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Quantum computers in 2023: what they do and where they’re heading

A stretch goal for the coming decade is the creation of a large-scale quantum computer free of errors.

In June, an IBM computing executive claimed quantum computers were entering the “utility” phase, in which high-tech experimental devices become useful.

But what is a quantum computer? One way to think about computers is in terms of the kinds of numbers they work with.

The digital computers we use every day rely on whole numbers (or integers), representing information as strings of zeroes and ones which they rearrange according to complicated rules. There are also analogue computers, which represent information as continuously varying numbers (or real numbers), manipulated via electrical circuits or spinning rotors or moving fluids.

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