All the latest UK technology news, reviews and analysis

Quantum computing 'world record' broken

15 Nov 2013
An artist's impression of quantum data - Stephanie Simmons, CC

Usable quantum computing has taken a step closer to becoming a reality with a record-breaking experiment that saw quantum memory held in a stable state for 39 minutes at room temperature, 100 times longer than ever recorded.

The data is stored in silicon "qubits", which usually need to be kept at temperatures under 10 degrees kelvin (-269 degrees celsius) in order to hold on to data for an extended period. Qubits are able maintain a "superposition", acting as both ones and zeroes at the same time so they can take part in multiple calculations simultaneously. This in turn has the potential to create computers with power far beyond anything seen before, potentially able to crack today's most stringent encryption protocols with ease.

However, due to the fragile nature of qubits and their tendency to being knocked around by other stray molecules, they are generally not able to store data for more than a few seconds at room temperature.

An international team of physicists led by professor Mike Thewalt at the Simon Fraser University in Canada published their results in the journal, Science [pdf], which claims they have overcome a significant barrier to building practical quantum computers.

Thewalt said: "This opens up the possibility of truly long-term coherent information storage at room temperature. It would have a huge impact on security, code breaking and the transmission and storage of secure information.

"It would be able to solve problems which are impossible to solve on any conceivable normal computer. It would be able to model the behaviour of quantum systems, a task beyond the reach of normal computers, leading, for example, to the development of new drugs by a deeper understanding of molecular interactions," he continued.

The University of Bristol, meanwhile, currently offers its own cloud-based quantum computer, open to anybody who wishes to conduct their own experiments.

  • Comment  
  • Tweet  
  • Google plus  
  • Facebook  
  • LinkedIn  
  • Stumble Upon  
Michael Passingham

Michael Passingham joined V3 as a reporter in June 2013. Prior to working at V3, Michael spent time at computing magazine PC Pro. Michael covers IT skills, social media, tech startups and also produces V3's video content.

View Michael's Google+ profile

More on Networks
What do you think?
blog comments powered by Disqus

Devices at work poll

Which device do you use most for work?

Popular Threads

Powered by Disqus
LG G Flex 2 hands-on review

CES 2015: LG G Flex 2 video

A closer look at LG's latest curved-screen smartphone

Updating your subscription status Loading

Get the latest news (daily or weekly) direct to your inbox with V3 newsletters.

newsletter sign-up button

Getting started with virtualisation

Virtualisation can help you reduce costs, improve application availability, and simplify IT
management. However, getting started can be challenging


Converting big data and analytics insights into results

Successful leaders are infusing analytics throughout their organisations to drive smarter decisions, enable faster actions and optimise outcomes

Client Account Director - Global Marketing Insights / Analytics Leader

Client Account Director - Global Marketing Insights...

Client Account Manager – Digital, CRM, Analytics Background

Client Account Manager – Digital, CRM, Analytics Background...

Desktop IT Support Engineer - IT Support Consultancy

Desktop IT Support Engineer - IT Support Consultancy...

Senior Project Manager - IT Infrastructure

Our highly successful client urgently requires Senior...
To send to more than one email address, simply separate each address with a comma.