Error Correction Moves Quantum Computing Closer to Reality

A new superconducting system operates with 99 percent accuracy

4 min read
Error Correction Moves Quantum Computing Closer to Reality
Very Correct Qubits: A superconducting circuit could lead to practical quantum computing by allowing for error-correction algorithms.
Photo: Erik Lucero

For quantum computing to ever fulfill its promise, it will have to deal with errors. That’s been a real problem until recently, because although scientists have come up with error-correction codes, the quantum machines available couldn’t use them. Now researchers have finally created a small quantum-computing array that for the first time performs with enough accuracy to allow for error correction, paving the way toward practical machines that could outperform ordinary computers.

Today’s classical computers perform calculations using bits, which can be either 1 or 0. Quantum computers get their potentially amazing ability to make many simultaneous calculations by using quantum bits, or qubits, which can exist as both 1 and 0 at the same time. The challenge is that such systems must use error correction to preserve the fragile quantum states of qubits long enough to run calculations.

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The Spectacular Collapse of CryptoKitties, the First Big Blockchain Game

A cautionary tale of NFTs, Ethereum, and cryptocurrency security

8 min read
Vertical
Mountains and cresting waves made of cartoon cats and large green coins.
Frank Stockton
Pink

On 4 September 2018, someone known only as Rabono bought an angry cartoon cat named Dragon for 600 ether—an amount of Ethereum cryptocurrency worth about US $170,000 at the time, or $745,000 at the cryptocurrency’s value in July 2022.

It was by far the highest transaction yet for a nonfungible token (NFT), the then-new concept of a unique digital asset. And it was a headline-grabbing opportunity for CryptoKitties, the world’s first blockchain gaming hit. But the sky-high transaction obscured a more difficult truth: CryptoKitties was dying, and it had been for some time.

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