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27 August 2012

Solid State Quantum Computer?

From Slashdot:

"The Shor quantum factoring algorithm has been run for the first time on a solid state device and it successfully factored a composite number. A team from UCSB has managed to build and operate a quantum circuit composed of four superconducting phase qubits. The design creates entangled bits faster than before and the team verified that entanglement was happening using quantum tomography. The final part of the experiment implemented the Shor factoring algorithm using 15 as the value to be factored. In 150,000 runs of the calculation, the chip gave the correct result 48% of the time. As Shor's algorithm is only supposed to give the correct answer 50% of the time, this is a good result but not of practical use."
So a few thoughts....
  1. Solid state quantum computer?  I want one!
  2. First time on solid state device? No, I don't think so.  First time on a quantum computer? According to Wikipedia, many have done that in the last 11 years.
  3. I'm a big fan of the algorithm. While not designed for a quantum computer, I did implement it in Java quite a few years ago as a learning exercise. The algorithm is actually pretty straight foward (see this previous post).
  4. 48% of the time isn't of practical use?  I don't buy it... 48% of the time it chooses 3*5... 52% of the time was split among 10 other numbers (2-14 except 3 and 5).  That tells me that if all you did was pick the most common answer, you'd have picked 3*5. 

It does get back to the basic idea that the way we program will have to change.  It's like adding the Chaos Monkey to our mathematical models ;)