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Tricking a quantum computer to enhance its performance

Researchers found a way to run programmes that should be impossible to carry out on an imperfect quantum computer. Such programmes are very computationally demanding and the quantum computers that currently exist are not yet up to that task. Unless you use a clever trick, Simon Marshall and Vedran Dunjko explain in New Scientist.

A quantum computer has the potential to outperform conventional computers, but so far they have only done so in a few specialised cases. That is because current quantum computers are still relatively small and not very powerful. But that doesn’t stop researchers: ‘We don’t know yet where combining quantum computers and machine learning will be most powerful, but I think we can’t just wait for bigger quantum computers,’ says Dunjko.

Making large computations smaller

Marshall and his colleagues have therefore developed a new method for writing quantum programmes to circumvent this problem. Researchers program quantum computers by writing lists of operations called quantum circuits. Complicated programmes require quantum circuits that are currently too large. But Marshall figured out that such a large circuit can be divided in smaller sub-circuits that can be handled by the computer. And so far, the method has held up in all their tests. 

Read more on New Scientist (€)

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