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Many quantum algorithms are expected to solve problems faster than their classical equivalents, but few have been tested experimentally. Now Mark Tame, from the University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa, and his colleagues have used a prototype quantum computer to run the quantum version of Simon’s algorithm—historically, the first algorithm predicted to run exponentially faster on a quantum computer than a classical one. Although Simon’s algorithm doesn’t have practical applications, it could provide a useful way to test the capabilities of future quantum computers.

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