Quantum computing with realistically noisy devices

Nature. 2005 Mar 3;434(7029):39-44. doi: 10.1038/nature03350.


In theory, quantum computers offer a means of solving problems that would be intractable on conventional computers. Assuming that a quantum computer could be constructed, it would in practice be required to function with noisy devices called 'gates'. These gates cause decoherence of the fragile quantum states that are central to the computer's operation. The goal of so-called 'fault-tolerant quantum computing' is therefore to compute accurately even when the error probability per gate (EPG) is high. Here we report a simple architecture for fault-tolerant quantum computing, providing evidence that accurate quantum computing is possible for EPGs as high as three per cent. Such EPGs have been experimentally demonstrated, but to avoid excessive resource overheads required by the necessary architecture, lower EPGs are needed. Assuming the availability of quantum resources comparable to the digital resources available in today's computers, we show that non-trivial quantum computations at EPGs of as high as one per cent could be implemented.