Two University of Oregon physicists have developed new techniques to control the building blocks of quantum computing. This could be a significant step towards making these computers more accurate and useable.

David Allcock and David Wineland, physicists, are the founders of Oregon Ions Laboratory. It was established in Willamette Hall’s basement. A new paper they co-authored is among 12 others. It was based on an experiment performed at the National Institute for Standards and Technology, Boulder, Colorado. After leaving Colorado, the scientists continued their collaboration on the project.

These techniques are described in the journal *Nature* and involve using trapped-ion quantum bits (or qubits) in quantum computing or simulations. The physicists believe they could improve the performance of quantum computers that still make too many errors to be valuable tools.

Allcock stated that the problem with quantum computers lies in their logic gates, tools used to perform essential logic functions within computing.

He said that only 1 percent of them fail. “You can only do 100 operations before throwing the garbage out.

Wineland stated, “The entire field is now in a stage because of errors that exist that we cannot do lengthy calculations or simulate practical value on machines.”

He stated that the goal is to achieve 10,000 operations without errors and then add layers of checks to correct any errors.

Allcock stated, “We want that point.” “Then, you can use quantum computers to do something useful.” They’re toys right now.

Wineland stated that trapped ions could be compared to a bowl full of marbles with specific magnetic properties. Allcock noted that physicists have many options for applying forces to ions, including lasers. However, lasers can be expensive and complicated machines. Making logic gates with magnetic forces is more affordable and practical because they can be created directly with integrated circuits.

He said that they had shown that these techniques worked as well as anyone who has used logic gates before.

Google and IBM are two examples of companies that employ large numbers of engineers to solve such problems. Academic physicists, however, are working hard to find better, more straightforward solutions.

He said, “We’ve demonstrated you can do this in a technically simpler way.”

Wineland stated that quantum computers could be used to simulate other systems if engineers and physicists can make them reliable and capable of operating with sufficient capacity. A quantum computer could, for example, simulate drug therapy’s action without synthesizing it in a laboratory.

Wineland stated that there are many efficient and valuable outcomes. “We are just scratching the surface.”

Quantum computing is built on quantum theory. This theory explains how matter behaves at the subatomic and atomic levels. Quantum computing uses a qubit (or quantum bit) as the fundamental unit of information. It is similar to conventional computing, where a bit is a primary unit. Unlike a traditional bit that can only be one or zero, a qubit can simultaneously be one and zero.

Quantum computing is a technology that has existed since 1995 when a mathematician from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Peter Shor, developed an algorithm using quantum logic to break down large numbers into simpler equations efficiently. This process is known as factoring. Wineland stated that this was a result of Wineland’s research. This was crucial because modern encryption algorithms are unable to factorize large numbers.