Most quantum computers operate on quantum bits, or “qubits,” which may individually represent two numbers, 0 or 1. Researchers have now built a quantum computer based on quantum digits, also known as “qudits,” each of which can encode seven numbers. In addition to providing more computational power with fewer parts, a qudit computer may be more effective at solving complex problems than qubit computers.
Even many quantum computers use qubits, as different to classical computers, which store data as bits (1s or 0s). Qubits are capable of being in a superposition state in which they are simultaneously 1 and 0. This effectively enables each qubit to execute two calculations concurrently. Its processing capability can increase exponentially depending on the number of quantum-mechanically entangled or linked qubits.
Calculations are made as simply as possible by encoding data as 0s or 1s. Qubits can almost always do more, while their underlying quantum parts almost never can. Martin Ringbauer, a quantum physicist at University of Innsbruck in Austria, is the study’s main author and claims that limiting these devices to binary data prevents them from reaching their full potential.
In other words, 2x calculations can be performed on a quantum computer having x qubits. A machine having x qudits, where D is the quantity of states per qudit, can, however, execute Dx numbers of calculations. This suggests that when utilising qudits, you can encode the same information in less quantum particles, according to Ringbauer.
Qudits can also be entangled “in many various ways that are not achievable for qubit systems,” according to Ringbauer. This is a significant benefit because it makes computations more effective.
The chemistry of novel battery models or new drugs, for example, are complex quantum systems that scientists believe quantum computers might help them understand. This is where utilizing qudits may have the greatest potential for benefit. It is optimal to use equally complex quantum components to model these complex interactions. According to Ringbauer, computing these systems with qubits may out to be less effective than doing so with qudits.
An eight-qudit quantum processor, among each qudit being a calcium ion that has been electromagnetically trapped, has been created by Ringbauer and his colleagues. Up to seven of an ion’s states are suitable for computation, while an additional eighth state is used for readout. In the journal Nature Physics, they published a summary of their findings online on July 21.
Qudits have only been the subject of restricted proof-of-concept research in the past. Given that qudits have more complex features than qubits, Ringbauer noted that more advanced quantum computing hardware was required before he & his colleagues can experimentally operate qudits.
Additionally, according to Ringbauer, “many of the tools we frequently use to manage qubits don’t work the same way in a qudit,” and “each of the qudit states responds differently to external influences.” To efficiently produce entanglement, “you need to devise ways to govern the qudits and interact with them.”
In theory, Qudits can run on the majority of current quantum computing platforms, according to Ringbauer. Extending the level of control attained with two states to “higher dimensions,” or more states, is a difficulty.
According to Ringbauer, “I’ve been exploring qudits on various experimental platforms over the past ten years, which taught me that there is a lot of untapped potential in today’s quantum technology.” “When I switched to trapped ions, with their excellent control and built-in high-dimensional structure, I was sure that this platform was prepared to unleash the potential of quantum computing.”
We expect some degree of inaccuracy in any quantum computer. As a result, researchers will need to put procedures in place to stop or lessen these mistakes. Due to their complex structure, qudits are actually anticipated to be more noise-resistant than the simpler qubits, according to Ringbauer. “If we can do this experimentally, that would be a big step toward fault-tolerant quantum computers,” the researcher said.
Ringbauer claims that even though the new qudit platform “opens a new universe of possibilities for quantum technology,” “what we are still missing to a considerable extent at this moment is the software & algorithms that make the best use of this extra potential.” “In the near future, I believe the development of quantum software will be amazing.”