Practical quantum computers could be one step closer thanks to physicists in China, who have published a rigorous proof that “quantum circuit” algorithms can be transformed into algorithms that can be executed at the same running time on adiabatic quantum computers .

A quantum circuit algorithm runs on a quantum computer made up of a sequence of quantum-logic gates. This set-up resembles a conventional computer, which runs algorithms on sequences of classical logic gates. However, fundamental differences between quantum and classical computation mean that certain problems can be solved much more quickly on a quantum computer.

A big challenge for researchers trying to create practical quantum computers is decoherence – the degradation of quantum information caused by interactions with the surrounding environment. This makes it very hard to maintain the quantum nature of information as it is being processed, which is why only very basic quantum computations have been possible so far.

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