Quantum computers braided ‘anyons,’ long-sought quasiparticles with memory

Tuesday, May 30, 2023 - 08:03 in Physics & Chemistry

Anyons, anyone? Scientists have created strange new particle-like objects called non-abelian anyons. These long-sought quasiparticles can be “braided,” meaning that they can be moved around one another and retain a memory of that swapping, similar to how a braided ponytail keeps a record of the order in which strands cross over each other. Two independent teams — one led by researchers at Google, the other by researchers at the quantum computing company Quantinuum — have reported creating and braiding versions of these anyons using quantum computers. The Google and Quantinuum results, respectively reported May 11 in Nature and May 9 at arXiv.org, could help scientists construct quantum computers that are resistant to the errors that currently bedevil the machines. Non-abelian anyons defy common intuition about what happens to objects that swap locations. Picture the street game with cups and balls, where a performer swaps identical cups back and forth. If you weren’t watching...

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