A Broomfield, Colorado-based team has improved its handling of qubits, the fundamental data storage and processing elements of machines. Last year, they connected multiple ordinary qubits into groups called logical qubits, which were more reliable. This year, they got a pair of logical qubits to perform their calculations. The work is noteworthy because Quantinuum’s error-correction technology keeps logic qubits stable for longer than conventional qubits, which is key to enabling quantum computers to do useful work.
This new achievement could eventually lead to developments that enable quantum computers to break encryption, design more efficient solar panels, and meet complex machine computing needs. This potential may encourage companies, governments and universities to continue investing in the technology, but it will take years to realize its potential. Quantinuum, created when Cambridge Quantum and Honeywell Quantum Solutions merged in 2021, isn’t the only company working on the idea. Google, IBM,IntelandMicrosoftLarge companies are competing with startups such as Rigetti Computing and IonQ to build the first practical, powerful quantum computers.
Quantum is a single atom or other element small enough to be governed by the strange rules of quantum physics. It is these rules that can help quantum computers solve problems beyond classical computers. On Quantinuum’s H1 quantum computer, they used a laser to propel up to 20 charged ytterbium atoms in a cold, airless chamber “ion trap.”