Breakthrough in Physics May Help Make Quantum Computers a Reality

First Posted: Apr 09, 2016 05:50 AM EDT

Until recently, there are only two known forms of magnetism, which are ferromagnetism and antiferromagnetism. The former is the kind of magnetism seen in refrigerators while the latter is some sort of a negative magnetism in hard drives. However, a third kind has been found to exist as confirmed by MIT researchers. This discovery could be the key to making quantum computer a reality.

The research team made and supercooled a crystal, chilled below freezing point but not to the point of becoming solid, to exhibiting a quantum spin liquid state. Thte to-be-achieved state is when each particle's magnetic direction never line up. That leads to quantum entanglement (where distant particles have an effect on each other's magnetism) which is ideal for quantum computers.

Quantum computing features qubits which can be both 0 and 1 at the same time, which is known as superposition. Subatomic particles like photons and electrons can be made to behave this way. This flexibility allows qubits to do a lot more. In theory, a computer with quantum processors can carry out trillions of calculations in one second. Google used technology from a manufacturer called D-Wave to demonstrate a computer powered by a quantum processor. The computer ran 100,000,000 times faster than any microprocessors today, Daily Reckoning reported.

Quantum computers, however, are neither easy nor cheap to build and operate, as BBC News reported. A D-Wave quantum processor need to be cooled down to a little above absolute zero (-273.15 C). The ultra-powerful processor also needs to be devoid of any electromagnetic interference. D-Wave's computers are priced at $10 to $15 million. It's safe to say that humanity has only scratched the surface of quantum computing.

The quantum computer promises to bring exponentially more power to the table than traditional computers. When manifested, it can offer almost perfect trading strategies, high accuracy forecasting and risk assessments, Daily Reckoning reported.

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