Researchers at Yale University made a 20-year-old quantum computing dream a reality.

Using a theoretical protocol developed in the late 1990s, physicists at the Yale Quantum Institute demonstrated the “teleportation” of a quantum gate between two qubits—on demand.

For those unacquainted with the general field of physics (myself included), a quantum computer performs quantum computing, which uses quantum bits (qubits).

In layman’s terms: A classical computer has memory made of bits, each represented by a zero or one. A quantum computer maintains a sequence of qubits, which can represent a zero, a one, or any quantum superposition of those two qubit states. (I’m a little lost, too.)

The development of actual quantum computers is still in its infancy; many governments and military agencies are funding research in hopes of developing quantum computers for civilian, business, trade, environmental, and national security purposes (think cryptanalysis).

The Army Research Office and Office for Naval Research, for example, supported Yale’s recent work.

A network overview of the modular quantum architecture demonstrated in the new study (via Yale)

Led by principal investigator Robert Schoelkopf and former Yale graduate student Kevin Chou, the team is investigating a modular approach to quantum computing.

The same platform used in everything from the organization of a biological cell to the network of engines in a SpaceX rocket, modularity is a powerful strategy for building complex systems, according to the researchers.

In the case of quantum computing, modules are naturally isolated, reducing unwanted interactions and making operations between modules a “distinct challenge.” Teleported gates are a way to encourage inter-module activity.

“Our work is the first time that this protocol has been demonstrated where the classical communication occurs in real-time,” Chou explained, “allowing us to implement a ‘deterministic’ operation that performs the desired operation every time.”

That’s some real The Fly shit right there.

Yale researchers are well on their way to developing the first fully useful quantum machines, which could one day far outpace modern supercomputers.

Their latest study was published in the journal Nature.

As far as quantum physics is concerned, the chicken and the egg can each come first. And the laws of physics don’t seem to apply to Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson in his latest film, Skyscraper. Check out a list of scientific breakthroughs that turned out to be totally bogus and more here.

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