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Computer science breakthrough for Manchester University

Manchester University has revealed evidence that large molecules could store and process information in the same way bytes do Photo: ITV Granada

Researchers from The University of Manchester have taken one step closer to proving it's possible to create tiny, but very powerful, computers that could work at atomic scale.

Scientists have been working on the theory of "quantum computing" for decades - computing on a minuscule level which could see computers to complete tasks far more efficiently than the ones we currently use.

Manchester University has revealed breakthrough evidence that large molecules made of nickel and chromium could store and process information in the same way bytes do for everyday digital computers.

The researchers have shown in the science journal Chem that it is possible to use supramolecular chemistry to connect “qubits” - the basic units for quantum information processing.

Professor Winpenny said: “Say you’re in a pub and you’re trying to bring two pints of beer back to your friends without spilling it. But the pub is filled with customers who are singing, jumping around, and dancing. The coherence time is a measure of how far you can get the beer without spilling it,”

“You want the bar to be very well behaved and very stationary so you can walk through the pub and get back to the table, just like we want the qubits to be stable long enough so we can store and manipulate information."

Scientists have been working on the theory of "quantum computing" for decades Credit: Press Association

Traditional computers organize and store information in the form of bits, which are written out in long chains of 0s and 1s, whereas quantum computers use qubits, which can be 1, 0, or any superposition between those numbers at the same time - allowing researchers to do much more powerful computations.

Professor Winpenny added: “The real problem seems to be whether we could put these qubits together at all. But we showed that connecting these individual qubits doesn’t change the coherence times, so that part of the problem is solvable.

“If it’s achievable to create multi-qubit gates we’re hoping it inspires more scientists to move in that direction.”