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Researchers Build FIRST Reprogrammable Quantum Computer!

Jan 04, 2017 11:37 AM EST

Researchers may have finally created the first fully reprogrammable quantum computer in the world. This changes the entire spectrum of the technology, as quantum computers so far could only run one type of equation.

This marks the beginning of reprogrammable quantum computers. Several teams and companies like IBM are still in the race towards quantum computing, which so far can only run one type of equation. This seems ironic as they can theoretically run more operations than there are atoms in the universe. But this stops now.

According to Futurism, a team from the University of Maryland may have developed the first fully programmable quantum computer.

According to their research, published on Nature, the quantum computer is made up of just five ytterbium atoms standing as quantum "bits" or qubits of information. They are all electrically charged in a magnetic field.

Lead author Shantanu Debnath, a quantum physicist and optical engineer from the University of Maryland, said there hasn't been any quantum-computing platform that had the capacity to program new algorithms into their system so far. This can change now.

The ions appear to be manipulated using lasers via what is called optical pumping. This sets them into the desired quantum energy state. The researcher sthen program and reprogram the ions with a variety of algorithms using lasers to infuse them with precise amounts of energy.

According to Physics World, the five-qubit quantum computer was tested on three algorithms previous quantum computers were able to execute. This is the Deutsch-Jozsa algorithm, the Bernstein-Vazirani algorithm, and the quantum Fourier transform algorithm. It scored 95-percent, 90-percent and 70-percent in each of the algorithms.

These can be considered baby steps, as the "five cubits" thing sound like something primitive computing technology would use. But its implications are huge.

Quantum computing uses the Schrodinger's Cat though experiment. According to Physics World, this means a particle can be in all possible states. In quantum computing, every qubit can be in superposition, or be a zero and one at the same time. 

Quantum mechanics in itself is a very strange field, and quantum computing is theoretically already very powerful. This development is a huge step forward in realizing that theoretical power and possibly transforming it into something usable.  

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