Researchers at the Amazon Web Services Inc.-led AWS Center for Quantum Computing have published what they say is their first architecture paper today, describing a theoretical blueprint for a fault-tolerant quantum computer. The paper proposes an entirely new and apparently workable approach to the problem of “quantum error correction,” which is a key challenge that must be overcome in order to devise a working quantum computer that can live up to its full potential.
The problem with quantum computers is that they’re incredibly fragile machines. Their potential comes from the fact they use “qubits” to perform computations, rather than the “bits” found in traditional computers. Whereas bits can hold a state of 0 or 1, qubits can be a 0, a 1 or both states at the same time. It’s this property that allows otherwise impossible computations to be performed, making them far more powerful than traditional computers can ever be.