected to need quantum error correction (QEC), which will require much larger systems than are now available. Nonetheless, over the past 20 years, the ideas that make QEC possible already have influenced physicists' understanding of the universe.


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