A form of quantum weirdness is a key ingredient for building quantum computers according to new research from a team at the University of Waterloo’s Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC).
In a new study published in the journal Nature today researchers have shown that a weird aspect of quantum theory called contextuality is a necessary resource to achieve the so-called magic required for universal quantum computation.
One major hurdle in harnessing the power of a universal quantum computer is finding practical ways to control fragile quantum states. Working towards this goal, IQC researchers Joseph Emerson, Mark Howard and Joel Wallman have confirmed theoretically that contextuality is a necessary resource required for achieving the advantages of quantum computation.
“Before these results, we didn’t necessarily know what resources were needed for a physical device to achieve the advantage of quantum information. Now we know one,” said Mark Howard, a postdoctoral fellow at IQC and the lead author of the paper. “As researchers work to build a universal quantum computer, understanding the minimum physical resources required is an important step to finding ways to harness the power of the quantum world.”
Quantum devices are extremely difficult to build because they must operate in an environment that is noise-resistant. The term magic refers to a particular approach to building noise-resistant quantum computers known as magic-state distillation. So-called magic states act as a crucial, but difficult to achieve and maintain, extra ingredient that boosts the power of a quantum device to achieve the improved processing power of a universal quantum computer.