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Technical Challenges to Progress

Before an effective quantum computer can ever be built, there are significant hurdles that must be overcome. One such challenge is in error correction. Every modern computer, from the smallest handheld to the largest supercomputer, is equipped with various elements that help to intercept and eliminate errors that occur during computation. These measures are present in both hardware and software, and are the product of decades of computer operation and improvement. Quantum computer design is still in the experimental stages, and some of the most effective techniques for error correction in classical computers are not applicable to quantum computers. Theoretical aspects aside, there are still many unknowns concerning how to build a quantum computer. Because the structure consists of microscopic particles, it requires advanced molecular fabrication techniques—which do not exist today. Isolating atomic particles is a difficult job by itself, but creating complex and extremely fragile systems in isolation from their environment seems like a formidable task.

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