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New Codes Could Make Quantum Computing 10 Times More Efficient

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A representation of quantum bits (qubits).

The quantum bits (qubits) that power quantum computers are notoriously buggy and require clever error-correction strategies to stay on track.

Credit: Peter Hansen/iStock

In the world of quantum error correction, an underdog is coming for the king.

Last week, new simulations from two groups reported that a rising class of quantum error-correcting codes is more efficient by an order of magnitude than the current gold standard, known as the surface code. The codes all work by transforming a horde of error-prone qubits into a much smaller band of "protected" qubits that rarely make mistakes. But in the two simulations, low-density parity check — or LDPC — codes could make protected qubits out of 10 to 15 times fewer raw qubits than the surface code. Neither group has implemented these simulated leaps in actual hardware, but the experimental blueprints suggest that these codes, or codes like them, could hasten the arrival of more capable quantum devices.

"It really looks like it's coming to fruition," said Daniel Gottesman of the University of Maryland, who studies LDPC codes but was not involved in the recent studies. "These [codes] could be practical things that can greatly improve our ability to make quantum computers."

From Quanta Magazine
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