Skip navigation
B. The Development of Quantum Computers

Narrator: This is Science Today. IBM recently developed the world's most advanced quantum computer, which uses atoms to work as its processor and memory and can calculate certain problems much faster than conventional computers. Earlier this year, scientists at the Los Alamos National Laboratory linked nuclear particles to create a seven-qubit unit. Lab scientist Raymond Laflamme says the advantage of quantum computers is the ability to do two problems at once.

Laflamme: On the classical computer, the basic unit of information is called a bit. It's a system which can be in state zero or the state one. On a quantum computer, we can have bits which are not only in either state zero or one, but it can be in the state zero and one at the same time.

Narrator: Laflamme says the hardest part about developing this technology is its fragility.

Laflamme: One of the wonderful things about classical computers is they are very robust. When we go to the quantum regime, the systems are a lot, lot more fragile. We go down to very, very small scales. So these are things we have to control if we want to scale up for larger quantum computers.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.