Connects decision-makers and solutions creators to what's next in quantum computing

Error correction breakthrough could enable scaling and represent a step toward commercial quantum advantage

Berenice Baker, Editor, Enter Quantum

April 3, 2024

2 Min Read
A Quantinuum ion trap
Quantinuum's ion trap technology. Quantinuum

Microsoft and Quantinuum have said they have created logical qubits with an error rate 800 times better than physical qubits, an advance in error correction that could lead to practical quantum computing.

The companies said this represents a potential step towards commercial quantum advantage, the point when quantum computers can solve real-life problems that classical computers cannot.

They were able to create four reliable logical qubits from only 30 physical qubits. The most commonly quoted ratio is one logical qubit to 1,000 physical qubits.

This is important as it addresses the noise management issue that has been a barrier to scaling quantum computers to the point where they are powerful and reliable enough to have practical applications.

The companies applied Microsoft’s qubit virtualization system, which includes error diagnostics and correction, to Quantinuum’s ion-trap hardware. In a preprint paper on arXiv and blogs run by both companies, they said they have run more than 14,000 individual experiments without any uncorrected errors.

Quantum computers are currently in the Noisy Intermediate-Scale Quantum (NISQ) era and have limited use cases. Quantinuum and Microsoft said their experiment is a step towards the next phase in development, known as level two resilient quantum computing. 

Related:Quantinuum Demonstrates Quantum Scaling Breakthrough

Microsoft executive vice president Jason Zander said in a blog post: “With a hybrid supercomputer powered by 100 reliable logical qubits, organizations would start to see scientific advantage while scaling closer to 1,000 reliable logical qubits would unlock commercial advantage.

“This is a crucial milestone on our path to building a hybrid supercomputing system that can transform research and innovation across many industries. It is made possible by the collective advancement of quantum hardware, qubit virtualization and correction, and hybrid applications that take advantage of the best of AI, supercomputing, and quantum capabilities.”

Quantinuum and Microsoft have collaborated since 2019, enabling developers to write and run quantum code on Quantinuum’s ion-trap qubit technology via Microsoft’s Azure Quantum cloud service.

“Today’s results mark a historic achievement and are a wonderful reflection of how this collaboration continues to push the boundaries for the quantum ecosystem,” said Quantinuum chief product officer Ilyas Khan.

“With Microsoft’s state-of-the-art error correction aligned with the world’s most powerful quantum computer and a fully integrated approach, we are so excited for the next evolution in quantum applications and can’t wait to see how our customers and partners will benefit from our solutions especially as we move towards quantum processors at scale.”

The companies will offer users of Azure Quantum Elements for chemical and materials science researchers advanced capabilities based on these logical qubits in the coming months.

About the Author(s)

Berenice Baker

Editor, Enter Quantum

Berenice is the editor of Enter Quantum, the companion website and exclusive content outlet for The Quantum Computing Summit. Enter Quantum informs quantum computing decision-makers and solutions creators with timely information, business applications and best practice to enable them to adopt the most effective quantum computing solution for their businesses. Berenice has a background in IT and 16 years’ experience as a technology journalist.

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