Quantum Computers are noisy. Researchers have been exploring way to reduce the errors that existing Quantum computers inherently have. So called NISQ era devices are Noisy Intermediate-Scale Quantum require error correction in order to function, which is an intense field of research. So when a Sydney based student published a new scheme for error correction that can offer a large advantage over existing schemes, it attracted the interest of industry and academia.
The article “The XZZX surface code” published in Nature communications potentially offers improvement in the quest towards fault tolerant Quantum Computing. Surface code is the way that Quantum Computers can effectively recover from errors. Currently devices in the NISQ-era are noisy and with low gate fidelities more elaborate schemes are required to help Quantum Computers recover from errors. Many readers may have come across one of the most simple error correcting schemes such as Bit Flip schemes and of course in the classical sense many are familiar with the concepts of repetition code, but of course classical and quantum are very different and classical approaches can rarely be used in the Quantum domain. In the work, University of Sydney science undergraduate Pablo Bonilla Ataides has tweaked code to effectively double its capacity to correct errors.
The code is being used by researchers at Yale and the Amazon AWS team are looking at collaboration which could mean that the code becomes integrated into the Amazon Web Services Quantum Offering. Amazon is one of the most popular cloud service providers and has moved into Quantum Computing with its BraKet service which allows developers to run on a range of Quantum Hardware.