- Google has announced in a blog post that its quantum team has reached the next step in the roadmap of error correction.
- Google has achieved this step by creating logical qubits, that consist of several physical qubits; it’s a similar approach to modern smartphone cameras’ pixel-binning technology.
- According to the roadmap, we still have many more steps to be able to develop a large-scale quantum computer.
Quantum computing is currently in a niche state and has the potential to make major improvements in many tech-related services in the future. Many tech giants are investing in quantum computing to take the next big leap in technology first; Google is one of them. The company now announces that they have achieved a big breakthrough in quantum computing.
Reducing the qubit error rates
According to a blog post shared by Hartmut Neven, VP of engineering, and Julien Kelly, director of quantum hardware at Google Quantum AI Team, they have made big progress solving the high error rate issue in quantum computing. Currently, 3rd generation Sycamore processors‘ physical qubits have an error rate between 1/100 and 1/10,000. The post states that those error rates need to reduce to between 1/1,000,000 and 1/1,000,000,000 to be able to develop large-scale quantum computers.
However, achieving those kinds of error-correction numbers in quantum computing is not easy. Google has shared the roadmap of the error-correction efforts and announced that they have now reached the second step by creating a logical qubit prototype.
In the current state of quantum computing, every physical qubit on processors delivers the results on their own; acting as a whole unit of computation. The logical qubits, however, will combine those physical qubits to deliver much more accurate results.
Similar to pixel binning
This is actually a very similar approach to modern, high-resolution phone cameras. Some of the models in the market can shoot very high-resolution photos, however, in that case, some of the pixels (physical qubits) fail to get the correct light information resulting in a grainy photo. Instead, phone makers gather the light information from 4, 9, 16, or 25 pixels that act as one pixel (logical qubits) that result in much more accurate colors.
You can see Google’s post for further technical details of this “next step”.