Programmable quantum computer

In Monday’s link collection was a ScienceDaily post about an advance in quantum computing made at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). This is an important development and a number of posts about this advance have been appearing on the Internet. I think the NIST work is significant enough to say something more about it. Ars Technica describes the work and why it is important:

Scientists have developed a number of quantum computing systems that use ions or electrons as bits of data; mathematical “operations” can be performed on them with beams of light or electrical pulses. Until recently, however, these systems could only perform the specific tasks they were designed to do. But a group of NIST scientists have published a description of a quantum processor that can receive virtually any set of instructions and perform them on a set of inputs—in short, they’ve made the first programmable quantum processor.

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