QUANTUM computing for the masses could come a step closer if tests prove successful on a prototype chip designed to process more quantum data than any previous device.
Quantum computers have the potential to be vastly more powerful than conventional machines because they exploit the rules of quantum mechanics to perform many calculations in parallel. They are difficult to build, however, because quantum information is easily destroyed. The most powerful machines to date can cope with only a handful of quantum bits, or qubits, making them little more capable than a hand-held calculator.
In contrast, the prototype chip built by D-Wave Systems in Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada, is designed to handle 128 qubits of information.