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Scientists from the Faculty of Physics, University of Warsaw, in collaboration with the University of Oxford and NIST, have shown that quantum interference enables processing of large sets of data faster and more accurately than with standard methods. Their studies may boost applications of quantum technologies in artificial intelligence, robotics and medical diagnostics, for example. The results of this work have been published in Science Advances.

Contemporary science, medicine, engineering and information technology demand efficient processing of data—still images, sound and radio signals, as well as information coming from different sensors and cameras. Since the 1970s, this has been achieved by means of the Fast Fourier Transform algorithm (FFT). The FFT makes it possible to efficiently compress and transmit data, store pictures, broadcast digital TV, and talk over a mobile phone. Without this algorithm, medical imaging systems based on magnetic resonance or ultrasound would not have been developed. However, it is still too slow for many demanding applications.

To meet this goal, scientists have been trying for years to harness quantum mechanics. This resulted in the development of a quantum counterpart of the FFT, the Quantum Fourier Transform (QFT), which can be realized with a quantum computer. As the quantum computer simultaneously processes all possible values (so-called "superpositions") of input data, the number of operations decreases considerably.

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