Science: A Quantum Computer Breakthrough from Japan

The Story:

Quantum computing is an ongoing boost to computing power made possible by some of the counter-intuitive properties of sub-atomic particles and their interactions. Researchers in Japan have announced what may be the next great breakthrough in the development of quantum computing.


The digital (non-quantum) computing with which the world is now quite familiar works with “bits.” These are yes/no decisions, often expressed as “1” or “0”.

Quantum computers work with qubits, which allow for recognition of various tones of “maybe.” In the pioneering quantum devices, the qubits have been “entangled” as pairs. If one of the qubits says “yes” the other says “yes” instantly.

Physically a “qubit” is a very small blob of silicon, known as a “quantum dot.”The spin of an electron within this dot is the “yes” or the “no” mentioned above.

Thus far quantum computing has involved two-qubit systems, though scientists have recognized that the entanglement of groups of three qubits would be necessary before quantum computing could be scaled up properly.

Strange New Worlds:

And that is what has now been accomplished. Scientists at Japan’s RIKEN Center for Emergent Matter Science have demonstrated a working triple-qubit system.

Seigo Tarucha, the leader of the team, said: “Two-quibit operation is good enough to perform fundamental logical calculations. But a three-qubit system is the minimum unit for  scaling up and implementing error correction.”

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