Most computers work with zeroes and ones, also known as binary information. From coffee machines to self-driving cars, almost every utility is powered by computers.
Most of the quantum computers in the present day are designed with binary information processing in mind.
In a statement released by University of Innsbruck, Martin Ringbauer, an experimental physicist said the building blocks of quantum computers are more than just zeroes and ones. He explained that restricting quantum computers to binary systems prevents the devices from “living up to their true potential”.
Now, researchers have developed a quantum computer that takes it beyond the binary. The quantum computer can perform arbitrary calculations with so-called quantum digits or qubits. This unlocks more computational power with fewer quantum particles. A qubit is a quantum bit, the counterpart in quantum computing to the binary digit of classical computing, and is the basic unit in a quantum computer. A qubit is made out of a quantum system, like an electron or photon.
The study, led by Thomas Monz at the Department of Experimental Physics, University of Innsbruck, was recently published in the journal Nature Physics.
How Quantum Systems Are Different
Storing information in zeroes and ones is the simplest way of doing calculations, even if it is not the most efficient way. Binary information is the unchallenged standard for classical computers because it is reliable and robust.
However, the situation in the quantum world is quite different. For instance, in the Innsbruck quantum computer, information is stored in individual trapped Calcium atoms, the study said.
Each calcium atom naturally has eight different states. Only two of these states are used to store information. According to the study, almost all existing quantum computers have access to more quantum states than they use for computation. .
Unlocking True Potential Of Quantum Systems
The researchers developed a quantum computer that can make use of the full potential of the Calcium atoms, by computing with qubits. According to the study, using more quantum states does not make the computer less reliable, unlike in classical computing.
Thomas Monz said quantum states naturally have more than just two states and the team showed that the states can be controlled all equally well.
Martin Ringbauer, the lead author on the paper, said working with more than zeroes and ones is very natural, not only for the quantum computer but also for its applications, allowing the world to unlock the true potential of quantum systems.