Quantum computing: Error correction brings mainstream use nearer

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An ion trap quantum processor

Kai Hudek/JQI

Quantum computers aren’t currently reliable enough for mainstream use, in part because the error rates of their calculations are too high. That could soon change, because for the first time, a quantum computer has demonstrated an error-correction strategy that fixes more errors than it creates, which may provide a practical way to scale up to a machine capable of carrying out genuinely useful computations.

Ordinary computers store data as either a 0 or 1, but errors can cause the bit to “flip” to the wrong value, …

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