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Introduction of Week 4

So far, we have discussed quantum computers in rather abstract fashion. Of course, we would like to build and actually use them. Earlier, we saw how state variables represent quantum data using photons, electrons, atoms and electrical current. This week, we will talk about devices that can make and control each kind of state variable, and meet some of the people and companies building real quantum computers.

Of course, hardware is always imperfect. It’s true for regular classical computers, and even moreso for quantum computers. In order for our quantum computer to run successfully, we must have the ability to correct errors. We will address some of the key concepts and how they relate to error correction for classical computers.

With hardware and error correction, we can define quantum computer architectures and begin to build systems large enough to solve interesting problems. Some of the major information technology companies have been involved in quantum computing research since its inception. Now they are moving to build real computers, with plans to use them in their own businesses as well as sell them. Venture capitalists have begun investing in quantum computing, and a number of startups have opened their doors in the last few years. We will see how all of this meshes with research to create a complete, fertile ecosystem.

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This article is from the free online course:

Understanding Quantum Computers

Keio University

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