Zurich - Researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETH) and their colleagues have become the first group to achieve error correction with qubits in practice. Corporations such as Google and IBM were among the competitors for this breakthrough in quantum computing.

ETH researchers have achieved a milestone in the development of quantum computers together with German and Canadian colleagues. Andreas Wallraff, Professor at the Department of Physics and Director of the Quantum Center at ETH Zurich, comments in a press release: “The demonstration that errors in a quantum computer working with quantum bits (qubits) can be corrected quickly and repeatedly is a breakthrough on the road to building a practical quantum computer.”

ETH playing in top league of quantum research
Image: ETH

There are two fundamental types of error in quantum systems. Previous error correction processes could each only detect and correct one of these. In a corresponding pre-release, Wallraff’s team is now presenting the first system that can repeatedly detect and correct both types of error.

To do so, a chip with 17 superconducting qubits was created at the ETH Zurich cleanroom laboratory. The ETH spin-off Zurich Instruments manufactured the highly specialized electronics used to control the qubits on the chip.

According to the ETH, error correction is currently “a hotly contested field in quantum research”. In addition to technical universities, companies such as Google and IBM formed part of the competition. Wallraff states that the team is filled with pride to be the first group to achieve practical error correction with qubits, adding: “It confirms that we, at ETH Zurich, are truly in the premier league of quantum research.”

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