Computers are known for operating with binary information, or zeros and ones, which has led to the computers that power most of the world today. Today’s quantum computers are also designed to process binary information.
Martin Ringbauer is an experimental physicist from Innsbruck, Austria.
“The building blocks of quantum computers, however, are more than just zeros and ones,” Ringbauer said. “Restricting them to binary systems prevents these tools from living up to their true potential.”
Calculations With Quantum Digits
A research group led by Thomas Monz at the Department of Experimental Physics at the University of Innsbruck has succeeded in developing a new type of quantum computer that can perform arbitrary calculations with quantum digits, or qudits. This new method results in more computing power with fewer quantum particles.
The research was published in the journal Nature Physics.
Although the method of storing information in zeros and ones is less efficient, it is simpler than other methods. It is also reliable and robust to faults, making it the standard for classical computers for a long time.
Uniqueness of Quantum Computing
However, things are starting to change when talking about quantum computing. The Innsbruck quantum computer stores information on individual trapped Calcium atoms, with each of the atoms naturally having eight different states. Only two of these states are used to store information. Almost all existing quantum computers have access to a larger number of quantum states than they use to compute.
A group of physicists has created a quantum computer that can use the full potential of atoms by using qedits for calculations. Unlike the classical method, the new method that uses multiple states does not negatively affect the reliability of the computer.
“Quantum systems naturally have more than two states and we have shown that we can control them equally well,” says Thomas Monz.
Tasks that require quantum computers, such as problems in physics, material science, or chemistry, are naturally expressed in the qudit language. If it were rewritten for qubits, it would often be too complicated for existing quantum computers.
“Working with more than zeros and ones is very natural, not only for the quantum computer but also for its applications, allowing us to unlock the true potential of quantum systems,” says Martin Ringbauer.