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The international stock markets dodged a bullet this week. According to news reports like this one in Reuters, Deutsche Bank's proprietary trading unit in Japan mistakenly placed sell orders of Y16.7 trillion ($182 billion) at the Osaka Securities Exchange on Tuesday when it first opened.

The reason was a software problem.

The Sydney Morning Heraldquotes a spokesperson for Deutsche Bank's as saying,

"There was a software glitch in our automated trading system, and the consequence of the error was that a number of trades were repeatedly sent to the exchange... The error was recognised and we immediately placed cancel orders on 99.7 per cent of the trade. There is an issue somewhere in the software that needs to be identified."

A software "issue somewhere"? Not exactly a confidence building statement, is it.

Deutsche Bank said that it has suspended its proprietary trading in Japan until it is sure the problem won't reappear while the Osaka Securities Exchange says that it is investigating the incident.

The error caused the Tokyo Stock Exchange'sNikkei-225 futures index to lose 110 points or one per cent. If mistake hadn't been caught quickly, it could have caused a repeat of the Dow flash meltdown of a few weeks ago some analysts said.

Investigations into that incident are still underway with no root cause(s) specifically identified as of yet, although myriad theories abound. New circuit breaker rules go into affect next week on the major US exchanges in a bid to keep another flash crash from happening again.

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Quantum Error Correction: Time to Make It Work

If technologists can’t perfect it, quantum computers will never be big

13 min read
Quantum Error Correction: Time to Make It Work
Chad Hagen

Dates chiseled into an ancient tombstone have more in common with the data in your phone or laptop than you may realize. They both involve conventional, classical information, carried by hardware that is relatively immune to errors. The situation inside a quantum computer is far different: The information itself has its own idiosyncratic properties, and compared with standard digital microelectronics, state-of-the-art quantum-computer hardware is more than a billion trillion times as likely to suffer a fault. This tremendous susceptibility to errors is the single biggest problem holding back quantum computing from realizing its great promise.

Fortunately, an approach known as quantum error correction (QEC) can remedy this problem, at least in principle. A mature body of theory built up over the past quarter century now provides a solid theoretical foundation, and experimentalists have demonstrated dozens of proof-of-principle examples of QEC. But these experiments still have not reached the level of quality and sophistication needed to reduce the overall error rate in a system.

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