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If you're designing a new computer, you want it to solve problems as fast as possible. Just how fast is possible is an open question when it comes to quantum computers, but physicists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology have narrowed the theoretical limits for where that "speed limit" is. The research implies that quantum processors will work more slowly than some research has suggested.

The work offers a better description of how quickly information can travel within a system built of quantum such as a group of individual atoms. Engineers will need to know this to build quantum computers, which will have vastly different designs and be able to solve certain problems much more easily than the computers of today. While the new finding does not give an exact speed for how fast information will be able to travel in these as-yet-unbuilt computers—a longstanding question—it does place a far tighter constraint on where this speed limit could be.

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