A group of researchers from the University of New South Wales have discovered what could be a major step forward in the field of quantum computing, according to a new study published in the journal Nature Communications.
The team managed to get quantum bits (qubits) — which are the most basic quantum computing units — to communicate with each other. As that has never happened before, this is a big break-through for the unique technology.
This discovery is important because it means scientists are one step closer to “entangling” their qubits, which essential to creating a function quantum computer.
Entanglement is a strange physical phenomenon where groups of small particles interact with each other in a way where they can no longer be described independently, no matter how far apart they are. That is key for future computing is because it would unlock their full power.
For instance, one quantum chip containing 50 or 60 qubits would have more power than the world’s fastest supercomputers. Once those entangled qubits reach 300 or more, there would be enough power to perform an unimaginable amount of calculations in a single instant, according to Newsweek.
Normal computers can exist in one of two states: 0 or 1. However, qubits can exist in 0, 1, and everything else in between. That means they can perform multiple calculations at once, making them much more powerful than normal computers.
While the world’s first scalable, silicon-based quantum computer is still a ways off, there is no doubt that the new discovery has a lot of potential. Quantum computers would help many fields and enables scientists to process information in a brand new way. This is the first step on a long journey, but it is an important one nonetheless.
“There’s nothing to prohibit us getting them closer,” study co-author Michelle Simmons, a researcher at the University of New South Whales, according to The Guardian. “The great thing is that the devices are small enough that we can make predictive models for the theory. Every time we get results we benchmark that with a theory and that helps us understand the system so much better.