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Quantum Computers That Use 'Cat Qubits' May Make Fewer Errors


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Artist's representation of a cat qubit.

Quantum bits inspired by Schrödinger’s cat could allow quantum computers to make fewer mistakes and more efficiently crack algorithms used for encryption.

Credit: Michael S. Helfenbein/Yale University

Researchers in France found so-called "cat qubits” (quantum bits) could reduce errors by quantum computers and accelerate the cracking of common encryption algorithms.

Named after Erwin Schrödinger's thought experiment, cat qubits combine two quantum states while describing two different ways in which light within a small hole in a superconducting circuit can shuttle back and forth.

The researchers analyzed a quantum computer comprised of such circuits and estimated 126,133 cat qubits and nine hours of computation would be sufficient to break bitcoin encryption.

Jérémie Guillaud at French quantum computing company Alice&Bob said this value is roughly 160 times smaller than the previous lowest estimate of 20 million necessary qubits, because cat qubits are programmed to generate few or no bit flip errors.

From New Scientist
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