Boffins at the University of California Santa Barbara say they are closer to getting a fully functional quantum chip out of the lab and doing something useful.
While the science behind quantum chips has been very much alive over recent years, no one has gotten anything that you can play Counter-strike on in any dimension.
Part of the problem has been design. It is jolly difficult to design a chip which can exist in two different states simultaneously. You could be running your machine and then next minute it could be calculating an equation you did 20 minutes into the future. And then there is the smell of a dead cat to worry about.
What the boffins have done is worked out a way that they can keep qubits in such a state where they are stable enough do do something useful.
Sadly they appear to have done that by chilling their quCPU to near absolute zero and carried out few calculations. The results produced were pretty satisfactory. This would only be useful if you had a computer in somewhere that is jolly cold such as the UK.
The work is also being helped by boffins in Austria who have created a working quantum simulator. They say it can be used to model the behaviour of quantum systems. This simulator can complete the calculations more quickly without experiencing any slowdown.
The team used six laser-cooled calcium atoms as qubits, and used laser pulses to initiate calculations. They found the system could simulate several types of interacting spin systems which would have been enough to dry their socks.
So when they say that they are closer to getting a quantum computer chip out of the lab they mean that they can probably set one up in someone’s basement if they can supercool the room and can bring in enough lasers.
We are still a way off computing in the 9th dimension.