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Quantum Computing Scheme May Cause Operations to Occur Without Order

First Posted: Aug 12, 2015 03:04 PM EDT
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Quantum computing could herald a new age in calculations. Now, physicists have revealed a new quantum computation scheme in which operations occur without a well-defined order, which may be able to accomplish a task more efficiently than a standard quantum computer.

Since its conception, quantum mechanics has defied our natural way of thinking. In fact, it's forced physicists to come to grips with peculiar ideas. Although they may be difficult to understand, though, quantum phenomena are real. In addition, scientists have shown that these quantum effects can be used for many astonishingly powerful applications, such as quantum computing.

Quantum logic gates are the basic building blocks of a quantum computer. However, constructing enough of them to perform a useful computation is difficult. In the usual approach to quantum computing, quantum gates are applied in a specific order, one gate before another. But now, researchers found that quantum mechanics allows them to superimpose quantum gates, which means that the gates can act in all possible orders at the same time.

In this latest study, the researchers found that superimposing the order of quantum gates could be implemented in the laboratory. The researchers designed two quantum logic gates that were applied to single photons in both orders. It was impossible to determine which gate acted first, which showed that they were acting in all possible orders at the same time.

So what does this mean? This is the first time that a superposition of quantum gates has been implemented in the lab. At the same time, the experiment was used to successfully demonstrate a new kind of quantum computing. This is particularly useful when designing quantum computers in the future.

The findings are published in the journal Nature Communications.

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