Quantum Computing: Pro and Con

Preprint English OPEN
Preskill, John (1997)

I assess the potential of quantum computation. Broad and important applications must be found to justify construction of a quantum computer; I review some of the known quantum algorithms and consider the prospects for finding new ones. Quantum computers are notoriously susceptible to making errors; I discuss recently developed fault-tolerant procedures that enable a quantum computer with noisy gates to perform reliably. Quantum computing hardware is still in its infancy; I comment on the specifications that should be met by future hardware. Over the past few years, work on quantum computation has erected a new classification of computational complexity, has generated profound insights into the nature of decoherence, and has stimulated the formulation of new techniques in high-precision experimental physics. A broad interdisciplinary effort will be needed if quantum computers are to fulfill their destiny as the world's fastest computing devices. (This paper is an expanded version of remarks that were prepared for a panel discussion at the ITP Conference on Quantum Coherence and Decoherence, 17 December 1996.)
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