Researchers closer to quantum computing

EVANSTON, Ill. (UPI) — Quantum computing is currently mostly fodder for science fiction writers, but U.S. scientists say they’ve moved one step closer to realizing that technology.

Northwestern University Professor Prem Kumar said he and his colleagues recently demonstrated one of the basic building blocks for distributed quantum computing: using entangled photons generated in optical fibers.

“Because it is done with fiber and the technology that is already globally deployed, we think it is a significant step in harnessing the power of quantum computers,” Kumar said.

Quantum computing differs from classical computing in that a classical computer works by processing “bits” that exist in two states, either one or zero. Quantum computing uses quantum bits, or qubits, which, in addition to being one or zero, can also be both one and zero simultaneously, the scientists said, noting that’s possible because qubits are quantum units like atoms or photons that operate under the rules of quantum mechanics instead of classical mechanics.

The research that included Jun Chen, Joseph Altepeter, Milja Medic, Kim Fook Lee and Burc Gokden of Northwestern, as well as Robert Hadfield, and Sae Woo Nam of the National Institute of Standards and Technology appears in the journal Physical Review Letters.

Copyright 2008 by United Press International


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