A Quantum Machine That's Fully Programmable

The secret: an ion trap.

By Stephen Ornes
Dec 19, 2016 10:37 PMNov 12, 2019 4:22 AM
An ion trap captures charged particles in a quantum machine, helping it to run any algorithm, or sequential steps, using 5 qubits. | S. Debnath and E. Edwards/Joint Quantum Institute


Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news

A small but mighty quantum computer was debuted in August by physicists at the University of Maryland. Unlike other quantum devices, this one is fully programmable, a significant step toward general use of quantum machines. Ions trapped by electric fields and controlled via laser enable the device to run any algorithm, or sequential operation of steps, using 5 qubits. “This system was built so that it could be scaled up,” says physicist Chris Monroe, whose team is adding qubits to the device. The scale-up has no clear limit, he adds.

1 free article left
Want More? Get unlimited access for as low as $1.99/month

Already a subscriber?

Register or Log In

1 free articleSubscribe
Discover Magazine Logo
Want more?

Keep reading for as low as $1.99!


Already a subscriber?

Register or Log In

More From Discover
Recommendations From Our Store
Shop Now
Stay Curious
Our List

Sign up for our weekly science updates.

To The Magazine

Save up to 40% off the cover price when you subscribe to Discover magazine.

Copyright © 2024 Kalmbach Media Co.