Photons dance along a line of superconducting qubits

Photons dance along a line of superconducting qubits

Enlarge / Atoms are always up to something. (credit: Jurgen Appelo / Flickr)

When I think about computing, I usually think about it in terms of individual logic gates performing specific operations. These can be strung together to create more sophisticated and useful operations and can be ultimately built into a disaster like EndNote. Even when I make a conceptual switch and think about quantum computing, I still get stuck thinking about quantum logic gates.

But there is a better-than-even chance that quantum computing will not make direct use of logic gates. If logic gates aren’t going to be a thing in quantum computing, how will we compute? One way is through annealing, which I’ve written about a lot.

But the neglected stepchild of quantum computing is something called a “quantum random walk.” In a minor miracle, researchers have shown a quantum random walk through a

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