Scientists come up with quantum chip

Boffins at Santa Barbara University have emerged from their smoke filled labs with a quantum chip which uses traditional chip architecture.

Von Neumann architecture contains a chip and memory, with information travelling between them.

So far quantum computing has only worked on architecture that predates von Neumann.

According to Science magazine, which we get for the Spot the Quark competition, the design involves a quantum integrated circuit with two quantum bits (qubits), a quantum communication bus, two bits of quantum memory, and a resetting register comprising a simple quantum computer.

It takes a few billionsths of a second to add up all the numbers, which is about the same as a normal PC. However the quantum computer can perform a large number of calculations at the same time.

Matteo Mariantoni, postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Physics said the new design meant that it was possible to write quantum information to memory, while simultaneously performing other quantum calculations.

It is a pretty big step in quantum computing, however there are a few problems with it all which will stop a quantum chip being shoved under the bonnet of your PC.

The chip is based on superconducting, which means that the chip has to be supercooled to extremely low temperatures.

The chip itself is a two qubit processor, which puts it a long way from being as powerful as a mobile phone.